Legs like lead, said the annoying voice inside my head. It made a change from that catchy song currently being played on every music station in the land, so I went with it.
'Legs like lead, legs like lead,' I panted, like a sort of tortured mantra, as I pounded along the footpath, ducking under branches. The dog streaked ahead, loving the wind and the gentle rain, as light on its paws as I was heavy on mine. My legs, that is.
I reflected as I ran. Yesterday I was bouncing with energy. Today the only thing bouncing was my bosom, I thought bitterly, in a sports bra well past its best. Yesterday breathing well, with mouth closed and everything, today puffing like an elderly walrus. As Bridget Jones once lamented when confronted with a sudden 2 lb weight gain, Why? Why?
My practical self reminded me that distraction is a good and well known technique when in pain and/or discomfort. Obediently I began composing a blog in my head. Words formed as I heaved one foot past the other. Oh look, a hill, I thought dully. Words fled in a mist of misery as my leaden legs rebelled, their heaviness making them numb and cumbersome. Gritting my teeth I instructed them loudly and profanely to keep going. The dog gave me a reproachful glance and neatly doubled back in search of a stick, narrowly avoiding tripping me up. I tried to think ahead to that night's evening meal. Something chicken-ey, perhaps, with a light mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes and greens....chocolate mousse, crisp white wine, warm bread....suddenly the terrain had changed and my leaden legs were fumbling their way downhill. Blowing out air like a labouring woman - or walrus, I noted with interest that I needed to pee.
In a renewed effort to distract myself from an increasing number of bodily discomforts, I wondered vaguely how much each leaden leg weighed. How would you weigh one of your legs? The catchy but irritating tune had returned, worming its way into my brain and ousting the leaden legs mantra. I tried to make use of it, picking up the pace slightly and trying to run in time to the beat. The dog looked impressed and scampered along beside me. I thought about my leaden legs. My treacherous legs, which had tried to betray me by becoming too heavy to lift. But I had mastered them, I thought, trying to focus on the end of my running route, which, had I been wearing my specs, would now be in sight.
I closed my eyes and grunted attractively as I rounded the final loop, immediately missing my footing on the uneven terrain. With a piercing shriek I tumbled full length onto the track. For a few seconds the only sound was the slight burbling of the river beside me, reminding me of my need to pee. And the rustling noise of the dog nosing around in leaves. As I gingerly sat up, checking myself for injury and wiping mud from the inside of my nose, I looked around me and reflected briefly that if you're going to have legs like lead, from time to time, there's no better place for it.