It’s 9.00a.m. on a pleasant Saturday morning, with an autumnal nip in the air. My Hubby is limbering, stretching, lining up with 80 others, about to run 5k around a park. He’s getting ready for the Cerys Matthews 6 Radio Sunday show.

He started running around two months ago. He runs three times a week; once on a Wednesday evening for a hour or so. Saturday’s 5k run takes him about 26/27 minutes, and Sunday, which he calls his "long run”, around 90 minutes. To be honest, Cerys Mattthews is becoming a problem. He started off with Giles, but assertions to Hubby’s sexuality brought that relationship to a swift close. His Sunday run and Cerys are causing marital tension.

In our younger days, when love was young and my body didn’t ache, we ran together. Along came the kids, an arthritic knee, lack of motivation and Pinot Grigio. I gave up lycra and perspiration, selecting a more sedate set of exercises: channel surfing, walking from the sofa to the kitchen to check on the Pinot Grigio. Some evenings I can check six or seven times. I don’t quite remember.

Along with Smokey, our Labrador, I would drive him to the 5k venue. While he ran around the park like a demented dog let off its leash, I would complete the pooch walking duties. A dutiful double act, Smokey and I would be at the finish line as Hubby sprinted in – his words not mine. I don’t have to check with Brendan Foster to know the correct description is (a jog).

The week-on-week ritual firmly established in our limited calendar of events, until an incident occurred resulting in a purposeful argument between us. As a result, I never went to watch him again. At this juncture, it’s important to note Cerys Matthews wasn’t involved in our marriage, but Giles was. Let me jog you through the incident. You can set your own moral compass on the event.

Smokey and I are once again at the finish line. I can see just past the playground swings. In the morning sunlight, just rounding the lake, there is Hubby. His bright orange tee shirt with its rather faded 'Relax Just Do It'. His sailor blue shorts, recently acquired from the local Oxfam shop, his arse stuffed inside, looking for an escape route. He seems to be running stride for stride with what looks to be a rather stylish, floppy haired teenager.

The teenager moves like an athlete. He’s pleasing on the eye, dressed like an athlete, bouncing along on a rather snazzy pair of yellow and black running shoes. The teenager is all balance and poise; a spring in his stride, upright torso with pumping piston arm rotations. If these two where trains, the teenager would be The Flying Scotsman, while Hubby would be Thomas the Tank Engine. Hubby and coordination are not comfortable bed mates. Like most things in his life he gets to various finishing lines by sheer doggedness.

“Come on Oliver, you can take him,” shouts a woman a few yards away to my left. “Don’t let him beat you,” hollers a man next to her, cupping his hands to his mouth.

To my dismay, I work out they (probably Mum and Dad) are whipping Oliver the teenager into a frenzy, willing him to win in what has now become a two man race. They should have let sleeping dogs lie. If Hubby is hearing the parental public announcements, they have unknowingly unfurled a red rag to a bull.

With around 200 yards remaining, Mum and Dad are now assisted by two children, who begin jumping up and down in excitement, as if they are pogoing at a Sex Pistols gig. They are hand clapping, which they are making up as they go along. No one clapped to the Sex Pistols.

“Come on Oliver! Come on you can do it! Take him, get past him!” As Hubby and teenager turn the corner and straighten up, I can see both very clearly. They are 150 yards from the finish line, separated by 20 years in age and, conservatively, a three stone weight differential. Hubby ahead on both accounts.

Hubby’s face is beetroot red and contorted into a distinct turn. His “Relax” orange tee shirt is covered from seam to stitch in perspiration. He’s straining every sinew, with the bulging eyes eyes of a cartoon character. I wonder idly whether he’s going to have a heart attack.

What I’m about to share is wrong, plain and simply wrong. I shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts. I take no pride in being such a wicked woman. Maybe the constant intake of Pinot Grigio has toxicated my thought process.

I’ve already taken stock on the impact of his impending valve malfunctions. The mortgage will be cleared, done, paid off in full. The final six months of the car loan also wiped clean. I’ll probably buy an Audi A1 once it’s just me and the dog. I do like the metallic blue, or maybe grey, definitely not the red. And his company pension, I forgot about that. That will be a really nice nest egg. I can feel a sense of controlled excitement and tingle at the thought. A small flat in Brighton. I’ve always wanted a little place by the sea. Make that an apartment. I can afford it now.

Upon death he’s the named benefactor to my estate and vice versa. My To Do List: Sky Sports cancelled. Those dozens and dozens of smelly running shoes he refuses to throw away. Clothes to various charity shops. Solution to the remainder of his...stuff: A huge bloody skip parked on the front lawn. Obviously once the funeral is over and a period of mourning has been observed.

“25.55,” says Hubby, doing his best impression of Lazarus. Smokey goes over to him, his wagging tail acting as a thumbs up, confirmation that hubby has survived. He says it again: “25.55.”

Other runners are now streaming past him. Oliver has been led away covered in a matching yellow and black blanket, deep and meaningful commiserations from family arms.

A concerned man in a tabard approaches. “Are you alright sir?” the tabarded gent asks. “25.55,” comes the reply.

Mr. Tabard looks to me, hoping the verbal mathematical puzzle can be solved. “Sorry. I don’t quite understand."

Hubby struggles to his feet, hands on knees, takes a deep breath. He’s in recovery mode. The beetroot complexion down to a more healthy pink salmon colour.

“25.55. My fastest time for a 5k, ever. Under 26 minutes.” I think Mr.Tabard has already worked the time differential of 5 seconds.

“That’s great news. Well done, Mr…., number 63. Although your time will have to be verified by the official timekeeper,” he says, pointing over to more men and women in even more fetching tabards. With true Barbra Streisand resilience, nothing is going to rain on Hubby’s parade.

“Don’t worry, this watch is never wrong. The time will be right,” he says with a smirk. Now that’s strange I’m thinking, it’s seem to be constantly on the blink when he goes to the pub with his mates or out to a football match.

As the three of us walk over to the official timing area I ask Hubby, “Why didn’t you let him win? He’s only a kid, and his family were watching."

Here comes his beetroot complexion again. ”What?” I know he’s heard me, there's nothing wrong with his hearing. “The idea is to beat as many people as possible, it’s a race. Kids, pensioners, women. I’m out to beat them, they are out to beat me. It’s a dog eat dog world." Smokey looks worried.

I know he knows his statement is diametrically opposed to the principles and objectives of these recreational runs. They're set up so anyone can take part. I select a word which I believe clarifies his statement: “Bollocks”.
Smokey and I walk on as per the Barbara Woodhouse manual.

By the evening Hubby accepts, possibly fuelled by well earned glass of wine, that I may well have a valid point on the objectives of the recreational run. Maybe he was being too competitive. He’s not getting any younger, just trying to be the best he can. I still think it's bollocks.

It was around two months ago that Cerys Matthews came into our marriage, by way of of a one off acquaintance. An evening not to be forgotten, although as I know, he’s tried.

Over the past five or six years, Hubby has attended a fortnightly quiz night at “The George + Dragon”. It’s as if a modern day Roman senate has proclaimed the need to gather and pick fantasy football teams. They burp and fart their way through copious amounts of fizzy lager, while leering over the local women’s netball team who drop into the GD after training on Thursdays. A perfect evening.

Over the years, I’ve learned Hubby struggles with criticism. When it comes his way I’m his sponge. At times, it's more like a mop and bucket.

His lack of confidence surprises me at times. When he puts on a work suit it's as though he’s morphed from Clark Kent into Superman...well not quite but you get the idea. In the mornings, when he’s showered and starts to dress, I can see his stature grow. He just looks more in control, a man on a mission. But when he takes the suit off and settles down for the night, all the hurt comes pouring out of him

He wasn’t promoted ahead of Peter Sampson (seven years his junior) to the position of Planning and Project Manager. He was so looking forward to the new company car a BMW 6 series. I know because he bought magazines to show me.

Hubby was told during his de-brief: “To be honest, we struggled to find anyone who could do your job. After all, you have done it so well for 10 years. But when the the next promotion is available, well I’m sure you would stand an excellent chance.”

Luckily for Hubby I hadn’t been on the Pinot Grigio So when he conveys this story, I give a reassuring nod, say I understand their logic and in the main agree: "You are probably too important. Sampson fail, and when the job comes up, hey presto, patience is a virtue, after all."

If I was being honest, I would have said: “This just confirms you ain’t going anywhere, mate. Not to head office, no overseas posting. You're a busted flush." On this occasion, he was saved by the Earl Grey.







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