15 June 2014

What if people see me?

Something I hear from people talking about, thinking about, starting running, and something that worried me too, is the fear of being seen by people. I have news for you. If you go running, whether you're in the great, glorious outdoors, or treadmilling it in the gym, people will see you. Even if you go out really early, or really late or in shit weather. There's always someone about.

And I KNEW that, when I went out running, people who were about would absolutely, definitely, 100% be thinking "Gosh, I've never seen an arse bounce like that", "Bless, she's clearly not a proper runner", "Aren't those a chunky set of calves", "Who knew a face could go so red, sweaty and blotchy" and other unkindnesses. I mean it only makes sense. Because as soon as I walk out the door, I immediately become the sole focus of the attention of everyone around me, right? I'm sure it happens to you too so I expect you know what I mean.

Plus, whenever I see anyone out running, I always think, "Man, check out the state of"...


I almost never think mean things about people who are out running. In fact, I'm fairly sure that, before I even started with the blasted pursuit, I didn't even notice most runners. And now, when I see folk running, my main thought is "You're running just now and I'm not. You win AT LIFE". Beyond that, my thoughts are very much "Yeah! Good for you! This shit's hard and you are awesome." based. Because I'm still impressed when I see folk cracking on and doing it. It's a marvellous thing.

I will confess to one critical thought train though and that is in the "Ooft, you need a better bra love" vein. But that's just concern for mammarial welfare and owner comfort. Treat your boobs good when you run ladies!

So my conclusion has to be that, in spite of my absolute importance to everyone who is blessed with my very passing presence, people who happen to notice me when I'm out and about running, probably either think nothing or, if I'm lucky, "Aye, good one girl."

So my suggestion, if one of your fears is being seen by people, is that you, in the good words of Nike, Just Do It. Go out, give it a bash. A half cut dude outside a pub at 6.30am might even cheer you on. (That happened).

Just get a decent bra first...

4 June 2014

The Half Marathon: I did it

Love that I was in the gold starting pen. It made me feel like a winner from the off. In reality it meant "you're in the second slowest pen here" but, frankly, I didn't give a damn!

And while I didn't win the half marathon, I still completed it! For real! And I was nowhere near second slowest. I'd put myself down to do it in 2:40 and here's how I actually did:

I knew, from training, that I could beat 2:40 and, in my most optimistic moments, I hoped the 2hr mark might be possible but, as I wilted, it became apparent that wasn't going to happen. That said, I'm still beyond happy with 2:10!

It was, without doubt, one of the physically toughest things I've ever done. The marathon folk are NOT shitting you when they warn that "The Marathon is a serious athletics endurance race which requires a large amount of appropriate training and preparation in order to complete it safely." People, it is HARD.

I started strong - it felt like my pace was good and I was getting into my stride, enjoying watching other runners and soaking up the view (it's a really scenic run). But by about mile 6 my dodgy hip flexor (uh, how old am I again?) started playing up and by mile 10-11, I was fucked. Just fucked. My hip hurt, my feet hurt, my legs were HEAVY, I was hungry, my back was aching and I felt like I might shit myself. Even the amazing people handing runners jelly beans out of the goodness of their hearts (you people are ANGELS) could only lift me slightly.

Then, at about mile 10, the course doubled back. So all you could see was people coming towards you who you knew were faster and better and fitter than you and CLOSER TO THE END. Of course, in reality, they're probably just as fucked as you. They may even be slower than you and have just started in an earlier pen. They may have been aching/ill/despairing too. But, at that point, it felt like utter shite. Plus, the view sucked by then and it felt like the actual road to nowhere. It was at that point that I really got a sense of how an endurance event like this is as much about mind as it is physical ability. Like all the best cliches, that one is true. 

But I didn't stop once. 

Not to pee, not even to walk a little bit, not to stretch, nothing. And of that, I am very proud. One of my goals was to RUN the half marathon.

And eventually, you reach the end of the double back and you're the guy running towards people who still have the loop to do and you feel like a king. A wee bit. It might all be over soon. You also really feel like shouting "It's not that bad!", "It's not that far" and "You can DO THIS BITCHES" at the poor folk coming towards you. Cause you don't want to think that they feel as crap as you did at that point. But then you realise it's still going to take every fibre of your being to keep you going and get you to the end. So it's chin up and keep moving. By then, I felt a bit unaware of everything other than the weight of my legs. It was only when the crowds thickened near the end that I began to feel a lump in my throat and it kind of started to hit me that I'd almost done it. Then I became aware of what was going on cause they'd laid this shitty plastic flooring that was slippery as fuck and it took all my concentration not to plank it. Not cool marathon peeps! And finally I heard my name. Mr Llara (who already finished) and my pals were shouting! Yay! And waving signs!

I don't think I've ever had signs in my honour! It's unbelievable how much the sight of a friendly face buoys you on.

And then it was over.

And I didn't shit myself.

All that was left to do was to stretch, go home, wash and then get back out for beer, burgers and ice-cream!

Me, medal, beer

I guess my next port of call is to share what I learned along the way. That's quite enough for one post though...