Cross Training

I’m sure that there are many of you out there who have been exercising regularly for a long time and who have become immune to the petty annoyances that often accompany an evening jog, a weekend run or an early morning dip in the pool.

I, on the other hand, have not been doing this for long and I am therefore happy, nay, more than happy to moan and whine about them. Here, for no better reason than getting them off my chest, are a few of my exercising pet hates.

Dog Mess

It’s quite simple: it’s your dog, it’s your responsibility.

We live on the edge of Dartmoor and I can fully accept that if you’re on the moor and your dog nips off behind a bush to do its business, then you’re probably going to leave it there. The only people likely to stumble across it are a sheep, or possibly a marine (and their day is certainly going to feature a lot worse than that before it’s out).

But if you’re out on the cycle track near my house, a path used by cyclists, runners, walkers and strollers on a regular basis, then please clear it up. I don’t want to be hurdling steaming mounds as I run or swerving wildly across the track to avoid skidding through it on my bike. I’m barely competent as it is, without having to adopt some sort of John Cleese-a-like Ministry of Funny Walks approach to running along the Granite Way, high-stepping my way over the canine obstacle course in the evening gloom.


Ah, the little chaps. Banding together into densely-packed clouds that hang over the path at head height. What lovely little creatures they are. I like nothing more than to run at dusk, mouth wide as I pant and puff, ready to plunge open-jawed into a swarm of midges like a whale through plankton.

If I’m on my bike, the added speed allows my face to collect the friendly fellows as I go, giving me a pleasant pebble-dashed appearance by the time I return home. Pure bliss.

Runners who don’t smile

Generally I have found the running community to be a friendly lot. But there are a few out there who seem incapable of smiling. However hard I’m going, however much I’m grimacing on the inside, if I pass a fellow runner heading in the opposite direction then I take a moment to look up and to smile. That returned grin, nod or raise of the eyebrows (as if to say “I know, it’s mad, but it’s fun isn’t it”) is enough to spur me on for the next few paces.

Occasionally I pass those who refuse to smile. Who refuse to acknowledge me at all. Now I realise that I may be bright red. I know that, when I’m tired, my attempt at a friendly grin may come across as the deranged facial tics of the local madman. I may be pockmarked by dead flies (see above) or trying desperately to stuff my hood back into my jacket so it can stop acting like a parachute around my neck (I love my running jacket, but that hood… grr!). But that is no excuse for your aloof turning of the head, or for studiously ignoring my friendly overtures.

Come on, smile!

Mrs RB, on the other hand, seems to be beset by friendly passers-by. Once, out on a run, she overtook an elderly couple out for a walk. The old man proffered a bag of sweets and began chasing her down the path like an overly-energetic granddad from a Werther’s Original advert, saying “go on, you know you want one, have a sweetie”. Whilst undoubtedly a lovely moment, she hasn’t yet got over the shock of being matched pace-for-pace by a sprightly septuagenarian with a sweet tooth.

Goggle-less flounderers

Swimming pools are orderly places; you get in at one end and you swim to the other. Occasionally there might be a lane system involving swimming up one side and back down the other. You certainly wouldn’t swim across the pool. That way madness lies.

Swimming pools generally have aids to help you: the aforementioned lane markers, tiles that are parallel to the edge of the pool, perhaps even some lines drawn on the pool floor. Everything is set up to allow you to swim up and down in a straight line, without bothering your fellow swimmers.

Why then, would you insist on getting into the water, goggle-less, and proceed to veer wildly from side to side, cutting across the pool like a demented wind up bath toy? Seriously, why? Just buy some goggles. Please.

Do you have any exercising pet hates? Anything you would like to get off your chest? Please feel free to leave a reply (it’s like group therapy, only cheaper).


2 thoughts on “Cross Training

  1. While you may pick up the little ones zig-zagging about while you are on your bike, I dread a small one on a starter bike unsteadily weaving back and forth on the path as I try to quickly jog around the little guy without harming either of us! ~ Kat

    • I met an adult “starter” the other day. She was ever so sweet, apologising as she wobbled from one side of the track to the other, before stopping in a bush to let me past. It goes to show though, it’s never to late to learn to ride a bike. Good luck to her.

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