The Plodder

slowrunner

I have never worried too much about being a slow runner. I was never a sprinter at school, much more a cross country girl. Long and slow for me, really very slow – even back in the day when I wore short shorts rather than three quarter pants to run because I didn’t care so much who saw my legs.

In the recent 10km races I have participated in I don’t worry when the crowd takes off in front of me, even the yummy mummies with their prams. They hover ahead in the distance and slowly, slowly, very slowly – I make up that ground. Usually on the hills, which is a surprise as I am the slowest hill runner known to mankind. They may be pushing a pram with a toddler (or two sometimes) but I partly justify that I am carrying the extra kg’s on my person, sadly not in the form of a weight belt.  I get frustrated with the sprinter, walker crowd – they put me off a bit, get in my head, when they sprint past and then then five minutes later rounding a corner they are walking and I plod past them only to be taken again in another few minutes time.

By about two thirds of the way through, the yummy mummies with prams, the sprinter walkers and a few others pulled up with injuries or for other various reasons are generally behind me and I start to see people I haven’t seen since the starting line. A fit father and middle school daughter running together, at some stage one of them must have needed to walk and so I inch towards and then surprising myself, past them. A guy running by himself who at the start I guessed as someone I would probably finish around the same time as – by what exact evaluation method I cannot tell you. Two women running together who look way fitter than I do, to me – in my mind, who probably didn’t train and just turned up and now are slowing down, just enough so I can edge past.

The point is, my brilliant strategy – is my only strategy, and I have always been quite happy with it. Not every man in the street can run a sub 2hr half marathon or sub 4hr full marathon. Hats off to those who can and do. I have several friends who can achieve this amazing feat and I have never been jealous of them – only in awe of their dedication and achievement as regular people who can train hard while managing families and jobs and their lives and just whip out a sub 4 hour marathon once in a while.

I have never really cared about being a slow runner until about 10 days ago when I had a 28km training run that took around 3 hours and 30 minutes. That was a looooong run that took a very long time. I got pretty jealous around kilometre 20. I was thinking off all the people I know who would already be home lying in their ice baths, eating protein bars and glugging down water and other rehydration substances. I do not put the end of that run in the win column for the mental game.

This weekend I have a 30km run to do, my last ‘long’ run before the marathon according to my trusty training plan that has my current ETA on November 3rd as 5:16 – 5:22. I can’t say I’m not a bit nervous, about this run and the big one in 25 days time. I am nervous, a lot. It is too late to change my pace, strategy, training plan and a  lot of other things – so plodding it is.

Maybe I just need to Google ‘mental game for plodders’ and I’ll nail this thing.

Thank you to everyone for your messages of support and to those who have sponsored me for my long long long jog around New York City on Sunday November 3rd.

How to sponsor me for your very own kilometre – click here and don’t forget to let me know which kilometre you want. Still so many to choose from and don’t say I don’t give value for money, your kilometre will last at least 7 minutes!

Numbers marked in red are taken, perhaps your lucky number is still available?!

Slide1

How to be a sponsor committed to testing – send an email to randomthoughtsnikki@gmail.com to let me know and get along to your local GP or pharmacy, whatever way is accepted in your country of residence and do yourself a favour and get tested. I won’t be asking for medical results or certificates ;)

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I had a plan

When I first signed up to do the marathon there were 11 months to go, then somehow when I wasn’t looking that turned into 6 months. Then there was the slight matter of an international move involving 8 weeks of temporary housing in two countries, living out of suitcases and extended periods of school holidays where I was the 24 by 7 sole care giver for a lot of that time (cue tiny violins). After that we moved into our house, unpacked some boxes and all of a sudden there was 3 months to go.

Now there are 2 months left before the first Sunday in November.

All the training planning, weight loss and cross training I did in theory over that time is past. Now is now and very real. Right up until Monday I still had a plan but now what I mostly have is fear and an annoyingly large amount of small pimples all over my face from spending so much time sweating and obviously not effectively washing my face when that sweating had ceased.

On Labor Day Monday I participated in what is strangely called in America a 10km race. Don’t get me wrong, kiliometres are my thing, I like to measure those units but they seem not to use them at all here in the USA. Not in my car’s speedometer, not for speed limits, not for distance to destination – just for one or two foot events. Makes sense to me, if you are going to run in the first place why not make the number of your achievement as large as it can be. It just sounds so much better to say – I ran 10 kms today rather than I ran 6.25 miles. You would also have to agree it definitely sounds better to say I have just run 42kms rather than 26 miles, you know, if you ever happen to do that.

The race was the ‘Y to Y’ fairly self explanatory, from one local YMCA to another conveniently distanced one. Described as a ‘relatively flat’ course (in relation to the hilly roads that abound in our neighbourhood) and was an obviously ploy to get people to sign up as well as a trap for young players, or fools such as myself who didn’t know most of the uphill came after the 8km mark.

Deciding to register on race day morning I briskly walked the 2kms over to the Y (the walking was part of my plan) and was fairly happy with my bib number of 1191 thinking that meant there would be plenty of punters, maybe some walkers, someone who may end up behind me instead of in front. I don’t mind not finishing first but dead last can be a bit disheartening.

Sadly I didn’t read the fine print and it seems that they may have handed out numbers to ‘phantom runners’ who might have nominated to run and paid a fee but didn’t actually have to turn up on the day…… There were significantly less entrants than I was hoping for as the 7.30am start time drew closer, including some very fit and fast looking mothers with running prams.

The plan was

– run my own race, slow and steady

– rest briefly at the end and then run slowly and steadily back home a slightly different route, approximately 13kms which would make it my long run for the week at 25kms

I was perhaps thrown off by worrying the yummy mummies were going to run me down with their prams, or perhaps it was the instant silence and hand on the heart for the national anthem at the 7.30am start time- I hadn’t expected the patriotism so early in the morning.

When the gun went off and the police motorcycles pulled out I had some kind of rush and felt I had to up my pace – which was of course – NOT IN THE PLAN. Still as I had been towards the front of the start the first 500 metres was a wave of people passing me as they surged forward and I anxiously waited for a toddler to lean out, look over his shoulder and blow raspberries at me.

Thankfully that didn’t happen, I finished what my onboard measuring devices said was 10.15kms in 1.12 (remembering the PBM recently ran a hilly 14kms in 1.16) and then turned to jog for home. Its just that I couldn’t make my legs do it, they resisted and instead I ended up walking most of the way. 25kms ticked off for the day, just not with the walk to jog ratio I was looking for. I didn’t do my long run and I spent half an hour in the bath soaking when I got home panicking about being able to finish 42kms when the time comes.

As the week has gone by, the fear grew until I was dreaming and waking in fright of the outcome. Then I woke up today which marks 1 year since we set off up Mt Kilimanjaro and I remembered I had a plan then too, which all came apart on the mountain as these things tend to do, but I still made it to the top. So maybe, just maybe I can do this too.