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  • Writer's picture Irina

Click & Collect

Updated: Apr 25, 2021


Excitment builing up for the race and the first run in shorts! Is spring here? April 22, 2021

Tomorrow morning I am running my first race in a very long time. A half marathon. It is a ‘real’ race, not a virtual one. There will be many other runners there, I will have a number on my chest, a microchip on my shoe, instructions from my coach on how to run the race in my pocket. I hope my legs will be strong and my heart and mind will be in the right place. I want to enjoy it and I want to do well.


In preparation for tomorrow’s event, I have followed a 48-hour pre-race nutrition plan, I have drunk loads of water, I haven’t had a drop of alcohol and I have tried to relax. I slept very badly last night which could be a good thing because it means I am more likely to sleep well tonight. In the meantime, however, I have spent today feeling exhausted, wiped out, knackered. As per the prep schedule I needed to do a chilled, 20 minute run this morning, which I enjoyed so much as it meant I could go out with Doug, Indie and Pixel. We got back and then I started feeling unwell. Very tired, shivery and starting to get worried about the race. Friday’s excitement was giving way to anxiety and questions about tomorrow’s performance.


Running with Doug today, April 24 2021

A carb-filled lunch combined with lovely company in our garden, changed the mood completely and I warmed up and felt quite cheerful and excited again. Lunch was over and I had one more errand to do before I could finally relax on the sofa. Collect the week’s food shop which I had ordered online. I didn’t know it at the time, but I couldn’t have chosen a better thing to do this afternoon.


The faith I was lacking all day was restored thanks to a wonderful very young man who works at the Click & Collect section of the supermarket. I mean of all places, it is the last place I expected to get my inspiration. Life moves in mysterious ways. About six months ago, I was doing a shopping collection and at that time, I was not allowed out of the car to load the shopping. The people who work there, would put everything in the boot to minimise interaction. A polite young man with a foreign accent, similar to mine, was loading my shopping when he came across a low fat – high protein cheese I had bought and started asking me about it. Does it taste nice? Is it better eaten cold or melted? Do I use it in omelettes? It is quite expensive, do I think it’s worth it? I said I really liked it for what it was, it could never taste like proper cheese, but it was really low fat and I was trying to lose weight so it worked well for me. He seemed pleased with my feedback and said that he too was trying to lose weight and was trying different foods. We concluded it was worth a try and he said he’d go and buy it once his shift was over. The whole conversation took place while he was loading the car and I was in the driver’s seat so could see him but not too clearly.


Despite me doing a weekly Click & Collect shop, I never met him again. I have thought about him though, probably whenever I eat this cheese and always wondered if he tried it, liked it or if he was just making small talk that day. When I pulled up today, instead of the usual greeting and asking for my name so they can get my order, I sat there waiting and then saw a young man coming towards the car with the plastic trays full with my shopping. I am now allowed to get out of the car (!!), so I put on my mask and got out to help. I asked him if I was the last order of the 5-6pm slot and that’s why he didn’t bother asking my name. He said, yes, I was the last order. He also said he recognised the car and then said that he actually recognised me! He said we had once had a conversation about… at which point I exclaimed: CHEESE!!!


Of course I remembered our conversation, but I could hardly recognise him. ‘How much weight have you lost?” I asked. “3 stone” he said, (that’s around 18kg), and his eyes lit up and revealed the smile that his mask was hiding. I said he was amazing, congratulations, well done, and how he looked so different. He talked about how he felt fantastic, how his life had changed, how he was now getting into exercise and the gym to try and build some muscle. I asked what triggered the decision to change his life like that and he said he had had enough of his eating habits which relied solely on family bags of crisps, sugary juices and take-away burgers. He was feeling sluggish, tired all the time and just got fed up and wanted to make a change and feel better. His energy, his hidden smile, his bright eyes, his enthusiasm was infectious. He said that before losing the weight, he could only run for 3 minutes and then felt he was dying. Today he said, he can run up to 15km. “Can you believe it?” he said? “15km!!!” I congratulated him and felt so proud for this lovely guy. I told him I was running a half marathon tomorrow and he said “oh wow! Take me with you”.


We chatted for a bit longer and I left feeling so uplifted, inspired, emotional and lucky to have met him again and heard his story and witnessed the unbelievable transformation of this brilliant self-motivated person. I quickly put my worries and insecurities to one side and re-focused my head on what I am doing tomorrow, why I am doing it and how fantastic it will feel. I am not superstitious, but I have a deep-rooted trust in the universe. Meeting this person today of all days is either an incredible coincidence or just a teeny tiny piece of a brilliantly thought plan.


He comes from Syria and I come from Greece and we met at a supermarket outside Brighton. We probably have very different stories of how and why we got here. I am likely old enough to be his mother. I don’t even know his name but somehow I feel I know him. We talked about the similarities of our countries’ food and cooking styles and how they have moussaka but call it something else. I don’t know if I will see him next week or never again. I know I will never forget him. His dream is to save enough money to take his girlfriend to Santorini. Who knows? maybe that’s where I next meet him…


Half Marathon here I come! Indie will be waiting at the finish line!

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11 Comments


camkavanagh
Apr 26, 2021

A lovely story🤗 Hopefully the race went well for you !!


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 Irina
Irina
Apr 26, 2021
Replying to

It did! Will tell you all about it!!

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thominia
Apr 25, 2021

Have a great run Irina, I'm sure universe will be your companion! Will be waiting to read all about it!

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errietta.varvogli
errietta.varvogli
Apr 25, 2021

Run run run irina until you reach to the end .,.,but most of all enjoy enjoy enjoy!!love you

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zara.chalcraft
Apr 25, 2021

What a fabulous and inspiring story. Another lovely read Irina. x

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antigoni.rapti
antigoni.rapti
Apr 25, 2021

So moved by your new friend from Syria. The power of a community is hidden sometimes and it takes open minds and sensitive hearts to make magic.. good luck and go go go run for the universe 😘😘😘

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