When my car needs to go to the garage, my husband takes it. It’s just what he does. Now I’m all for gender equality, but we have to play to our strengths – I help the kids with their homework and do the washing and my husband sorts the cars out. He’s good at talking to people (men) and he knows a fair bit about cars, after all he did actually build one, and he’s not about to be ripped off or confused like I would be.
My car went to the garage three weeks ago and came home, after a fairly expensive repair job, running all nice and smoothly and drinking slightly less petrol than usual. Two days later it started making a funny noise. Frankly, it sounded like the wheels were falling off. After ignoring it for a few days, it became clear it needed to go back to the garage. And I had to take it.
Now I’m not sure if my husband was callling my bluff here, testing me to see if I’d cave in. But I didn’t cave in. I took my car to the garage. (OK, my husband had booked it in, I merely had to drop it off.) The only problem was, the garage is three miles from home. How to get home? I could have called my mum, but my mum had done an awful lot to help out already that week.
But it’s OK. Because I have a special skill. I can run. I can run and run and run. I can go on for ages. The only side effects generally being a feeling of happiness and relaxation which lasts all day and an insatiable hunger and thirst. Who needs lifts when you can run?
I’m training for another half marathon at the moment and I have a pretty strict schedule I stick to – I run on Thursdays and Sundays, which gives me recovery time in between and also allows me to go to work. I’d done an eight mile training run the day before and was due to do another one (or even a 10 mile one) two days later. I wasn’t supposed to run. But three miles wouldn’t do me any harm, would it?
So I dropped the car off and I ran. I ran and ran and ran. I ran like the wind. I ran with the wind. I ran against the wind.
It was SO COLD. The thermometer might have told me the temperature was the same as it had been the previous day (about 1 degree – nice), but the reality was very different. The day before, the sun had been out and there had been no wind. No it was cloudy with a few flakes of snow falling and the most evil, biting wind imagainable.
I wear proper running clothes – the sort that are supposed to regulate your temperature and keep you warm in all weathers. I have leggings and a long sleeved top, a little showerproof coat, gloves and a fleece headband to cover my ears. These work in all weathers except this particular weather.
I usually feel the cold for the first mile, then am warm by the time I’ve done two miles. I flex my fingers as I run until they are ready to stay warm of their own accord. The previous day I had actually taken my gloves off after three miles.
Not this time. My fingers were being stabbed by a thousand needles and I was running the run of a crazy woman in heels and tight jeans with a big handbag running for the bus. This wasn’t my usual strong, steady, I can run forever pace. This was heart racing, panting, utter desperation to get home and get warm.
And did I mention I was running through one of the town’s worst areas? Where someone had hilariously upended a food waste caddy over the roof of a car and the men walk with heads down and hoods up (they do that because it’s cold, right?).
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I turned a corner. And the wind was full-on in my face. And still nearly two miles to go. Back in familiar territory, it felt like I was home, but I wasn’t. Still the dual carriageway to cross and the industrial estate to run through.
And finally I was back home in the warm. An independent woman who can take her own car to the garage and get home without asking her mum for a lift. But next time I’ll just ask my mum for the lift.