6: Closer

Run Day 3
February 2018


On the road again, with EvyStrava and iTunes’ WorkOut radio.

Yes: A lot of apps.

I use Evy for moral support, Strava for the tracking of my route, and I listen to WorkOut radio so I can conclude that apparently a) nu-metal still is a thing and b) there are no women whatsoever in rock music.

My phone battery is also dying a slow death, so I might have to look into the efficiency of my system later.

This evening, it’s cold and dark and the streets are empty but for a couple of runners. The rest of Utrecht is having dinner in front of the television in a heated house, as they should. I run alongside the canal, waving at Boaty Neighbour’s houseboat just in case, and follow the road towards the nearest village. When I approach its monumental drawbridge, I take a look at my phone; an act that always disrupts my concentration.

But this time it does so in a good way: Strava tells me I’m exactly at 5k. I love it. There’s a comforting symmetry in that exact parameter stretching all the way from my home to this landmark. I decide to turn around and double-check the distance. Obviously, I can’t be sure until I am back at my starting point and it says I’ve run exactly 10k. 

I do these things a lot. I like predictability, so one of my goals during running is to find out which route to take to run exactly 5, 10, or 15k. That's why I can be quite chagrined when I've forgotten to turn on Strava, or when my phone decides to die in the middle of a run (yes, I do see the irony in me loving predictability but sticking my head in the sand when it comes to this one – shut up). 

As I’m on my way home, Evy tells me: “Well done! [pause] Chris! [pause] You’re [pause, change of intonation] 6 point 93 kilometres [change of intonation] closer to your goal of getting in better shape!”

Well now that’s just downright confusing. 6.93 kilometres closer?

And wait. Then where’s the finishing line?
Is it at 21,1 kilometres coincidentally? Because let me tell you, that would be really convenient.

But wait! In better shape? I’m doing this because I want to be in good shape. Are you telling me I’m in mediocre shape? I COULD BE EATING IN FRONT OF A TV RIGHT NOW, MISSY, BUT NO. I’M RUNNING. I am in fucking great shape as it is, tsss.


I could run faster.

I check my phone again. It says my pace is 6.40 on average. But that’s because I’ve run the first kilometre really slowly. I start calculating. If my pace was, say, 7.00 for the first kilometre, what kind of pace during how many kilometres should I strive towards to get to 6.24 on average when I’ve got some 3 kilometres left in a total of 10? 

By the time I’m done calculating, I realize that I’m still running and that ‘being in shape’ defined itself in that moment: running under faint street lights, in the dark, icy air; not letting my focus get messed up by the act of just looking at a phone and being able to do math instead of sheer surviving.

And I know what that means.

It means I now know that I can do better.



The Meaty Vegan is chronologizing her attempts at not eating anything animal while undergoing the bestial challenge of training for a half-marathon. ‘The Meaty Vegan Ran’ is from 2017, and the ‘The Meaty Vegan Runs’ covers 2018 and forward. You can find an overview here

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The Meaty Vegan is chronologizing her attempts at not eating anything animal while undergoing the bestial challenge of training for a half-marathon. Read the introduction


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