Thursday, January 05, 2006

Signed Up

Something that I hate hate hate is not having something to work towards. That's the main thing that winds me up about work in a way, that I don't have any clear idea of where I'm going and therefore can't work out a plan to get there. But I'm not going to rant on about work again just yet, I'll let things tick over til I see how everything's going to settle down next month.

What I can control is my exercise goals for this year. I've discovered over the past year that I'm more motivated by having an event to work towards than a number on the scale. A run on a Sunday morning might not knock 10lb off my weight in an hour, but it will get me one step closer to being able to finish a 10k race without embarassing myself. That thought motivates me far more than the number of calories I burn, to be honest. I run because I want to run faster and further, not because I want to lose weight. This is entirely a good thing, meaning that it's not something that might fall away when I reach a weight I'm happy with (hopefully!), but it still requires something to work towards.

So a mere 5 days into the New Year it's time to sign up irrevocably for the first event of the year. None of this "I might do it" or "I'll think about it" procrastination for me, I'm going to do it (or at least I'm going to forfeit my £19 if I don't...). It's in June, which gives me 6 whole months to keep running in preparation for it (although I might do other runs before that, I know that I now have to keep running until at least June, and then hopefully I'll sign up for the Abbey Dash again to extend it to November). This run is something of a step up for me though. Not because of the distance, it's another 10k and I know I can do that (even if I do want to do it faster this time), but because of the fact that it's more than 5 miles from my front door. Up to now I've done a 5k that I actually walked to and back from, a 10k that started from my office car park and a 10k no more than 5 or 10 minutes drive down the road. Although they obviously involved effort in terms of running it, they weren't things that I needed to plan weekends around.

This time though, I'm running in London, in the Capital 10k. Rather more than 5 miles from my front door. There's a degree of extra commitment required for that, to get the train down there, get a hotel, run, come home. To go away for the weekend for the purpose of running. That's something I've never done before, and putting it like that indicates what a step up in my thinking this run will represent. Of course I'll do other stuff over the weekend, and I'm sure I'll do lots of fun things, but the fact is that I've chosen the weekend and the destination at least partly on the basis that there's a run.

[I should at this point mention the fact that as always it's a charity run, in aid of "Help a London Child". If you want to make a donation, you can use this link. I'm sure that children who don't live in London are also worthy of help, but it's London children who have been chosen by the powers that be, on the basis that the run is in London no doubt, so let's hear it for the London children.]

But it gets worse. Today I had two separate conversations with two separate people at work, but they both asked me whether I was intending to run any half marathons this year. Or at least one person asked, the other person told me that I should run one. This is something of a shock for me, seeing that this time last year I struggled to run for a minute at a time and weighed over eighteen stone. This year people ask me, with straight faces, whether I fancy running 13.1 miles, and think that I'd be able to do it (and that I'd like to do it). Me? Helly Jelly Belly who got picked last for almost all team sports at school (other than rugby when size without skill, speed or athletic ability was considered an advantage). They think that I'd do that?

Ah, I see their point. The thing is that I have been half considering it. Typically both the half marathons I want to run are on the same day, and I'm in Spain. I wanted to run the Leeds half marathon because it would be easy to get there, and I could concentrate on the race rather than the arrangements for getting there and back. But no can do. Then I'm rummaging around on the internet for other runs and I see the Shakespeare Half Marathon, and think that would be nice. I used to live there so it wouldn't be a complete challenge to find my way around. Except it's on the same day.

Then, a glimmer of hope. Blackpool. I spend a lot of time in Blackpool, my grandparents live there. It wouldn't be as easy as Leeds, but at least I have a vague idea of how to get there, where to park etc. I might even have somewhere to stay (although this would involve admitting to my grandparents that I'm running a half marathon. I've always been quite secretive about this sort of thing, so they don't make a fuss about it, and I might prefer to do it and then tell them. I'm funny like that).

Except, there has to be a snag. It's the week before the 10k. Now, the person who was trying to persuade me to do one said that I should be able to train up from where I am in about a month to six weeks (which I think is optimistic, but I have more time than that anyway), and that it takes two to three days to recover. Which should be enough. But I'd still quite like to be able to get round the 10k course without collapsing because of the effort of the half marathon. But then I do want to do a half marathon some time.

Decisions, decisions.

I think I've already mentioned my suspicion that I'm hooked on this running lark...

(And finally, the registration form today asked me to pick a size for my t-shirt. I now have an extra incentive to shift these last few pounds. I picked small. I'm not a small at the moment, but I'm still holding onto the dream that one day I might be)

(And another and finally, after posting this I read this article about finishing last which I had to edit into this post.

“however far behind you are, you're still miles ahead of the people who didn't make it off the sofa.”

You know, reading that, and realising that I'm well within the slowest finishing times for even the small 5 and 10ks has almost convinced me that I should just go for it.)


Blogger K said...

My goal for the year is "work up to a 10K". Which is daunting me a little bit, since I'm having severe difficulty getting much past the 5K barrier (my first 5K of the year is a week on Saturday - wish me luck!)

So intense respect to you for even CONSIDERING a half marathon.

(And I'm intensely curious that you used to live in Stratford - so did I!)

11:20 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

I just found your blog through diet girl's blog and just wanted to let you know that you can totally run a half marathon.

I've been training for one since september and i went from not having run in 12 years to loving running. i have been training on a weekly basis with a group here in austin, tx and although i'm always at the back of the pack with the other women who aren't necessarily concerned about their times, we are just more interested in finishing.

the half marathon that i've been training for is on feb. 19, but there is also one on jan. 29 too that i might also run depending on my current injury.

i can email you our 25 week training program if you are interested.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

Oh I've seen the Blackpool one I could stand on the pavement waving you on with a beer ha.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

I don't know if you get this show in the UK, it is called "The Biggest Loser" and pits families against each other and the family that loses the most weight earns $50K (US). They had a celebrity version of that show last year.

9:51 PM  

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