Have you tried nipping out for a paper on a Sunday morning and not been charged off the pavement by the army of lycra-clad joggers and into the road, only to get run over by an equally lycra’d peloton of cyclists? It now seems obligatory, that once you hit a certain age, an age where you no longer socialise or drink too much, eat too much and sleep too little, that you feel compelled to address all those years of excess and bad behaviour. Replacing the fun times means completely amputating your sense of humour, your sense of fun. You start to punish yourself with diets mainly consisting of green shakes, obsess about how much water you drink, how many times you wee and become an expert on poo consistency. The only conversation you have (provided you are not boring someone about ISAs) is how you ran 5k before work without raising your resting pulse. You run or ride to work, making sure everyone hears and sees you arrive clacking down the corridor in your bike shoes, day-glow attire and potty strapped to your head. At your desk, you’ll complain loudly about traffic/pedestrians having the audacity to obey traffic lights and crossing beepers. You’ll sanctimoniously tell everyone exactly how much all your running and riding is raising for charity. You’ll get yourself snugly into those 32” skinny jeans that only look good on 20-something TOWIE types. Mandy from accounts will surely be impressed that you can go faster on the rowing machine than Steve Redgrave. This is, once you have explained to her who Steve Redgrave is….
But it’s not sustainable. Sooner or later, that dodgy knee will be slowing you down, you back will twinge and spasm, your ankles will swell and stop working. There’ll come a point when you have to stop. And then you find out that Steve who lives across the road, who ran 200 miles every day and went to the gym 400 times a week and played squash and tennis like a pro, keeled over and died while tying up his shoelaces. Reality bites. You realise the only people that look as good and measure up as 25 year-olds actually are 25 year-olds. You gradually start to accept yourself. You don’t actually look that bad for your age. This bottle of red does actually taste quite good. Fish and Chips, once and away on a Friday night is sensational. And you can’t beat a beer and curry out with your mates. You rediscover laughing. Real laughing. Laughing till you cry. Who needs Mandy from accounts when you’ve got a girl even more stunning who has stood right by you for the last twenty years. You don’t need to run any more. Slow down, you see a lot more when you are walking. Though it’s true you do smell a lot more when you are running.