I might currently be stuffing my face with hula hoops but don't panic because I definitely deserve it...
I just ran my Race for Life in 28 minutes and am feeling pretty pleased with myself. Thanks to everyone who put some sponsor money into the pot - I feel I've done you proud!
I was all prepared for today in the sense that I hadn't prepared at all and I thought I would probably die half way round. I was feeling quite relaxed about the whole thing until everybody I was going with started to ask questions which sounded like they'd have answers that might mean something.
"What are you going to have for breakfast?" Usually quite innocuous and the response might be "Tea and a jammy dodger." But today it seemed like I ought to say 'Wheat grass and Jif' just so that they knew I was properly thinking about balancing my energy level with my desperate desire not to do a little Paula Radcliffe part way round the track.
"Are you going to listen to your mp3player?" Well, probably not I was thinking...my mp3 player is almost wall to wall Bob Dylan. While I love his work I'm not sure it's the best choice for keeping you motivated. I'd be pelting along the strauight telling anyone who'd listen where Maggie's Ma can shove the farm and then crying in the corner over the fact that I'll never have my own big brass bed... Potentially Dylan is only a really good running companion if he's on speakers behind you and you're trying to outrun him to catch up with someone more cheery. Probably not Morrissey.
When we actually got to the race track I wanted to cry. Not just because of the impending stitch and cellulite motivation (motivation is the new wobble) but because everybody there had the name of who they were running for on their back. Which, while beautiful, was quite difficult to stomach. It was eyes down on the course mainly to keep from blubbing rather than for any sort of 'It'll make me run better' reason. For every one who ran, another had gone. I'm not one to blub much over the death of elderly people - circle of life and over population and such...but it's harder to be so practical when the dates of a life span 2002-2006...
So the mass of pink ladies all gathered at the start line and their respective fellas mooched off to find the burger van. It did make me wonder whether this sort of thing would work for men? Women of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds (over 2,000 of them) were at this one race. Would men do the same thing? I think it would probably be a lot more competitive - I don't think men in general are as ok to put themselves out of their comfort zone for a communal good will. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so.
And we were off...the huge pink caterpillar began stretching round the fields. I took my first step...and immediately thought about stopping. I don't know what it is about running but it confuses my body.If there had been a medal today for person who kicked themself in the back of the leg the most, it would have gone to me. I get wibbly head like one of those sunflower toys that moves to music, my arms flail about in a desperate attempt to grab the nearest person and ask them to put me out of my misery.
My approach to running was that if I didn't stop then I wouldn't stop. Now, on paper this might sound ridiculous. But to someone who hates running, never runs and generally doesn't understand the appeal - the entire time you are running your body and brain are suggesting
"Stop running" And this needs to be countered constantly with -
"No, we don't want to."
"Who is this 'we'? Because I'm your body and I certainly want to.""And I'm your brain and I'm pretty sure I sent a memo advising against this months ago."
"Well, maybe this is our soul."
"Nope, we sold that for those Tim Minchin tickets..."
"Then I don't know who I am," (and I genuinely don't know...if my body and brain both want to not be doing something but there's a blind will to carry on, WHO THE HELL IS THAT?!) "But, we're running."
"But, I'm tired."
"And I was told that if I did well at school it wouldn't matter that we were a bit podgy and couldn't hit a ball. No offense..."
"None taken. Fair's fair."
"Yeah ok, maybe we'll stop."
"It said we could stop..."
"So...why aren't you stopping?"
"HAHAHHAHA Because whatever the bloody hell I am is the glue keeping this show on the...grass track! You two can badger on as much as you like about needing water and the fact that the woman in front has hungry bum and did Paula Radcliffe have anything to wipe with and whether we need to stop to see what this pain in the ribs is and should we be doing this with a severe back injury and will we be skinnier if we run slower for longer or faster but shorter... but if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other while we're debating how rubbish this is,then we're going to cross the finish line."
"We crossed it a while back"