Diary of a Reluctant Runner - The Ink Well Prompt #50 (Shoes, mood, adventure)

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Joe hated running.

He hated the chore of having to get ready, the struggle of dragging on his tight running shorts, he especially hated the fact that even though he looked like an extra from a 1980’s keep fit video, that they were actually really comfortable.

He hated his luminous running jacket that his wife insisted he wore, the one that kept him visable but made him stand out like a big glowing banana, bobbing up and down in the early morning gloom.

He hated his running app on his phone, with its constant notifications that he hadn't managed to figure out how to turn off yet, scolding him if he missed just one morning run.

"You haven't completed your run today!"

The text would flash up on the screen, burning into his retinas, putting him in a bad mood for the rest of the day, silently judging him everytime he even looked at a chocolate biscuit!

Joe really hated running.

He hated the freezing cold rain on his face just as much as he hated the burning hot summer sun.

He hated the fact that if he didn't get out and run for a few days that his body would suffer with aches and pains, and when he did finally convince himself to go back running, his body would suffer with even more aches and pains.

And he always went back.

Even when he felt that he just couldn’t do it anymore, that it just wasn’t worth it, he would eventually end up so moody, tired and depressed that he’d force himself to pull on his shorts, with that familiar waistband snap and fish out his half crusted running shoes from under the stairs, buried beneath a mountain of random junk, flung in a blind rage a week or two before.

Joe hated running, but he wasn’t a quitter.

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So Joe set out, every morning, stepping out into the sleepy suburban street. He was jealous of the rest of his neighbours, cocooned happily in their beds, or rolling over in the dark, slapping their snooze button for one more lazy dream.

“Fair play to you Joe, I couldn’t do it” - Mr Jones of number 58 would always say, out defrosting his car on those cold winter mornings, leaving it running idly in his drive, the toxic fumes from it’s old diesel engine choking Joe's lungs as it enveloped half the street.

He hated that little Jack Russell dog who waited for him every morning, yapping and snarling, hopping up and down like a little rabid duracell bunny, patrolling the length of his expansive garden wall like a canine version of Jon Snow of the Night's Watch. He hated the look on the owner's face who was sometimes out in his stripey dressing gown, picking up his newspaper from his front porch, scowling at him for upsetting poor “Fido”.

He hated the oncoming traffic when there were no paths to run on. He hated the blinding headlights, the cold splash of puddles, the manic beeping of horns, the shouts of early morning road ragers from rolled down windows, hopped up on that a.m. coffee, zooming into work to make some poor co-worker's life hell.

But there were some things he hated more than running.

He hated the way that he used to huff and puff like a steam train from just climbing two flights of stairs. He hated the way that he felt so drained of energy most of the time and couldn’t get out of his funk.

He hated the way that he’d lie awake at night, sweating, tossing and turning, closing his eyes but getting more and more anxious by the minute because he just couldn’t sleep.

He hated the look on his kids faces when he told them he just couldn’t play any more because "Daddy was tired and needed a break."

Most of all, he hated the news he received from the doctor that his cholesterol was too high, his blood pressure was way up there and he was pre-diabetic. He really hated the fact that he knew he wasn't looking after himself for years but it took something that bad to trigger a change.

Joe might have hated running, but he knew he’d hate himself more if he didn’t do something now about his health issues.

So Joe started running, and maybe, eventually, he found that... he maybe liked some things about it.

He did like the way he felt afterwards, maybe not straight afterwards, but as time went on, he could feel his body reacting in a positive way. He liked the feeling of accomplishment and the fact that he didn't have to constantly beat himself up for not looking after his body and mind. All because he got up, got out and pounded those streets for 45 minutes every morning, rain, hail or shine.

And yeah, maybe he even loved some things.

He loved the way he could play a game of football with his kids now without stopping several times to catch his breath. He could go on long adventure walks for miles through forest trails, race the kids to the top of green hills and win for a change and enjoy long walks along the coast with his loving wife.

But don't get me wrong, Joe still hated running, but he found he hated not running a lot more.

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