All entries for Tuesday 28 September 2004
September 28, 2004
I think I've gone on before in this blog about my affection for lost distance running. I'm a solitary jogger, not one of those people you see jogging in brightly coloured herds, nope, mine is the dark blue jog of solitude. I like it, me and my radio (I need noise, there is nothing more offputting than the sound of my tortured breathing), the pavement. I hate running machines. They are fake and wrong.
Running at home was a doddle. A quiet, curiously quadrant like, country commuter town, a run to the motorway and back was about two miles, for a one mile jog I would head the other way out of town, to the train station and back.
Living on Westwood was even easier. There's a nice running track and early in the morning there was normally no one around to stare at my spectacular slowness (stamina not speed) except the nice old-ish man who would walk around the track.
But then there was Leamington...
Yesterday I went on a pleasant 20 minute jog. Sure, it seems like a lame run time but as a result of a horribly long houred summer jog, I'm now out of practise and unfit again. 20 minutes is the reasonable minimum. Give me time and I'll push that up. Ah yes, time… here's where it goes wrong.
That pleasant 20 minute jog was followed by a not so pleasant 50 minute walk. Why? Well I'm not entirely sure myself y'know. Somehow, somewhere along Tachbrook road, the rules changed. Vaguely dirty Leamington old town streets gave way to non-descript roads of semi detached houses and Stagecoach buses of unusual numbers (ie not X12 or X17). But then things went wrong.
I hate housing estates. I hate the blandness, the lack of personality, the way the amenities are so perfectly equidistant from all the houses because Barret or Kingsmead or whoever built them know how far people will walk before they get too middle class and have to use a fecking people carrier because as we all know the roads in this country are little more than dirt tracks, cursed by the plagues of tigers that roam wild, killing at will.
I hate the smugness of them. I hate the Ford Mondeos and yes I am pissed off that my parents own one but they at least live on an old road.
I hate the fact I can't read them. I run by feel in unfamiliar places, up hill, sun in Leam because it runs parallel to my street, George Street. Run with the sun to your right in the morning because that's north and parallel to Parade. But housing estates are roads crammed togethr, no lovely mathematical parallel lines (Blondie) just roads and houses and Ford Mondeos packed together whilst mum goes off in her 4×4 to rescue the kids from primary school whilst dad knocks off the secretary in the cupboard of the beige blighted office his 2 1/2 A levels were able to land him a job in.
I hate housing estates because they commodify life and experience. And I hate them because I can't navigate them. And I hate them because when I turned, yesterday, as my run wound down, and saw to my shock and horror a sign saying "Welcome to Sydenham Primary School", I ran straight into one and was lost utterly.
How the hell I ended up in Sydenham I will never know. Somewhere Tachbrook Road screwed me over and I ran straight into the trap. Even now, with a map of Leamington, I'm not sure how I managed it. 50 minutes in the drizzle it took me to get home. A miracle I made it really. At one stage I was one crossroads away from heading for Warwick itself. I had no money, no buspass, nothing but my radio. But as Bono says in the new U2 single translation "one, two, three, fourteen".
So I ran till I found Leam Terrace. And it led me home. Back to the logical but charismatic backstreets I live in. No Mondeos, just the Clios and Micras of students and the Mercs of our landlords. It'd better that way.
I don't think I'll run south again. I'll run north next time, towards the architecture and Kenilworth. Who knows? Maybe I'll be at uni faster than the X12…