Another two-parter here, so buckle up, it might get disconnected…
Today was my second trip out after the Whitley Bay 10k where I wonked my ankle. It went pretty well, the ankle held up and I had a jolly jaunt along Hadrian’s Wall, starting at Milecastle XVI, or Harlow Hill as it’s known, where we’re currently living in a holiday cottage waiting for our actual house to be habitable. Got another week to go yet, but have been aching to get out there.
It got me thinking about walls, which is dangerous. I’m no trained philosopher, I can only spell it right best out of three, and I’m growing a philosophical beard* due to my inability to get to grips with Occam’s Razor.
That said, my little brain was whizzing away with thoughts, which went something like this…
– What’s a wall anyway? Walls keep things in, or keep things out, right? Thinking book-wise, I can think of the farmer’s wall in The Lord of the Rings that the hobbits worry about before climbing into the farmer’s fields – he’s a fearsome old thing, and won’t be happy to find them in his land. There’s The Wall in A Game of Thrones (the books, I haven’t managed to see the TV series yet), and the dreadful creatures are on the north side of the wall, and there’s a noticeable tension once the guard have passed through to the dangerous side.
– But really, isn’t a wall about separating this bit and that – one safe and calm, the other dangerous and exciting? When I was little, kids would dare each other to jump into gardens, the other side of the one-foot wall was dangerous and risked the chance of being caught.
– So maybe walls mark out the extent of safety? To move along the path of the wall is to come close to danger without being at risk – one side more dangerous and exciting than the other, but ok so long as you’re within running distance. When I used to walk a lot, I never liked fields with cows in them, and always worried by bulls. However, I figured if I passed through the field by walking close to the wall, then I’d be OK, I could always jump over, right? Despite the fact that I probably couldn’t have, and that there was often barbed wire on the walls, it felt comforting. Notably, that led to one occasion when I was chased into the River Tweed by some inquisitive young bulls – the fence turned out not to be so climbable, and standing hip-deep in the fast flowing river was the only other option. I had to walk downstream to get past the extent of the field. It was wet. And cold.
-Perhaps The Wall, the fantastic 69 mile run I’m going to do in June is the same thing – it’s pushing myself further than I ever have, there’s a real element of risk in that I might not make it, but there’s little chance I’ll come properly unstuck. In which case, it’s quite fitting that it also follows Hadrian’s Wall.
– And just maybe, there’s something there to learn for real life? Unfortunately I was just getting to that part of the conundrum when I got home, so perhaps I’ll never know.
*It’s just like a normal beard, only more thoughtful.
OK, so that’s enough deep soul-searching, yes, you want something fluffy like you’re used to seeing from me, I’d imagine?
Well, a funny thing, at least I think it’s funny.
I use Strava to record my runs, it’s pretty groovy and I like it a lot. However, the announcing voice it uses is dreadful – I often can’t tell which mile it says I’ve just completed, and have got into the habit of counting as I go so I won’t lose track.
When I run, I sometimes use headphones, where the voice comes into my actual ears. So far so good. However, when I don’t use headphones, the voice still does its thing, but via the phone’s loudspeaker. Again OK.
However, I am also in the habit of putting my phone in the back zip pocket of my shorts. No problem, eh? Except when I’m running and my pants start talking to me. Which is better than if I was imagining it was my arse, I suppose. To correct myself, it’s not a problem, it’s funny. It makes me laugh. And what worries me, is that someone passing me by might hear my pants talking to me, see me laughing, and go on their way properly confused. I would feel mildly guilty about that, I think.
Talking Pants – perhaps there’s a market for those…