Saturday, 2 February 2013

Taking Bulls by Horns, etc.

Over 100 views of my first attempt - thanks, friends and family! Now the pressure's on!

This one's been inspired by my wonderful, amazing, brilliant and beautiful friend, Tully. I met Tully in my first week of University in Edinburgh while she was running an open mic night at Medina. Now she's in the final stages of getting a phD from Harvard and works at UCLA in sunny California (honestly, it sounds delightfully warm there). We've been chatting on Skype about the dreaded runners' injuries, the price of trainers, and how 9yrs ago we'd never even have dreamed of running for a bus.

My latest imaginings to get through the miles have included everything from "pretend your entire lower body is wheels" to "if ultrarunners in the desert can run four Marathons in a day, surely I can manage one". Belittling the task in hand is my latest strategy but in honesty, with 113 sleeps to go until Marathon day, I'm starting to feel the pressure. Mainly on my knees. 

It could go two ways: 1) Bull in a china shop. 2) Bull by the horns. 

Either way, there's a bull involved and there'll no doubt be plenty of red-rag-rage on the long journey to the finish line...via the checkout. Because this weekend, I'm buying new trainers.

I mentioned that I've been reading Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall, and I wanted to treat you to this beautiful description of running on a treadmill. Anyone who's been to Run 4 It for their trainers will be familiar with this ordeal. So might anyone who's caught a glimpse of their reflection in the window of a Chinese restaurant while drooling their way past on a long run. 

Our writer has gone to see a doctor about why his foot hurts when he runs and why he's generally a bit pants at running. We join him sitting in horror as the good doctor plays back the video of him running on the treadmill...
"In my mind's eye, I'm light and quick as a Navajo on the hunt. That guy on the screen, however, was Frankenstein's monster trying to tango. I was bobbing around so much, my head was disappearing from the top of the frame...while my size 13s clumped down so heavily it sounded like the video had a bongo backbeat. 
If that wasn't bad enough, Dr. Davis then hit slow-mo so we could all settle back and really appreciate the way my right foot twisted out, my left knee dipped in, and my back bucked and spasmed so badly that it looked as if someone ought to jam a wallet between my teeth and call for help. How the hell was I even moving forward...?"
This image, teamed with the blood-curdling-scream inducing thought of parting with extortionate amounts of cash for a pair of paper light shoes whose only fate is to get brutally trashed by my own blistering feet, is precisely why I'm putting off my visit to Run 4 It. 

My knees are still begging to differ.

I have perfectly good shoes. But if I go to this shop and tell them my knees hurt a wee bit, I'm terrified that I'll get all weak willed and I'll cave and buy huge bunch of expensive high tech crud like gloves and ear warmers and nothing remotely related to my knees. I'm every salesperson's dream. I can't even bring myself to tell anyone how much I spent on a pot of moisturiser at the Clinique counter on my lunch break this week. And I thought running was supposed to be a free sport anyway? It was for the Tarahumara. So while I come to terms with having to spend my hard earned cash, I'll leave you with my most recent top tips...

Tip of the week: Intervals, Intervals, Intervals. 

I cannot emphasise how amazing interval training is. The science behind it is solid, and you can find out all about it online. Basically it's travelling at Scout's Pace, and it's also known as fartlek training if you like a bit of a giggle. 

I do hills intervals every Tuesday and speed intervals every Wednesday. I run up and down a hill for half an hour (for now)...up the saaaame hill about 8 times (for now). And most people dread running up that hill once! My fitness is noticeably changing each week. The run up the hill is getting quicker and easier (for now). As for the speed intervals, you run your socks off for 2mins, then jog for 2mins. This can start with walking and jogging if you're a beginner, but by golly, it works. You'll notice the results (on your fitness, not instantly on your waistline) within a couple of weeks, which is one of the most encouraging feelings ever. It keeps me motivated when I can run that extra minute at full thwack, or that my recovery pace is that little bit quicker. 

We're getting there. Intervals are AWESOME. 

Top tune: Black and Gold by Sam Sparro. 

Always makes me think of my great friends Maya and Gig because they loved this one. It was on my Half Marathon playlist last year and it's a great pace keeper.

Lost a cheeky 2lb this week too. Bonus. ;) xxx


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  2. Love love love this post! Fartlek training? Who wouldn't want to do that?!?! You're going to go far lovely lady (about 26 miles and 385 yards in fact..). Get yourself down to Run 4 It and buy yourself some sparkly new shoes to carry you the distance. I recommend pink sparkles with unicorn horns on the toes - nothing like a bit of mythical animal power to get you through "the wall".

    Speaking of 26 miles and 385 yards, did you know that the reason marathons are that distance is because of the ruddy Royal family? Seriously, in 1908, the Royal family requested the Olympic marathon to begin at Windsor Castle so their whole entourage could watch from the comfort of their giant castle, and it's been that way ever since. Ain't nothin' to do with the Greeks.

    Keep on running!