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Making a Spectacle of Myself

1 February 2012

I am short-sighted. I wear glasses all day, every day.

I squint with envy on those who can wear contact lenses. I do have some but unfortunately my eyes are too dry for me to wear them for long. I save the lenses for special occasions: a long weekend run, a race, an event where people are likely to take photos and put them on facebook without my knowledge.  For everyday running I am ashamed to admit that I wear an old pair of glasses, the right lens of which has a big scratch, and which I keep in place using a red rubber band. Like the ones that postmen use to bind letters (because it is one).

In my defence, the band is usually kept hidden a cap, or at least by my hair. No doubt there are proper running glasses and/or bands to keep them in place that I could buy, but I am too tight-fisted and more importantly too lazy to do this when I already have something that works perfectly well.

Well, perhaps not perfectly. Last night my home-made running glasses let me down. Literally. It was cold and I was running a 7 mile “steady run with a few fast surges”. The glasses were fixed tightly in place. Leaving the office, it was easy to pick up the pace just in order to warm up in the freezing air. Twenty minutes’ in, I was averaging 7:20 miles and feeling good. The trouble started at Old Street tube station, where wandering pedestrians forced me onto the road a couple of times, then brought me to a dead stop. Waiting for an opening to push past them, my steaming breath fogged up my glasses. This happens quite a bit, but usually clears once I’m running again and the wind hits my face.

Heading up City Road, it seemed very dark. I was struggling to make out the edges of paving slabs. I’m not sure what happened next, but one minute I was bounding past a bus queue and the next I was lying face-down on the pavement, legs akimbo. It was more embarrassing than painful, though my right knee and elbow were bleeding. I levered myself up, limped for a few yards, then jogged carefully home.

On entering the flat, I took off my glasses. They looked strange. I have quite long eyelashes, and their mascara-ed lengths had obviously been brushing up and down against the lenses, combining with the foggy air to create black inky patches in front of my eyes.

Perhaps it’s time to invest in those proper running specs?

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