Fourth ‘Body by Lara’ session at LA Fitness up west. The usual sweaty shizzle, plus deadlifts, pushups. I’ve almost got the hang of dynamic stretching. This week’s running training is to increase aerobic capacity and involves 20 seconds sprinting, 10 seconds recovery, repeated over and over. Sounds easy, yeah. After thirty repeats, it starts taking on a Metropolis clock scene /water torture feel. Feel great afterwards, though. I also buy some supplements as recommended by the osteopath; ginseng and liquorice, both adaptogens, to go with the usual multivit / glucosamine / fish oil. Gawd knows. We’ll see. Am generally ambivalent about supplements; but as I know my diet isn’t as perfect as it could be (although it’s improved dramatically in recent months) it’s like a expensive insurance policy. If these two stop me feeling quite so destroyed, even slightly, that’ll be a win. Finish sending out electronic invitations to sponsor me for charidee. Am amazed by some people’s generosity, really. It’s… beautiful.

Have been thinking these last few days about the egalitarianism of distance running. There is a strange dynamic between the collective spirit and tunnel-vision individualism in a road race; the helpful words from a random stranger followed immediately by getting elbowed out of the way by someone, as happened in the Royal Parks half. New York is supposed to have this spirit in abundance, as detailed in A Race Like No Other, a present from my cousin at the beginning of the year which I have been nervously dipping back into. I haven’t really prepared for the sheer size and drama of New York – and can’t really. I just have to prepare the body and mind as best as I can and try and keep my head screwed on on race day.

It’s a true truism that everyone is equal out on the road; your background and your wealth and your status and even your genetic lottery draw don’t mean much – everyone has to draw water from their own wells, and all look ragged and terrible at the end. People wanting to take up running seem to often worry what they’ll look like to other runners; the fantastic answer is ‘nobody gives a toss’. Everyone suffers just the same, and feels the same elation, and the (often unspoken) camaraderie is enjoyable. I’ve tried to read Murakami’s book (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running) which is supposed to detail all this stuff, but I found it a bit glib and irritating – like his novels. It’s hard to say what I enjoy about running, but… I relish the opportunities now, even when they are hard.  I have been having odd little flashes of inspiration out on the runs too. Maybe the solving of the problems and the discipline of the mind required is more of a reward than it seems. I feel calmer, despite the fatigue. Things which previously filled me with foreboding seem less of a problem. Although this has to be balanced with a general lack of creative energy; I haven’t made any music on a consistent basis for months.

I’ve always thought the marathon was something I wanted to complete, to tick off. Now I’m not so sure where it’s leading me.