Tag Archives: healthy-living

Run Forrest Run!

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So I did it. No one is surprised right? Well you better not be.

I wandered up to my starting point, at the back, and jiggled my legs about in an attempt to appear organised in my warm up protocol.

1 mile down. Easy. 2 miles check. Loving it. I am cruising. Now where is 3 miles? Turns out the distance between the mile signs were playing tricks on me. I almost gave up on sightings of mile 4, 5 and 6 signage and at this point it was quite clear that with only half of the first lap of Central Park completed, my main obstacle was my doubtful mind. A mile is quite far. So 13. 1 in a row is like.. really far.

I had expected rolling hills throughout, after all I had been warned by people in the know (including the race website), and yet by mile 7 and nearly one full run through of the course, I felt like I had spent most of the first hour freewheeling downhill. I like a bumpy course I think. No flat roads to force me to propel myself. I enjoy the hike uphill because I know it will be closely followed by the inevitable drop at the other side. By mile 8, I was happy as a clam. The legs were on autopilot and I was only occasionally wiping the “glow” from my brow.

By mile 10 I could almost taste victory. But entertaining myself was becoming more tasking with every stride. I had seen a man running barefoot, I had watched oncoming traffic of horse-drawn carriages leaving their stinky mark on my path towards triumph, and I had been lapped by the speedy front runners who look like they have done this before. I am bored and I can distinctly feel a tightening in my legs. I have just over 3 miles to go and I need a better target than simply THE END.

I set my sights on light blue shorts. I noticed light blue at around mile 4 I think. We were similarly paced, her Cambridge-esque light blue kit caught my attention, if only for comfort, as we journeyed together around the Park. So this was the key. Sit behind light blue and then jog past her to roaring cheers (in my head). But now I am at mile 11. She is holding strong and my quads are starting to fail me. I am positive I have sent pulses of information to the muscles indicating my desire to run forward, and yet they are slowing down. I must not stop. It will be the end of me. What I need now is a long winding downhill. What I need now is a cheer from the crowd to encourage me. Tick and tick. Off I go. Pick the feet up, move the legs forward. Let Newton’s gravity do the job and pass my secret opponent. Mile 12 and I am not feeling any love for the sport of running.

I have defeated my arch nemesis (should have found dark blue shorts in hindsight, but she served her purpose) and now all I need to do is bring it home. The final strip is lined with spectators. I hear my name and I have an almost minute burst of speed until my legs remember they are not happy with me and go back into a grump. I fear I have not hydrated well. At the first two water stops, way, way back in the early days of this Sunday morning I had gulped and not sipped. It was not a good tactic and it scared me to drink anymore. I had upset myself, in particular my sensitive tummy. Now, with exhaustion and the dizziness of thirst I have 200 yards to go and I am probably going to be sick. Not an optimal choice of venue as my exit path is blocked by an applauding audience. I must…. continue. I can’t stop now. Who walks the last 100 yards after running the previous 13 miles? Losers, that’s who. If I have 13 miles in me, I can find something, somewhere. I hit the final banner and immediately crawled into a corner to avoid vomiting all over someone’s illuminous yellow Nike shoes.

No, not a good idea. They pounce on me. Wheelchair is rushed over and I am lifted against my will into the rolling seat. Please no. I ran this whole thing I can definitely walk to my friends.

Don’t be embarrassed miss.

Too late mister!

After convincing them, with my absolutely lucid speech, that I was just feeling just a bit motion sick and they could send me on my way with a bottle of water and a bag of salt, I found my wonderful and encouraging friends and we hobbled to brunch.

In summary, salt in water tastes awful. Grilled cheese sandwiches (otherwise known as “the toastie”) taste marvelous. If only I could depart my seat in this UWS resto and make my way home.

I think I am going to pay for this in pain tomorrow.

Worth it? Definitely.

The Superficial Checklist

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Central Park circa 5pm this evening.

From the rooftop of the MET I faced tomorrow’s challenge. Must admit, it looks pretty big from up here, and that is just the bottom bit.

I was feeling contemplative as I sunned myself this evening. Reminds me of a time in my youth when I decided, surprisingly with no opposition from my parents, despite my less than fit, chubby state, to run a mile. One solitary mile around Bamburgh Castle. Seems trivial now, but at the time I distinctly remember the sheer unadulterated pain as I paced up the steep incline overlooking the North Sea. To my family, eagerly waiting at the finish line, running parallel to the cricket ground, I was lost. Or having a long, luxurious rest at the very least. Until a time when finally my bright red round cheeks appeared along that final straight. My younger sister, desperate to help her elder survive this terrible ordeal, jogged, with ease, the last few yards in support, probably keen to spend the last few moments with her flailing sibling before she departed this earth.

Fortunately, I dragged myself heavily to the tape. I was not a fit young thing back then. I was carrying some puppy fat, except this puppy was one of those British Bulldog types. Those really chunky monsters. That was me. And I was probably slobbering by that point so the metaphor works on a couple of levels.

 

I may have been round but I was darn cute!

 

Tonight, however, as I place all the necessities for tomorrow’s 13.1 mile “jog” on the table, I reminisce about my running experiences to date. That one mile run and that other time when I really really wanted to catch the train. No, only kidding, I have done a half marathon before, but that was slightly shorter than Central Park twice-and-a-bit-more, and it was almost entirely flat. Having read the course description for my stateside attempt, for the first time this week (erroneously), I become fixated on one section:

Almost all of the course is run over curving roads and undulating terrain, except for one straight, flat half-mile stretch along the East Side that you’ll run twice. Major uphills are at approximately 1.5, 3, 4, 7.5, 9, and 10 miles.

Have I done any hill running yet? I certainly have not. I tend to find running up hills a bit exhausting and painful and have chosen to avoid them at any opportunity.

It may be too late to prepare in any appropriate way so all I have left to do are the superficial check list items: have a hot bath, eat a truck load of pasta and hydrate away. My shoes are now adorned with the timing strip that I will probably ignore so that I can lie through my teeth “Paul Ryan style” when anyone asks me how long it took me to complete. Furthermore, being a New York marathon qualifying race, I propose that digestive biscuits and orange squash will not be on the menu. I predict that my peers will have done some hill running and won’t be taking tomorrow’s “stroll” lightly. And I suppose I am going to suffer a great deal.

But I will do it. I have been talking to myself all day on the matter. I will drag my slightly less rotund butt around that manmade green space and I will earn some running respect. From whom, it is unclear. But by that stage I will be quite delirious and expecting some knight in shining armour to carry me home (maybe I am already delirious. It certainly sounds like it).

Wish me luck!

The Half

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In order to get back on exercise track after, you know, “the op”, I took myself and my jaw on a light jog around my island. I learned two things on this brief, red faced, slow-paced hurry.

1) My jaw seemed alright and in tact at the end of the short circuit and potentially would sustain near future exercise when I got my breath back and

2) I am rubbish at running.

So now that I am certainly back to full fitness I decided a couple or 3 months ago that running should be an aim of mine. Something I would do regularly to supplement  my game playing and gym bunny activities. So how come I have not even cantered to the shop since this vow!?

I think it is because my legs and I despise running. In fact I know that is what it is.

How then would I get my butt into gear and get out there on the roads? Like a really cool Nike ad. I probably needed to enter a half marathon. A convenient half marathon that would cost me enough that I wouldn’t back out but also would scare me sufficiently that I would pound the roads for weeks to ensure survival. Right, so as of last Thursday I am entered into a “not fun” half marathon, under the banner of “for proper runners”. Error. Now I have to run in my spare time but without the end reward of those more famous halfs. The ones where bands entertain you on the way round. The ones where at every other minute someone is offering you a digestive biscuit or some orange squash. The half marathons where Geordies line the streets giving quality banter and enthusiastic AND sincere encouragement. Where Northern legends blast music from their open windows to drag the many crowds through their individual pain.

Oh no wait that is probably just the Great North Run then.

Yep, I successfully clicked a few buttons online, provided my bank details and managed to get myself a spot in a proper run around the hilly Central Park course, which takes place in just over 3 weeks!

THREE WEEKS?! What? Why did I do that? I have run not a mile and in just over 3 weeks I will have to run 13.1 of them and mostly on a sort of agonising gradient. Good move Beth. Good move.

On Friday I began in earnest. Well I had to. Any dilly dallying on this score and I was in even more trouble than I already am. I managed a good 5.5 miles. Impressed? You certainly should be. I was. I even made myself a chocolate torte as a reward.

Now it is Sunday. And on Saturday I did not run. So Sunday sort of had to include a run at some point if I was to keep the momentum moving forward (literally). And guess what I did? I checked out where the tennis courts were relative to my apartment on Google directions and allowed it to plot me a course by foot. Yeah I ran there. I RAN to tennis. IN Brooklyn. Man I’m good. It was sunny too and I didn’t stop once. Oh no wait I did stop a couple of times actually. Just quickly though because my phone is not working very well and needed me to be stationary to skip a slow paced John Legend track. Luckily this next song came on just as my heart was beginning to lose interest:

So apt. Thanks Jackson. Really helpful. Thanks a bunch.