Thursday, 25 April 2019

Running (or not) in the rain. Age-related stuff. And a good put-down!

I listened to the rain beating against the window at 7.30 this morning and decided that I wasn’t likely to be running anywhere today. So I reset the alarm for a little later. It’s not that I mind getting wet, it’s the initial act of stepping out into the rain and starting to run. At heart I think I am a fair weather runner. However, by the time I got up the rain had stopped and I ended up putting on my running gear anyway, just a little later than usual. It still hasn’t rained enough to re-establish the mud puddles which usually appear at the first hint of a raindrop. That says something about how little rain we have had recently.

I still don’t run very fast. Fast enough, however, to convince my Fitbit that I am actually running and not out for a walk. It will sometimes misinterpret my activity. Once I pushed the smallest grandchild out in her buggy and the Fitbit old me I had been for a bike ride. What was there about my stance and pace that made it recognise wheels turning, even if they were pram wheels? I have to remember that it is just a bit of machinery which basically measures my heartbeat and uses some kind of satnav to tell it how far I have moved.

Neither do I plan on doing any marathons. It is almost certainly too late for me to start now and, besides, the serious training routine might be a step too far even for me, fair weather runner that I am. This does not stop me reading about running and marathons and the like. Here is an article about running at different ages.  It was the headline, “Why are middle-aged marathon runners faster than twentysomethings?”, that attracted my attention. Then I remembered that I am not middle-aged any longer. The “older” people referred to are the over-40s, not the over-60s and into their 70s. But apparently we might still have more stamina than the 20 - 30 year olds!

Age or rather perception of age is a funny thing. My niece’s 19 year old son has a 16 year old girlfriend who looks about 25. She is planning to study “Fashion and Beauty” at college next year and I think she has already started practising dressing and wearing makeup in accordance with the her proposed career. At the other end of the scale is Greta Thunberg, the Scandinavian eco-warrior, also 16, who looks about 12 with her Pippi Longstocking plaits. Somewhere in the middle is my 16 year old granddaughter - this is beginning to be a like a weird version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: this sixteen year old looks too old, this one looks too young but the middle one is just right.

Greta (Pippi Longstocking) Thunberg is quite a powerful little speaker when she gets going. She has come in for some criticism, however, from journalist Toby Young who maintains, on Twitter, that we should take no notice of her because she is the “privileged daughter” of a Swedish Eurovision star. As if that somehow makes her words meaningless. Others, such as food journalist Jay Rayner, rallied round on Twitter to point out to Mr Young that he has had some privilege in his own life and that maybe his words are pretty meaningless!

Toby Young told Jay Rayner on Twitter:

“I’ve know you for over 35 years @jayrayner1. I’m sorry that means so little to you. If you were being mobbed on Twitter I would come to your defence (and still will when it happens, as it inevitably will). But you got over 2,000 likes so that’s the main thing, right?”

Journalist Sarah Vine joined in and eventually Jay Rayner tweeted this:

“The two of you have both made a terrible mistake here. You've have confused me knowing you, with holding either of you in any regard whatsoever. And Toby, if I'd done something so terrible that you coming to my aid might help, I'd deserve to be left for dead.” 

A pretty good “I may have known you for years but ...” put-down, which I must reserve for future use.

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