The Lockdown Diaries | Week 15
A few weeks ago, I left you all with with a thrilling cliffhanger relating to my plans to exercise during lockdown, and, RUNNING, people. It was running. Because, when it comes to me and exercise, it’s ALWAYS running, isn’t it? It’s literally the only thing I know how to do, on account of how I hate all other forms of exercise, basically. (Yes, even whatever home workout program you’re about to suggest. I hate home workouts.) (And, I know this no longer needs to be said if you’re a regular reader here, but, for those who aren’t, YES, EVEN YOGA. Especially yoga, in fact.)
Running, however, I quite like: not so much for the actual running, you understand, but just for the fact that it gives me some much-needed time to think: and, OK, also to pretend I’m in the opening credits of a movie, as I run along, music playing, hair blowing… Yes, running I can get on board with. Sometimes. Only when it’s not raining or windy, though, because I hate that, too. But anyway!
Before Max was born, I was doing long-ish runs a few times a week. Then Max came along, and all that stopped: I just didn’t have the time for it any more. I always had the intention of getting back into it at some point, but once lockdown happened, my chances of getting out for a run seemed slimmer than ever: not only did I now have even less time for exercise, my usual route would’ve made social distancing pretty tricky, really, given the narrowness of the paths I normally run on. So there was absolutely no possibility of me getting any kind of exercise in lockdown, basically, and I was quietly resigned to this fact, even though I felt horribly guilty about it, and more than a little bit worried that if I DID somehow manage to catch Covid-19 without ever leaving the house (Which, let’s face it, is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me…), my poor lungs wouldn’t exactly be in the best shape to deal with it.
A few weeks ago, however, the penny finally dropped, and I realised the thing I should have realised years ago: namely that I don’t actually HAVE to run for miles on end, or on narrow footpaths and woodland trails, do I? No: I could, in fact, just jog over to the local sports field, say, and run laps of that for 20-30 minutes, before heading home again. Sure, it would be boring, and probably not as effective as the kind of running I used to, but still: it would be better than the absolutely nothing I’ve been doing in the way of exercise recently, and I’d still be able to pretend I was in the opening credits of a movie as I jogged around the always-empty playing field, so why not give it a go?
Why not, indeed.
The first time I put my plan into action, it went pretty well, all things considered. Yes, it was a bit boring, and yes, I got rained on, so there was that: it was also, however, the first time in three months that I’d been on my own for more than a few minutes, and WOW, did that feel good. I know a lot of people think us introverts must be loving lockdown, on account of how we’ve been practising social distancing on our entire lives, basically, but the compete lack of downtime is actually the complete opposite of what introverts need/want, so, from that point of view, it was a complete success, and I returned home determined to do it more often.
The next time, however, I got to the sports field, with the intention of running circuits of it again, only to find that someone had got there before me, and was standing in the exact middle of it, kicking a football around. Now, it’s a big field, so social distancing obviously wouldn’t have been a problem here: it would’ve been just a little bit awkward to have started literally running rings around the poor guy, though (Especially given my complete inability to listen to music without mouthing the words, and, OK, occasionally doing a little bit of a dance move, too…), so I ended up just jogging around the village for the entire ten minutes that takes, before heading home.
The time after that? The same thing happened. I got to the playing field, and there was that same guy, kicking his same ball from foot to foot, right in the middle of the playing field.
The time after THAT, meanwhile? Same thing, same guy, same ball.
Since that very first time, in fact, every single time I’ve decided to go and run round the sports field, Same Guy has been there. Every single time. Just to be clear, I’m not complaining about this: I mean, I obviously realise Same Guy has just as much right to be there as I have, and, in fact, is most likely looking at me as I jog past, thinking, “FFS, Ginger Jogger is here again! Is she stalking me or something?” It’s just… what are the odds, though? I’ve been running – or trying to run – at different times, and on different days, but it seems that no matter when I go, Same Guy is there too, and I’m too self-conscious to start shuffling rings around him, ridiculous though I know that is. Is it some kind of glitch in the Matrix? Is the universe deliberately trying to thrown me and Same Guy in each other’s paths for some reason? Am I ACTUALLY in the opening credits of a movie when I head over to that sports field, only to find Same Guy waiting for me yet again? WHAT, THOUGH?
All of which is to say, then, that my plans for exercise during lockdown are NOT going well, really. (Same Guy, on the other hand, is getting in a LOT of football practice, so at least one of us is keeping fit…) Abandoning my sports field plan (Which, to be fair, wasn’t very well thought out, anyway…), I’ve been venturing instead onto some of the woodland trials nearby. As I feared, though, those paths aren’t wide enough to socially distance on, and there’s a lot more people using them at the moment, so every time I encounter someone coming the other way, I have to either quickly dodge into the woods themselves, and hope I don’t get lost in them, or just turn around and start running back the way I came.
On the plus side, this is definitely forcing me to run faster, because, in order to keep a decent distance between me and whoever it is behind me, I have to actually keep on running, rather than just slowing to a walk after a couple of minutes, so at least that’s something. On the minus side, though, I feel like an absolute asshole turning round and literally running away whenever I see someone approaching. I mean, I know I’ve always been socially awkward, but that’s a bit much even for me, really, and I’m very aware that, as the lockdown restrictions continue to ease, people tend to be much less understanding towards those of us who are still worried about catching the virus. I haven’t had any comments about it personally – or not so far, anyway – but I’ve seen a few on social media, from people who are a bit sneery about the idea that someone might still be anxious about it all, and I’ve noticed a general lack of social distancing when we’ve been out on our walks, which has increased my anxiety a bit, too. Despite that, however, this week we’ve continued to do our best to get out of the house whenever the weather allows: and sometimes even when it doesn’t:
The week has been a bit of a weird one, weather-wise. We went from 30 degree sunshine on Thursday, to 13 degrees and pouring rain on Friday, and it’s apparently set to stay that way for the rest of the week, at least. I have to admit, the change in the weather has left us all feeling a bit low. After a few weeks of sunshine, when we’ve been able to go for walks, or visit people in their gardens, the forecast rain makes us feel a bit like we’re starting lockdown all over again, because, while some shops and other indoor venues are gradually starting to open up again, Terry’s shielded status means it’ll be a long time before we feel safe enough to actually go into them.
In the meantime, we’ve been putting on our raincoats and going out when we can, but we’ve also been forced to spend a lot of time cooped up inside again, which, by week 15, is REALLY getting old now. Me being me, I’ve been spending a lot of time worrying about how we’ll cope if we’re still in this position by autumn / winter, when it’ll be dark as well as cold, and we’ll have well and truly exhausted all indoor entertainment options for an energetic two year old. One thing that’s been very obvious since we started being able to get out of the house again, is that Max really needs more fresh air and exercise than he’d been getting in our back garden: on the days we’ve had to stay indoors again, he’s been much harder to entertain – probably because he’s started to get used to being able to go out again – and I absolutely hate the thought of him having to deal with months and months more of this very small kind of life he’s been leading.
With all of that said, though, I’m really hoping he might not have to. Yesterday, for instance, was the fourth day in a row that Scotland recorded no deaths from Covid-19, and, in the last 24 hours, there’s been only five new confirmed cases here. I’m very aware that all of that could change – especially as restrictions continue to ease – but, for now, I’m hopeful that things are moving in the right direction, and that they’ll continue that way. Knowing that community transmission is currently very low here does give me a lot more confidence to get out of the house more, which is handy, because this week we had to refuel the car for the first time in three months, and, this Thursday, Terry’s having blood taken as part of his routine kidney screening. Just a few weeks ago, these two things would’ve seemed absolutely terrifying to me (Don’t even get me started on the security camera which is the latest thing to break down in our house…). Now, however, I’m significantly more comfortable with the idea of doing (some) normal things again: and, you never know, maybe this week I’ll finally get to go for a run again? Stay tuned folks…