I've downloaded various training plans for marathons, half-marathons, 10-Ks and the like, and the first week is always a doddle. Or it reads that way, until someone as sedentary as myself starts trying to jog for 15 minutes.
Good grief. I've spent most of life trying to avoid pain, and suddenly, here I am deliberately inflicting it on myself. I wasn't prepared for the fear, though. When I was a youngster, being forced to run, jump, climb ropes and generally exhaust myself at the behest of Marr College gym teachers Bryan Gilbert and 'Papa' Keir Hardie ( grandson or great grandson, I believe, but posh) there was always the sense of physical invulnerability. Now, jogging along the Ness of Hillswick, every step (even cushioned by peat and grass) bone-jarring and heart-palpitating, there is the worry that proof of coronary heart disease might come slamming in at any moment.
At my considerable age (48), it's possible that even grass-damped running could damage my joints. So cycling may be the least impactful (is there such a word?) option. and besides, I love cycling. I love bicycles. They are, as Joe Breeze, American bike guru says, possibly the most beautiful and elegant result of human ingenuity.
Meanwhile, as hurricane force winds gather around Shetland, and I huddle away pretending to exercise on my turbo-trainer, I think of this lot
... and shiver in admiration.