Sunday, 31 July 2011

S is for…short shorts (and C is for Chafe)

Can you see the wet patch on my top? Oh, the shame!

This is truly an auspicious occasion. Not only am I breaking my record for the most blogs posted on this site in one day (okay, so the blog only started on Thursday but I like to celebrate these small successes- even if they are really, very small), but I also managed to run for 9 miles without calling for a taxi or ambulance to bring me home.
            As runs go, today’s was pretty awesome actually. My husband and kids drove me nine miles away from my house then, with what can only be described as an insulting level of joy, left me there…at the side of the road… so that I could run home. The weather was warm, the wind was behind me. There was only one cloud on my perfect running horizon and that was laundry. As in, lack of laundry completed. I went to my running drawer expecting to find two pairs of lycra three quarter length leggings ready and waiting to be selected for the inaugural 9 miler. Unfortunately what I actually found was an almost empty drawer save for a lonely pair of short shorts and a ribbed vest top I used to wear in my teens (and it never looked good then- even when I had a size zero waist). Needless to say I looked a beauty. Honestly, it was really special when three separate white van drivers took time out of their busy Sunday afternoons to pull up alongside me and shout ‘put your bum away’ at the top of their voices. I was touched. Even more special is that fact that I have discovered a hidden running gem- that of chafe! My newly exposed thighs rubbed together to the extent that I had to apply antibacterial cream when I finally arrived home- like I said…special!
            I’ll bet you’re wondering: How did she fill the (long) time during which she was stylishly running those 9 miles? Was she perhaps coming up with an outline for a new bestselling children’s book? Or composing a new narrative poem in her creative and quick thinking brain? Or even mentally writing a witty yet understated 500 word article for a well known magazine? And the answer is yes to all of those questions of course. And, as soon as I had finished with those things, I continued with my ABC game. Basically, for every letter of the alphabet, you need to think of a phrase that is running related- hence the title, S is for shorts… You see? It was suggested by a woman in one of my all time favourite books (because I really am so sad that I read about running as well as doing the running) the ‘non runners guide to running a marathon.’ In the book, the lady just does one A-Z but, because I am a professional writer with a LOT of free time, I have done two. Please refer to A below. If you have any more, please feel free to add them on!

‘I love running’ A-Z
‘I hate running and wish that I had never signed up for this madness’ A-Z
A- Abs! If you run, you’ll get some. They look awesome and you should definitely start to wear low slung jeans and/or crop tops to show off your well deserved, hard fought for definition. Even if it’s cold, Hell, even if it’s snowing crank up the thermostat and sit around in a bikini… just because you CAN!
A- Arses who masquerade as experts. There is always someone who has better abs/ has run more miles/ can do it faster etc. Ignore them all!!! I happened to mention to a guy in my yoga class that I was training for a half marathon and he replied that, in his younger days, he had been able to run a 3 minute mile. Thinking this must be normal, I tried to run 3 miles in 9 minutes… I collapsed after 0.5 miles and am still convinced that my Nanna (who died 2 years ago) appeared and told me to walk towards the light.

 Happy times x

H is for humiliation (and I is for incontinence...)

You may have noticed that it has been three days since my last BLOG, you may be thinking ‘Dear Lord, has she quit already? Just when I was starting to enjoy Kelly’s particular brand of self deprecating humour and witty tit-bits, what shall I do without her?” (Or you may not have noticed, in which case you need to pay more attention!) Fear not, I am back with another tale from the mountain ranges of Haworth.
            On Friday evening, I consulted my training calendar and it read “run a fast mile then jog for 5 minutes x3.” Honestly, I didn’t really understand what this meant- I always run as fast as I can. Granted, as fast as I can is really, REALLY, REALLY slow… but hey, God loves a trier! So I decided to ignore the wisdom of Runner’s Magazine’s training planner and just do my own thing. I should have stopped right there. Me doing my own thing never ends well, and unfortunately this was no exception.
            I set off with slight backache- yoga on Wednesday had been particularly brutal. The instructor cheerfully informed us after the session that we might experience some ‘slight’ soreness in the lower back. I should really sue her for false information because I spent all day Thursday hobbling around, bent almost double. Remember Mrs Overall from Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques? That was me.
            Anyway, as determined as ever, I set off and these were my original, unique and inspiring thoughts:
            Mile 1: “It’s okay, I can run it off. Although my back does feel a little peculiar.”
            Mile 2: “My back doesn’t hurt but it feels very cold, which is weird because, for once, it’s sunny.”
            Mile 3: “The cold seems to be spreading across my lower back and I can feel it in my buttocks. Oh dear, I must have done some serious damage. I’ll just go home, better not look just in case…”
            Mile 4: “I can’t take it anymore- the back of my lower body is freezing. This must be terrible.”
            At this point, I stopped to assess the damage- then I realised that my water bottle had split open and had leaked all the way down the back of my leggings. To the average bystander, it must have looked as though I had wet myself. Now, I realise that I wear running leggings, far too much lycra and a baseball cap with holes in. I understand that, when I run, my face turns bright red and sweat literally runs off me, often dripping on to the ground- I realise that it’s not pretty. However, I would prefer NOT to add ‘incontinence’ to my list of ‘attributes that make her unattractive when she runs!’ To tantalise your eyes dear reader, I forced my husband to take a photograph: if you look closely, you can see the wet patch on my back.
            So desperate was I to get home and hide the evidence, that I ran my fastest ever mile: no less than 8 minutes. However, this made my back even worse. I spent most of Friday night lying on my living room floor moaning ‘never again’ and ‘I must be out of my mind.’
            But here I am, 20 minutes from my next big run. If you don’t hear from me for a while, rest assured that I am still around and intending to BLOG. I’m probably just becoming very well acquainted with my living room carpet.
            Happy times x

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The story so far...

Hello there.
If you are reading this blog, I assume that you are either:
a)     in training for a half marathon and/or some other excruciating, painful physical activity which makes all of the muscles in your body howl in protest – in which case, have a seat… please!
b)     THINKING about training for a half marathon, in which case, you can probably stand for more than 10 seconds without a limb falling off. If you are merely THINKING about running, welcome to what I call ‘blissful ignorance.’
I was in blissful ignorance for thirty years. It was a time of great joy, peace and serenity. My sofa, the chocolate stash, the television remote control and I had a deep and mutually fulfilling relationship. Then, one gloomy Yorkshire April day, I was accosted in the shopping centre by a perky bottomed, toned stomached, bouncy pony tailed, lycra clad girl-woman who cheerfully informed me that, at the age of 25, your body starts to prepare for death. Having an enquiring and scientific mind, I researched her allegations (with a little help from Google) and found out that Barbie was correct. Apparently, your cells literally start to commit suicide when you reach 25! Because the only thing that motivates me more than a packet of peanut M and M’s is the prospect of impending doom, I decided to think about doing a bit of running!
            I mentioned doing ‘a bit of running’ to my friend and she said “yeah okay then, why don’t we sign up for the Race for Life in June?’ Remember the old drugs slogan ‘Just say NO?’ I really wish I’d remembered it right at that moment but my brain cells are obviously the first on the over 25 suicide mission (sometimes I forget to wear shoes). So, despite my reservations and the fact that I wanted to crawl back to my sofa and hide under the cushions, I said ‘Great!’
And so began the misery. 4 times a week, I dragged my sorry, aching bottom into the wilds- I braved the wind, the rain, the frostbite (I live in Yorkshire, there’s no such thing as Spring- it’s just continual winter up here) as well as the jeers and heckles of passing white van men. Eventually, I could run 3 miles without needing a stretcher and/or a nap in a hedge.
            On race day, I bounced out of bed, a bundle of excited and nervous energy. I ran the race of my dreams and finished in under half an hour- I even passed a couple of ‘proper runners’ – you could tell they were proper runners because they were drinking fluids regularly and weren’t swearing when they passed the 2k mark (in my defence, it seemed MUCH further.) It was during my endorphin induced high that I decided to grasp the nettle, bite the bullet (and any other painful cliché’s you can think of) and I signed up to the Bradford half marathon.
            This BLOG is my half marathon training diary. I have been training now for 5 weeks: my apologies for not blogging earlier- the muscles in my hands have been taking part in a mass protest instigated by my calf muscles. Basically all of the muscles in my body cramp dramatically every 5 minutes. You also need to know that, to access my computer (and my laundry room) I have to navigate a set of steep stone steps. My family are quickly running out of clean clothes, so much so that my 9 year old son went to the park today in an oversized pink t-shirt which belongs to his 4 year old sister.
            Dear readers, if you are in stage B- The blissful ignorance stage, I suggest that you wash every item of laundry right now then position your computer in a location which you don’t have to bend your knees to reach. Trust me, your family will thank you for it should you decide to move into category A.

Happy times x