Yes. Erg. This is a new word for me, and one with a satisfyingly quasi-onomatoepic quality, reflecting the sound I made, internally at least, when it appeared on my doorstep: the point at which I realised there was no going back.
For a three-letter word it packs quite a complicated linguistic punch, but I’ll stick with the job in hand. To the red-faced, bulging-eyeballed cognoscenti, an erg is an indoor rowing machine, and I now own one. Here’s why.
My London Marathon attempt fizzled out in a puddle of sloth, pessimisim and demotivation that grew with my list of nostalgic injuries: calf muscles, whiney left knee, back pain. It was the last of those — the lower-back twinges — that frightened me off. I can live with sore calf muscles, but the fear of re-living the pain of that post-Berlin herniated disk was enough.
After the brief initial sense of relief, and the fun of recreating abandoned high-calorie friendships, I settled in for a winter of discontent and deflation. London in April 2015 would have been the ideal way to bow out of distance plodding, but it wasn’t going to happen.
It’s given me a strange few months, bouncing between conflicting sensations of liberation and claustrophobia – made exponentially more complex by realising that captivity can be liberating while sudden liberation can, equally, be a trap. Once or twice I thought I might be veering nutswards, but I’ve dismissed that intriguing possibility, and instead, rightly or not, decided that having no plodding destination is the root of my slump.
Nothing is quite as simple as this, of course, but I’m sure that no running is part of the problem, and is therefore a part of the solution.
Except, instead of running, I’m rowing.