The Final Countdown… BERLIN HALF MARATHON!
Ah guys, I’m sorry, I’ve been AWOL. I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been working long hours, eating great food and not getting enough sleep. Living a kind of lavish lifestyle on my non-lavish budget. I’ve been scoffing even more burgers than usual, occasionally (quite often, in fact) tucking into some Japanese food with friends, eating my weight in steak and pulled pork sandwiches and I’ve even got back into the habit of dessert after every meal (I tried to stop this a few months ago). The food part sounds great (it was great, it IS great) but the worrying part is that I’ve been sleep-deprived for nearly 2 months now. I’m not the kind of girl who can usually function on 3-4 hours sleep per night, but since the beginning of February, that’s been my vibe. This is largely due to race but mostly non-race stress factors. It’s gotten to the point where I’m just used to looking and feeling like my eyes are glassy and my face is puffy and feeling like my body made of jelly and/or lead, depending on the time of day. This week has been the worst in terms of almost a complete lack of energy and therefore utter apathy towards everything ever in life. I promise I’m concentrating, I promise. I definitely heard what you said just now, uh huh…
That being said, I’ve still kept up the running. This is mainly due to Run Dem Crew (big up Charlie and Bangs keeping me in the game). If it wasn’t for those Tuesday runs, I would have lost my momentum a long time ago. 6 weeks of 4-6 miles every Tuesday night has shown me that this is the kind of thing I’m capable of. It has also shown me that I am most definitely a social runner because the support from that community has been phenomenal (for example, big up Orsi and her motivational text messages).
As a result, in my own time, although I sacked in the Bootcamp sessions over a month ago (probably to my detriment, but we’ll see), I’ve still kept up the running. The last two weeks have been crucial to my own development as a ‘runner’ (LOLZ! Sorry, I’ll never not find that funny) and I’ve had amazing cheerleaders. 2 Sundays ago I managed to run from East Ham to Hackney (6.5 miles - big up Ben). Then this Sunday I literally battled with myself, my brain and my legs to run-walk-run-walk-walk-walk from Bethnal Green to Woolwich, via Tower Bridge (10.6 miles - big up Ben again. Also big up Will and Mrs Will for the flapjacks and layers). Poor Ben, he really took some metaphorical, emotional and at least 2 physical blows from me as I whinged all the way from Whitechapel to Deptford and beyond. No sleep, stress and pure fear for this race have all made me one helluvabitch.
My brother has also been amazing throughout. He’s developed very painful shin splints and is deciding whether to take enough painkillers in order to still try for a new personal best or just to run slow enough to enjoy the experience. I’ve been trying to persuade him to just run with me (he would only have to walk). He’s annoyed, but making light of the situation by texting me worryingly gleeful messages that he has had to shave parts of his legs “for medical purposes”. Aside from that though, he has constantly checked up on my progress for which I have always been grateful. He knows I’m crap at this and the jokes have been as hilarious as the support has been unwavering. He even told me he would pick me up as soon as I hit my 10 mile target on Sunday night and offered advice in terms of direction and alternative routes through South East London to avoid the nasty hills.
At the end of the 10.63 miler on Sunday night, my brother met me on Shooters Hill and drove me the 2 miles to my parents’ house. My mum’s face, of absolute pride was almost overwhelming. I nearly cried while I (sweatily) hugged her and listened to her telling me (in 2 octaves above her normal voice) that she was so proud and happy for me. She already had the table laid out ready for me to sit and eat one wamp meal, full of chickeny goodness. Dude… so, so emotional.
Aside from the race, Berlin is going to be SO OSSUM. I’m looking forward to seeing my team! My #BangsontheRun3 girls! (Sarah, we’ll be thinking of you and Mia). I’ve already met John Law (YO, BIG UP!) from NY, member of the infamous NY Bridge Runners, and this weekend, the city is going to be full of Nike-affiliated run clubs ready to smash up the Berlin race course. The after-party is going to be WILD. I literally cannot WAIT!
This Berlin Half Marathon is going to be so worth it. I’m so glad I’m doing this.
In which we view ‘Perspective’ (20th March 2012)
20th March 2012:
If running has taught me anything, it is the value of perspective. I mean, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of this, but this ongoing development has solidified and enhanced my existing notions, undoubtedly for the better.
I have a habit of saying “PERSPECTIVE” in a joking tone when I realise how silly something is, but it’s not always a joke and sometimes you have to be a grown up and be serious.
In terms of running, my first experience of differing perspective was with the fact that I LOOK like I could easily run without much struggle, but the reality is I found it extremely uncomfortable up until about 3 weeks ago. So, to the external and internal viewpoints, things were seen quite differently.
My main issue with running and perspective is pace and timing. Again, I look like I can run well but the truth is I pretty much just jog, ambling along on 12 minute miles. I’m comfortable with that, but even then, at times, I’m pushed off the sofa in my comfort zone. Now, I’m very happy with my 12 minute miles, to the point that I’m ecstatic when I manage to run a 10-11 minute mile. I’ve not yet hit a 9-10 minute mile, but I’m not sure that I care. My perspective is that I’m happy with my pacing and I’m going to run a half marathon in 2 weeks’ time. My brother, before he started suffering from shin splints, was running 7.5 minute miles, and was working towards a sub-1.5 hour race in Berlin. I’m not looking to finish the race in sub-anything, or even work out splits to make sure each mile is completed in the right amount of time because my priority is just to FINISH. I’m not a racer, but I’m in for the long-haul. Hopefully, my brother, if he can’t face the pain of racing and finishing fast, will be happy to run with me. I doubt it, even his patience can’t be stretched to jog slowly for nearly 3 hours, but I’d rather he run slow now and save himself the injury and triumphantly smack down a triathlon at the end of this year.
Run Dem, with the help of Charlie, has brought to light several instances where perspective becomes a major theme. I have met some really great people through this community, all of whom have contributed towards my changing attitude and experience of running. Running is by no means an easy thing to do for some people, and because I have always struggled with it, and still continue to do so, it is very comforting to hear that you are not the only one not having fun. More importantly, it is particularly insightful, and refreshing to kick yourself out of that well of self-pity that you might be comfortable rolling around in, when you hear that there are runners within the group that have pulled themselves through remarkable and life-altering circumstances and are back on their feet and running, providing inspiration for others. I feel like I need a new word for ‘inspiration’ because it is in danger of becoming cliché, if it hasn’t already. But, regardless, at the moment, when you hear that you are sharing a bench with a woman who has pulled through cancer, has gone through chemotherapy and other stressful treatments, or a man who has been motionless for weeks due to an accident, you get a healthy, and very welcome, dose of perspective. There are stronger people than me who have experienced more unfortunate things than I have. Most often, I am not in a position to complain, and I do really appreciate everything and everyone that contributes to my life. There is sometimes absolutely nothing better than coming home to beaming parents, cracking jokes about your abysmal run. Times like this I remember friends who don’t have the same privilege and I can value the heartbreak that an individual is suffering. As humans, we aren’t always open to accept other’s plights, but perspective teaches me to never underestimate the weight of another person’s burden.
I have mentioned Candice on several occasions throughout this running journal thingy, but she is a very relevant person in my life in regards to my experiences of running. Not only have I run with her (behind her – she is an awesome pacer), but I have had the opportunity to follow her own progression, albeit only relatively recently in the last 4 or 5 months. She’s running a marathon on each continent, literally running the world. Candice is about to go and smash up the London Marathon in April, probably in batty riders, Raybans and lipstick. More fool you if you step in her way. She is a particularly motivating individual and I owe a lot of my own recent running achievements to her, Orsi and Bangs. These ladies, amongst others, have given me more much appreciated lessons on perspective over the last month or 2. If I could mend broken hearts and find you diamonds, physical and metaphorical, I’d do all that I could. Thank you.