I've always been the sort that's in for a penny, in for a pound. If I get interested in something I get mega-interested. Maybe that's what is fashionably known as having an addictive personality. I'm not sure. But what I did work out is it paid to get interested in things good for me. Like painting and writing, as opposed to how to beat the TAB.
At one point somebody challenged me to run a marathon and as I was looking for a way to mark my 30th birthday I thought, this is it. Thing was, they wanted me to run the New York marathon in November and it was already early September. What the hell. I was living in London and started training like a maniac. I would run a two mile circuit from my flat. That way I could call it a day early if needed or just keep going...just one more...just one more.
Of course my body wasn't as keen as my mind. At around ten or eleven miles one knee would force me to stop so for the first time in my life I went to a physiotherapist who worked wonders. With her help I was able to push out the distance.
Three of us went to New York. The challenger was an experienced marathon runner. His brother and I were the novices. We each started separately. I ran thirteen miles and hobbled the rest, coming in at 5 hours and eighteen minutes. My place was around 23,000th. But the time would have been even longer if I hadn't been passed by the other novice about midpoint. From there on I refused to let him out of my sight.
We planned a great liquid celebration that night in Chinatown but by 8 o'clock all of our noses were in our chicken and sweetcorn soup. We crawled our way back to the hotel and flew out the next day. I remember landing at Heathrow and finding to my dismay we had to exit via steps. I needed assistance. My equally nutty companion lost his toenails later that week.
What brought on this trip down memory lane?
Well I was just reading about a ban on people who go to gyms and over-exercise. What difference will that make? People can exercise anywhere. If they are hellbent on wrecking their joints and tendons, they will.
Some people can't do "moderation" and frankly, thank goodness for that. There is a place in the world for passionate obsessives. And notice, politicians excepted, that they will rarely be found telling other people how to live their lives.
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