Too much birthday

Sunday 8 February 2015

Training for Rome Marathon (for real this time)

Week 4 of 10: Day 25

41 days to go

 In the words of the Berenstain Bears: Too much birthday!

Berenstain Bears Too much birthday

The first birthday photo shoot on Saturday morning, Firstborn daughter’s birthday tea on Saturday afternoon, friend’s birthday dinner on Saturday evening … by Sunday morning I had a sore throat and a cold brewing. That could, of course, have something to do with allowing myself to get cold after Friday evening’s run. It’s an old wives’ tale, I know, and there’s no scientific proof that allowing your sweaty body to get cold after exercise will cause you to get sick. But my anecdotal evidence proves it every time.

So I did not (surprise, surprise!) head out for a 24 km run on Sunday morning. I thought about it all day, of course, and felt pissed off that I was starting to get sick. I felt even more pissed off about how fat and out of condition I felt after a day’s indulgence and laziness.

But I did go for a run. I did a lot of negotiation with myself about how far I would run.

How fast wasn’t a negotiation. All the voices in my head were in agreement: we were going to keep it slow.

How far was the issue. 24 km wasn’t going to happen. I thought 15 km would be good, but there wasn’t very much time, as we had to meet a friend at 7:20. So I decided on 10 km, with the option to increase.

I kept it slow. For the first 5 km I kept my eyes open for bottletops littering the Fanwalk, and picked up as many as I could fit into my pouch. The few seconds it took to pick up a bottletop here and there kept my time at just under 7 minutes/km, which is where I want to be.

As I ran along the boardwalk in the V&A Waterfront, I could hear the din coming from the Grand – happy, relaxed people enjoying sundowners on a perfect Sunday evening in Cape Town. Just across the way from the Grand a white catamaran lay lazing in the water. The sound of laughter and general revelry floated towards me on the sea breeze. And, oddly, I didn’t look at either the Grand or the boat with envy. I didn’t wish I was there instead of out on the road, slogging away, step after step, feeling conspicuous and heavy, and working up a sweat.

I wasn’t loving running but I wasn’t hating it either, and I didn’t feel the need to be anywhere else that might be more fun.

Maybe I wasn't eyeing them with envy - but I'm pretty sure they weren't wishing they were me either!

Maybe I wasn’t eyeing them with envy – but I’m pretty sure they weren’t wishing they were me either!

I’d say there’s a little bit of progress going on.

In the unlikely event of my ever becoming a real runner, I do hope that I never forget how hard it is to get started. So many experienced runners, who are so addicted to the runner’s high that they don’t recall ever not feeling it, are so glib about starting running. They go on about how easy it is, how you ‘just’ put your shoes on and go running. Sure, it’s probably easier for those who are naturally athletic. But for people who are carrying a bit too much weight, or who have never fancied themselves as sporty types, it’s not that easy. It takes a whole lot of motivation and grit to get out there and keep going until it starts feeling good – kind of like whipping will continue until morale improves.

When I leave for my run, the Significant Other always says ‘Enjoy the run.’ I never quite know how one is supposed to do that, or what that really feels like. And when I get back, he always asks ‘Did you enjoy it?’ Last night I said ‘I didn’t hate it.’ He looked bemused, tried to extract a ‘Yes, I loved it’ from me. But ‘I didn’t hate it’ was the best I could do.

But I did 14 km. Afterwards I felt that I should have done 15. I really should have just pushed to do that last km. Fourteen is such an incomplete number.

But let’s focus on the distance already run, not the distance not run. And on how good it feels to have done it. Despite being unsure about how I feel about running while I’m running, I am very sure about how good I feel when I stop. I love how clean my lungs feel at the end of a run. And that I feel clear-headed and less tired. And I do love what my legs are looking like after weeks of running, and that my belly has shrunk enough to stay inside waistbands instead of spilling over them

Goal for the upcoming week: clock up 50 km.

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2 thoughts on “Too much birthday

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