On (not) running

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I have taken a month off running in the hope that my absence shall allow my weakened right calf to recover. In my inactivity several friends have been telling me unexpectedly just how much they enjoy running: from R who jogs extraordinary distances on treadmills (on the advice of a physio who tells him this is the best way to protect his knees) and has sights on a sub-25 minute 5k; to Fin, racing 4 miles each evening; and another friend F, jogging in anticipation of moving to the US (I visualise her pacing around Central Park).

In four weeks’ absence I have already gained a pound or two. After months of deep sleep, I find myself waking more often. I have begun to suffer occasional nightmares – the word is probably too grand – but frantic dreams full of exotic monsters. They flit through my memory; I recall the anxiety and my raised heartbeat on waking far more vividly than the dreams themselves.

My legs remain in some similarly deep and vague sense wrong; I practice circulating my toes around my calf – as I type – and can feel residual knots in my leg. They are my own private barriers.

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