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Los Fun Hogs! Birthday marathon running diary
November 12, 2012
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For my birthday
this year, my running partner, coach, fellow fun hog and comrade
in everything Bev Clark gave me a marathon. She didn't pay the entrance
fee for me because there wasn-t one. The marathon was self-organised,
self sponsored and self-supported. But she gave me everything else,
the route, the companionship, encouragement, endless, endless training
runs, gym sessions, car drops, nutritious lunches and fortifying
sundowners. What follows are a few days' journal entries from over
five months of preparations.
10 September 2012 - When are you ever ready for anything? . . .
They say in
running that whatever you do in training now will yield results
in two weeks. In other words, if you're two weeks away from The
Big Run and you don't feel ready it's too late. You're as ready
as you're going to get. If that's the case, I've got just under
one month to get as ready as I'm going to be for the marathon. With
that, and a healthy chorus of "better late than never"
ringing in my ears, I'm trying to knuckle down. My interest was
sparked by a promise in Runner's World - a 50-minute Iron
Strength routine which, done just twice a week, would transform
me to Marathon Fit. I mentioned this to Bev as I was looking it
up online, and a few hours later she shared a Guardian article with
me - out loud. In it, British Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton
discusses how difficult she was finding training in Switzerland.
She needed to Build Core Strength, she decided (emphasis Bev's),
and in so doing found a few new drills she started to do. When her
coach found out, he was so angry with her that she began cutting
herself with a Swiss Army Knife (irony duly noted) in despair over
disappointing him. She was on the verge of quitting when she met
a new coach, who helped turn things around for her. Bev reads this
article to me "as a warning," as she puts it. When I
ask whether it's a warning that I need to build core strength, or
a warning that I shouldn't add things to my training programme without
telling my coach (her), she just smiles enigmatically.
14 September 2012 - Mad dogs are some Zimbabweans . . .
This time of
year, the sun is hot and constant. The sky is clear and blue. There
isn-t a cloud to be found for love or money, and the heat
is unrelenting. Running past houses the hedges are dry and thin,
and you can see farther into people's properties, into gardens,
into hills, into the bush. It feels somehow wrong - like things
are too exposed, or weak, or vulnerable. It-s weeks or even
months before the rains begin and things soften and grow again.
In the meantime, even looking at the weather forecast feels pointless.
You know what it will be - clear, sunny and 30, day in, day
out. But the tababuya trees are stunning. They dominate the sky
with thick, yellow clumps of flowers. I imagine doing a run based
on them - run to one you can see, and from there choose another
one you can see and run to it, then find another and run to it,
on and on through the city.
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