If there’s one main aspect of running I dislike (aye, because I’m pure pish at it), it’s having to try and run “fast”. Setting out on a fast-for-me mile goes something like this:
(0-20 seconds) – arms and legs are in full flow, nice quick foot turnover, breathing from the diaphragm and I’m smiling. All is right with the world & I feel awesome
(21-60 seconds) – my lungs start to complain, the legs start to return to a shuffle as my knees drop & heel strikes, the world is a little greyer & the pace slips from 6.XX to 7.XX something minute miles.
(1-3 minutes) – heaving lungs and an ominous feeling of sickness, as I wonder why I am doing this and ask God what I have done to deserve this punishment. Constantly battling against looking at the watch, to check whether I’ve reached the half way stage yet. Start to worry that I need to use the loo and that I look like a flailing octopus, as my running form ceases to exist & the real porn-star panting begins
(4-5 minutes) – I dislike this running malarkey. Running sucks. I go through all the reasons why I just can’t run fast including genetics, diet, past lifestyle choices. Then the excuses come – of having worn high-heels for most of my adult life, which has obviously shortened my Achilles and given me bunched toes & being sat at a desk for most of my working life, which has permanently shortened my hip flexors. That’s over 25 years of training to be crap at running versus 7 years of couch potato to Sturdy Girl bimbling.
(5-6 minutes) – I hate running and I hate myself for trying to run outside my comfort zone. I am too fat to run; I wonder if I’d be any good at lawn bowls? I mentally check through all the body parts which I’m probably injuring and start reasoning that I just shouldn’t run fast as I’ll pull my hamstring, tear my calf, have a Tena Lady moment before the mile is up…..the world is Dante’s inferno & I’m on the final level.
(6-7 minutes) – I am running like a zombie; possibly covered in slaivers n snotters. I’m desperately trying to un-hunch my shoulders, control the breathing and teary eyes, trying to pull myself together & press on for any kind of sprint finish, as if I could pretend to the outside world that I’ve been doing that all along rather than b*tching about hating it all.
(7 minutes something) – the mile ends and I solemnly promise myself that I will only attempt this type of running if wolves or bears are after me. Breathing returns to normal quite quickly & I feel bad because I probably didn’t try hard enough. So I go and console myself with some very slow and enjoyable Other Miles, whilst secretly being Very Pleased with my stats on MyFitnessPal and STRAVA.
So why would I want to go through this cycle more than once? And why would I sign up to do this, say, NINE times in a given day as was the case with the Mod Nan Eilean Siar 2016 relay? These are very good questions and I can only suggest it’s because I was curious to find out if I could get to the stage where I just accept my fate and get on with it, rather than gurning my way though the same vileness of the above cycle. The answer is no. I went through the same horrendous feelings every single mile of the Club relay, with the added bonus task of trying to muster a smile when the club van went past (I did) and also try and place the relay baton nicely into the hand of the outgoing runner, whilst encouraging them for their mile, which I *sometimes did.
I am not a fast runner. I am weak minded and tight of glute and hamstring. Why did I volunteer to run then? Well….I guess I did it for the banter: during the event and as story fodder for when I meet up next with my other running friends. Isn’t that what all my running exploits are really about? Ah. The Craik has a lot to answer for…….