Procrastination and quiet monkeys

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Training for Rome Marathon (for real this time)

Week 4 of 10: Day 21

45 days to go

Procrastination is the name of the game today.

It is almost midday and I have done no income-generating work. I have read Philomena on my iPad (until the battery died), drunk about four cups of tea, blogged about last night’s time trial, updated my Blurb book about my Rome Marathon training and trawled the internet for upcoming races. I have found the Century City 10 km Express (28 February), the Abax Investments Milkwood Run, which is a choice of 5, 10 and 21 km (1 March), the Lighthouse 10 km Nite (4 March), the Constantia Village K-Way 15 km (7 March) , the Tygerberg 30 (15 March) and, for when we get back, the Hugo Lambrechts Music School/De Grendel 5-8 km Run/Walk (28 March).

While indulging in this busy procrastination, Firstborn Daughter alerts me to the FNB Cape Town 12, which is happening way in the future, on 17 May. But entries are open, so I enter anyway.

Then I enter the Century City 10 km Express and the Abax Investments Milkwood Run (a 6:30 am start all the way out in Kommetjie – an early-early morning!). I’m thinking the Tygerberg 30 might be too close to the marathon – will have to check the schedule to see what kind of distances I should be covering at that stage.We’ll be doing the Constantia K-Way 15, but there are no online entries, so that’s some extra admin for another day, and the Lighthouse 10 online entries appear to not be open yet. Gosh – I want to procrastinate usefully but I’m being thwarted by other people’s schedules!

Wednesday 4 February Century City Express RaceWednesday 4 February Milkwood half race

Wednesday 4 February Lighthouse 10 race Wednesday 4 February Constantia k-way race

Wednesda 4 February Tygerberg 30 race Wednesday 4 February De Grendel Race

I also ponder the options for this evening: I have to run 11 km (according to the marathon training schedule), but I also want to go to gym for some weight training and I would really like to go to the opening of the Lionel Smit exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery at 6:30 this evening.

Wednesday 4 February Lionel Smit Exhibition

Of course, the right thing would have been to go running this morning, followed by gym immediately after. Then some blogging and then some work. Then the evening would have been free for all the other things I want to do. Another night listening to the Significant Other sleep soundly but not soundlessly meant I was less than chipper this morning (again). I actually thought the cool, overcast weather of this morning would last the day, allowing me to go for a run at the ‘wrong’ time of day. But it’s warmed up. The skies are blue and it’s become too hot to attempt an 11 km run – especially if you don’t run in shorts.

And then the Embark Training WhatsApp group remind me that Lace-up for Cancer is on tonight – hundreds, maybe thousands, of people will be blocking my run route. Ah well!

All this procrastination takes me nicely to 1:00 pm. Time for lunch. I can’t be expected to work on an empty stomach, can I?!

But I manage to fit the run in, and the exhibition – which was inspiring and energising. I run early – at about five o’clock, instead of waiting for it to cool down and heading out at six or six-thirty. The Significant Other walks the dog and Firstborn Daughter comes home from her after work activities and cooks supper. The lawn doesn’t get watered and the dishes aren’t done, but the most important things get done.

The run is kind of strange. It is still – uncluttered and quiet. I simply get out there and start running. And I am on my own this time, without a head full of chattering monkeys telling me what to do and how I should be doing it.

It really feels quite odd. As I start running I am aware of the light, of the colour it casts on the pavement, the trees and the buildings, and I am aware of the clear, blue sky. I see my shadow stretched out on the pavement in front of me, making little bouncing movements with each step I take. I feel my breathing, uneven at first, then gently regulating. I am aware of running a bit faster than the required seven minutes per kay, but I let it happen. I don’t keep checking my watch to see how far I have gone and how far it is to go before I can turn around.

And then I start to feel that something is odd. Something is missing. And I realise it’s my Negative Self. She’s not along for the ride – not yet, anyway. I shush myself so that I don’t wake her up and carry on going. I run along the fanwalk, past the Waterfront and onto the Promenade where I see a bunch or runners all dressed up in hot pink t-shirts, curly wigs and tutus. It’s the Lace up for Cancer 10 km, which I had thought of entering but decided against. I have walked many miles for charity. But I’m trying to be a runner now, the prospect of having to walk most of the 10 km distance because people have signed up for a fun walk/run didn’t appeal. I feel a pang of FOMO, though, when I realise what a small field it is, and that there would be enough space to run on ahead of the social walkers and not be trapped behind large clusters of them.

But onwards.

It’s hot out there but I don’t check to see what the temperature is. It is simply hot. My crazy mind doesn’t fixate on it. At about 7 km I see a fellow from my training group walking towards me, head down, looking not too fresh, sweating. He is supposed to be running an ultra marathon at the end of March and is trying to get some extra distance in. I think he is having a tougher time of it than I am. We exchange smiles and how are yous and continue on in opposite directions. It’s my turnaround point, but I don’t want to have to run with someone, so I continue on a bit to give him a chance to make up some distance and widen the space between us.

As I start running back, I see him ahead of me. He has started running again and it should be easy to avoid each other until the end of my run. I am almost at 9 km and still there is no noise in my head. I feel as if I’m in a twilight zone.

Without a bunch of monkeys on my back, my step is lighter and my running more efficient, and I soon catch up with the fellow, who is walking again. ‘Come on, come on,’ I say as I catch up with him. ‘Hey, I’m battling,’ he says, shaking his head, as I draw up alongside him. ‘It’s so hot,’ he complains as I pass him … I pass him! ‘It is,’ I call over my shoulder as I keep going … and keep going.

My Garmin beeps at me. I have run 10 km. I have to check the time. I’m curious. It has been a slow, easy run, with no stress, so what kind of time did I make? I stop – yes, I stop (why?!) – and check the Garmin: 1:06:50. The Growthpoint Sundowner 10 km, which I had run in December, had been hell from the first step, had included some walking, a noisy head telling me ‘I hate this! When will this end? Where is the end? I hate this!’, and some gagging and near-vomiting at the 5 km mark. I finished that one in an agonising 1:10:16.

I walk for a bit and then, deciding to not be forever hellbent on underachieving, I switch the Garmin on again and run the last one km to make up the 11 km I am meant to run today.

This evening’s 10 km is about three minutes faster and takes no real exertion and, most importantly, includes no angst.

Might there be progress? Please tell me so! Please?

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