Sunday, July 25, 2010

Physio Guilt

Last weekend I was aiming to do about 9 miles, but only got as far as 7 when my nemesis-knee told me enough was enough. I could, therefore, write a post full of wailing disappointment, but the gruesome truth is I haven't been doing my physio exercises nearly enough, so I feel like I have only myself to blame.

You may wonder, if running is so enjoyable (it certainly is) and if doing just one full marathon in my life is so important to me (ditto), why have I been so negligent at spending just 10 minutes waving my leg around, a few times per week? Probably, I need my head looked at, as well as my knee, but we won't go there right now.

Perhaps I should add a gadget to the side of this blog so you can all nag me if I don't keep up with my exercises. Or is anyone else, apart from Asha, registered with DailyMile? I could log my knee-lifts there, if you promise to keep me honest.

How do you keep track of, and encourage yourself to stick to, the goals you set?

Cartoon thanks: Cerebral Vortex

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Runner or Jogger?

I confess this is not an original thought of mine, but has been bouncing around in my head since I was re-reading a rather old issue of Runner's World. I'm sorry that I didn't note the issue date, and I can't find it online, but there is a similar piece here.

The question is, how fast do you have to be, to call yourself a Runner rather than a Jogger? For someone like me who never seems to do any great distance faster than 10-minute-mile pace, and in which every single candid "race" photo makes me look like I'm out for a somewhat sweaty walk, the topic is extremely pertinent.

The columnist's answer surprised and comforted me, and I'm hereby adopting the viewpoint that running is about attitude, rather than speed...
  • If you're out to accomplish something, you're probably a runner.
  • If you're seeking to improve in some way (no matter what your starting point), you're a runner.
  • If you haul yourself out of a cozy bed before daylight, because it's important you don't miss a session (even if that session is 3 miles which take you 33 minutes), you're certainly a runner.
  • If you sulk when you get injured and get antsy not lacing up your shoes for a week, then you're most definitely a runner.
So to all those runners who take 5 hours for their first marathon, I salute you. Even if I take 5 hours 55, I'm still calling myself a runner.

What do you think? Does speed matter, or is it all a state of mind?

Image thanks: Mike Lockett

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wacky Races

If your running and racing routine is feeling a little boring, there are a myriad of ways in which you can perk things up.

Naturally, your regular training could take place at a different time, different place, different speed or in different company. You can take a tour of your hometown on a jogging tour (thanks, Asha, for the San Diego Jogging Tours info - here is a San Francisco offering, too.) Road runners might try switching to trails for a whole new nature kick.

But there are also weird and wonderful race options available if you want to mix things up a bit. Here are just a few which have caught my eye:

Burro Racing
You and a donkey (burro) complete a course together. The burro may not carry the human, but the human is allowed to carry the burro. The legendary Bart Yasso's hilarious account of his 10km burro race (in which the burro clearly thought it was only a 5k, as he ran like the wind for that distance and then stopped dead) had me in stitches.

Run and Juggle
Yep, some people are co-ordinated enough to race while juggling. Joggling (that's what it's called) world championships are held annually, and believe it or not, the record marathon time for a joggler is a stunning 2 hours 50.

Do It Blindfold
Think you trust your running partner? How about blindfolding yourself and letting them guide you around a course? The Vision 5K takes place each year in Boston and is also a chance for visually impaired runners to test their ability. This event appeals to me to to test the teamwork in our marriage and to show some support for my Mum who recently hit challenging 'speed bumps' with her own eyesight.

And if you're still looking for ways of making things more interesting, why not check out Muddy Buddy, Skirt Chasing, or the wine-soaked Marathon du Medoc?

Photo thanks: Western Pack Burro Association, International Jugglers Association, Vision 5K.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Re-thinking of Goals

My goodness, how can half the year be gone already? As I trotted a very modest 7 miles on Saturday (only just over a quarter-marathon, how tame!) I was thinking how this year has not quite gone to plan.

My goals for 2010 included:
  • running my first marathon...
  • ....alongside my husband
  • and completing a half marathon in under 2 hours.
Oh dear. Best laid plans and all that. Instead, I'm now praying hard that I'll be healthy enough to run a single once-this-lifetime marathon next year, and I've kicked any ideas of speed out the window, in favor of good, solid knees. One day, sure, I'd like to break 2 hours for the half, but until I get 26.2 under my belt, I'll settle quite happily for a slow jog, if that's what it takes to get round.

As for Beloved Husband (my trusty wing-man), his knees are also giving him grief and he's not running at all at the moment. We're both hopeful that with some care and rest, he'll bounce back, but I have to be prepared for the possibility that I'll be running entirely on my own for the next few hundred miles. (That'll teach me to sign us both up for things without checking with him first!)

So, not exactly a stellar year in terms of fitness goals. But the strange thing is, I'm OK with it. Every time I go out and manage more than 3 or 4 miles without pain, I'm grateful to be able to run at all. And I firmly believe that if I build up really gradually, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to do a 26 mile course within the 6-hour limit. Everything else can simply wait.

How are your 2010 fitness goals going?

Photo thanks: Sanja Gjenero
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