3: Drift

Run Day 1
April 2017

While Bert is walking the dog, I go for a run around the fort that’s in front of our new, temporary home. We’ve just moved from an old squat to a second floor apartment on the outskirts of town where we can stay for six months, or until we’ve found a place of our own. I’ve read somewhere that the best way to start a new habit is by doing so when you’re the least grounded in routine. I guess a recent move to a place we won’t be able to call home and uncertainty about the future will do.

My new neighbourhood is popular among runners. I greet them all and watch those who pass me – there are a lot who pass me – with a great sense of solidarity. I would shout “Way to go!” and “Keep up the good pace!” to them if I wasn’t so out of breath. I run one kilometre (0,62 miles) and finish next to Bert, who pretends to cheer me on while I cross an imaginary finish line.

He quickly proceeds to give me some water and starts commenting on my face. Apparently, as I will be hearing until the day I die, it is very red. One of my new “neighbours”, “Boaty neighbour“ as we call her, because she lives on the canal in front of our house, comes out of her houseboat to see what’s going on.

When we first moved here, it didn’t take long for me to discover that Boaty neighbour’s mood is as highly unpredictable as her sentence endings. She would, for example, inquire about my classic moped, showing all signs of interest, looking as friendly and relaxed as she always did, until she’d suddenly say: “I had a friend with a moped just like that. He’s dead now. I can’t stand to look at those things anymore.” When I found out she had four children ranging in age between six and eighteen - four kids! On that tiny boat! - she sneered at me: “Yeah, like I planned to have four.” She rustled the hair of her youngest. “This one just really wanted to come. Didn’t you?”, before sighing: “Thank god the oldest one has moved out already.”

Boaty neighbour looks at me with kind eyes, smelling slightly of kerosene from her houseboat’s oil heater. When I tell her my half-marathon goal, she says she admires my drift and calls me an idiot in the same breath.

I can’t disagree.



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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