Archive of ‘Run Mama Run!’ category
Thank God it’s all over
So that’s a second half marathon under my belt. I had decided not to write ‘yet another’ post on the race but then it dawned on me that after writing various posts on the training and build-up (albeit from a tongue in cheek perspective because it’s not exactly a full marathon after all), it would be a little odd to say nothing about how the day itself went. Then a comment from someone who read Race Day…The Lie-In Has to Wait convinced me to stop debating already and just get on with it. I suppose I could say, well the starting signal sounded and I put one foot in front of the other and repeated that til I got to the finish line.
But I’m not going to do that. So:
They need to design a nappy (diaper) for female runners
“Oh no…Not again!”
because so help me God am I sick to death of running races needing the toilet from start to finish or what? If you’re not wild about reading about pee-related issues, feel free to skip to the next point. The rest of you, let me break it down for you: Half Mara 2013, went to the toilet about ten times before the race and still needed the toilet 90 seconds into the run. Pfffff. Gozo 8 miler 2013, same. This Half Mara, got in the queue for the toilets and had to step out of the queue and go find my friends at the starting line or else risk a repeat of last year where I couldn’t get to them in time for the starting gun because of the long queue for the toilets. I simply can’t stand stopping to use porta-loos as I don’t want to lose a second off my time (although I’m sure that attitude is counter-productive because surely running with a happier and erm emptier bladder would help my speed?!) and I’m just not good at doing the Paula ‘pulling over to the side of the road’ thang for reasons of modesty. Any of my friends who have just read the last part are screaming with laughter at the idea of me trying to pass myself off as a bashful lady.
Running like the police are chasing you really helps
My pace during my training runs (if you can call running twice a week training) was predicting that I was barely good enough to get through the finish at 2 hours 15 (only 5 minutes up from last year’s half mara) and yet the official race result has me grinning from ear to ear. Alright, so maybe my little legs weren’t exactly moving at warp speed – I don’t do much at warp speed apart from open a new jar of nutella as soon as I’m back in the car after leaving the supermarket- but I’ll take that result thanks (see below).
Why oh why is there so little ‘atmosphere’?
“Why on earth are we clapping? We still have 9 miles to go!”
I almost left this bit out for fear of being verbally punched in the face. So before any local seasoned Malta mara runners wade in here and tell me off for being critical, I’m simply saying that from my limited experience of two half maras here, I find it really odd that there are so few people lining the route for huge portions of the race. I guess you can rationalise that part and simply accept that most people want to be near the start and finish lines for obvious reasons. However, the thing I really don’t get at all is why – with the exception of those spectators at the start and finish – the majority of those few who do come out and ‘support’ and ‘watch’ the race along some of the route are so lacking in enthusiasm.
Okay, so there are small pockets of people doing their best to cheer you on and a few bands playing but for the most part, many just stand at the side of the road staring silently without so much as a wave, cheer, fist punch or ‘keep going’ between them. For goodness sake, I actually started clapping myself out of sheer desperation (the proof is in the pic). You’re out there, giving it your all running your socks off all the way to the finish line and you look over only to see a bunch of miserable faces and you just think, ‘honestly…go home…you’re no good to me’.
I know that comparing events from different countries is pointless because that’s just it: they’re different (size-wise, culture-wise etc). Also, I realise that despite Malta’s full and half maras apparently getting bigger year on year, as this is a tiny island obviously it is never going to emulate the biggies like London or New York in terms of sheer scale and consequently atmosphere. But come on you silent spectators…if the organisers can do such a good job every year of organising, can’t you muster up a little more of that famous Mediterranean passion and enthusiasm when you’re spectating?
No idea how my runner chick friend found me at 19k
“Where are my kids? I can’t see my kids!”
after she ‘pulled over’ twice from 11k but I’m sure glad she did. Those last 2k may not have hurt as badly as they did last year but they still hurt. I do love running with my tunes but sometimes it helps to have a running buddy. And if you’re wondering why she’s smiling while I’m grimacing here, it’s probably because she had the sense to do those two pitstops earlier while I stupidly pushed on through the needing to pee and was in proper agony by the time this pic was taken near the finish 🙂
“Children do as their parents do, not as their parents say”
Although this adorable note from Dreamy D is factually incorrect – as I am neither a fast runner nor the best mum ever – it warms my heart that over the last couple of years, my kids have witnessed their stay-at-home-mum trying something new (that she wasn’t sure she’d be any good at because she was the least sporty kid at school and spent half a lifetime with knee problems) achieving a few cool results along the way. I’m not talking about teaching them to compete against others. For me, it’s about teaching them to set their minds on something, try hard and achieve something, small or big (and if they don’t achieve it…at least they tried right?). It’s about the personal victory. Not the “I want a medal to prove I’m bigger/better/faster than you” mentality. But the “It’s nice to have a medal in the drawer proving that I’m bigger/better/faster than I myself thought I could ever be” mentality. Surely that’s setting a good example right? And erm…technically…I am the fastest runner and the best mum in MY house. So just let me own that alright?
How the heck did I manage to wear these just hours after the race?!
Who Says Runners Don’t Have Sexy Feet?
What I love most about finishing a race:
Happiness Is a Long Hot Shower
(apart from getting a shiny medal and hugs from la famille, I mean).
Looks like we’ve started a tradition with the Half Marathon dinner
If so, I think the ‘Thank Frank It’s All Over Til Next Year – Oh No There’s the Gozo 8-miler – Crap, I Need a Tequila!’ Dinner is a more appropriate name. Impractical but accurate (and I only wrote this part as an excuse to post up this pic of the ever-lovely K.L. and T.K.).
I’m not sure if I found my competitive gene or if my competitive gene found me.
Struggling to stand after 21k…and this heavy medal isn’t helping
Who cares? Either way, got the job done faster than I expected. Happy.
So Half Mara week has arrived and to be honest, I’ve got little else on my mind other than how I’m going to do on race day. So if you’re tired of posts on running, that’s fair enough. I understand. No hard feelings. I get it if you want to go do something else rather than read this. No really, it’s alright…(sniffs, wipes away a tear)…
And if you’re still here, you’re my new best friend. Warning: it’s a bit random.
Woop Woop! Finally did a long run…iust over 11 miles in the bag. Not ideal with only days to go before the big day – my full marathon friends warned against me doing a long run so close to the race – but I just had to do it for my peace of mind. Pretty exhausting but it’s kind of like Mark Allen said: “You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” (Ok so the Iron Man challenge is a tad more taxing than yesterday’s 18k run but the principle’s the same!).
The best bit…it was my longest run apart from the 2013 Half Marathon and I reached my ‘holy grail’ goal (Tony’s Ice Cream van in BiC to the end of St Pauls Bypass and back for my resident Malta readers) that I’d been dreaming of reaching since I started running in April 2012.
Entire right side hurts. What an arse ache. Seriously, WHAT an arse ache.
Hang on…Half Mara this week? Double woop woop: I can CARB LOAD! Move over avocado, cottage cheese, turkey etc lunch and brown rice veggie dinner (yeah I know , you are both incredibly yum and nutritious but)…hello chocolate cake!
I don’t like going to bed this early. Pffff.
I pray to the gods of postal delivery that my running tee arrives in time. (Actually this isn’t it but it made me laugh.)
Could I have bought sports eyewear that makes me look more like a fly if I tried? Not sure if I’m wearing the glasses or if the glasses are wearing me. I look like a caricature of myself. The good thing is that by the time that starting line gun is a distant memory and I’m begging for mercy by 17k, I won’t care about the size of my glasses or anything else for that matter (although a tiny part of me will hope I don’t look as silly as Kim K here).
I can’t look at my feet right now, they’re such a mess. Ah yes, if I think they’re a mess now, just wait til Sunday Prabs.
Does running make your face sag? Don’t laugh. I’m no spring chicken and I could really do with not doing anything to make my face fall even further than it already has. I swear, I’m sure each time I pound the pavement, the force with which my feet hit the ground and the whole body weight/pressure/gravity combination have an effect on my face and neck. None of my running buddies are even close to my age (one of them’s only just turned 30 and honestly I’d slap the girl if she wasn’t so damned lovely). So they haven’t got a flipping clue what that last bit just meant, bless their double-layered socks. I’m going into hiding after hitting ‘publish’ on this post.
Yay! The first two numbers are one of the ages I remember fondly. The third and fourth, the year I started uni…one of the best times of my life. So maybe…just maybe…this bib number is a lucky one?
It blooming better be my lucky number because I’ll crawl into a corner and cry if I don’t beat last year’s time.
LOVING the fact that I was able to get hubster to run to switch off our old-school whistling kettle. He tends to stay on the sofa (like I said, I’m going into hiding after publishing this one) while I race to do it before a neighbour turns up banging on our door, it’s so loud. But I’m not running anywhere before Sunday!
And last but not least:
Thank you to Life in the Day of a Runner and Ladies Running Club for the quotes.
Alter Ego: “Run time”
Me: “Do I really have to?”
Alter Ego: “What do you think? Half Marathon in ten days”
Me: “But my knee still twinges from Monday’s run”
Alter Ego: “A twinge is just that: a twinge. Quit whining.”
Me: “And it’s so cold”
Alter Ego: “So go put on another layer.”
Me: “And those winds by the coast …they’re strong!”
Alter Ego: “You’ll cope. This is Malta. Not Alaska.”
Me: “Why am I even doing the Half? Pfff.”
Alter Ego: “It’s like KL said: you’re actually training for the Half Mara dinner and drinks that night.”
Me: “Ok, ok, guess I’d better head.”
Alter Ego: “You still here then?”
If you read Mother Loses Her Running Mojo, you’ll know that I fell off the running wagon towards the end of 2013. I’m not sure I’m fully back on but 1st Jan 2014, I took the bull by the horns and headed out for my first 10k in ages. Then, I fell on my laptop keyboard the other day (yeah, keeps happening) and accidentally registered for the Malta Half Marathon again. And this time, I think I should set myself some rules:
1. I must actually train for it this time. Putting in one 16k run as a last minute training effort – after nine months of a 10k here and there – and then showing up and running 21k on race day sure made a great dinner party story last year. But it was a kamikaze move and one best not repeated.
2. I probably shouldn’t get carried away during training runs, singing to the tunes playing in my ears. Mouthing the words to Kings of Leon’s Supersoaker, punching the air to Stereophonics’ Dakota, speeding up like a maniac to Faithless’s Insomnia and grinning from ear to ear to Timbaland’s Scream, apparently surprises and confuses all who drive or walk past me. (Am doing a mental eye-roll here because clearly these people have no soul.)
3. I must not stare open-mouthed at the very fit guy (as in healthy fit…what did you think I meant?) often seen running along the coast road near my house, with nothing but a bare chest (please God, may he have discovered tshirts now it’s January), ridiculous abs and er…can’t remember anything else because he was too fast and anyway I wasn’t looking…all that much…I swear…honest. Mental note to self: staring is rude and last time you gawped Prabs, you fell into the road and into the path of an oncoming cyclist who was none too impressed.
4. I must figure out why the following happens – and do something about it – when I go above 11k: umpteen trips to the bathroom afterwards (and I don’t mean to floss), feeling like I’m going to vomit, two hours of shivers, weakness to the point where I can hardly stand straight and a flu-like feeling and I won’t even mention my painful feet – oh, I just did.
5. I must find a pair of sports sunglasses more suited to the size of my face instead of the three pairs of gigantic ones I own, which make me look like a fly and lead others to wonder if the runner is wearing the glasses or if the glasses are wearing the runner.
6. I need to practise in front of the mirror every day to be less like my grimacing “somebody pick me up and carry me the rest of the way because I can’t take it anymore” self and more like the guys behind me in this pic. Seriously, how the heck are they managing to even breathe at this 19km point let alone laugh and chat? Have to admit….I’m still enjoying the fact that they’re BEHIND me in this pic though 😉
7. I must try not to grunt Williams sisters stylie…yes yes they’re amazing sportswomen but it’s so unladylike and at least in their case, they’ve earned the right to grunt. Mais moi? I’m not sure putting one foot in front of the other and repeating that at a slow speed for several miles is really grunt-worthy.
8. I need to remember I can eat carbs like a fiend! It may be January, the month of “blimey, how much did I eat at Christmas? I must go low carb with my eating habits” but I can carb it up for the next few weeks. Yay…does nutella on crusty Maltese bread count?
9. I must strap a baby travel potty to my rear, come 23rd Feb, because needing the toilet 90 seconds into the half mara last year was no joke.
10. Last but not least: I NEED TO ENJOY IT. Judging by the weird dream I had last night, clearly I’m not as relaxed about it as I think I am. Here’s the thing:
I haven’t had a dream in years. Yet I dreamed that my mate Karly ran the race with me (hilarious as I’m fairly sure she’s doesn’t even own a pair of running shoes because they don’t come in a rainbow of colours on the one pair) but she kept delaying me. First she bumped into a friend along the way and stopped to chat (anyone who knows Karly knows that this is entirely plausible) so I stopped with her and could feel myself getting mightily stressed but just smiled politely at her friend, silently willing the pair of them to shut up so Karly and I could get back to the race. Then she had to drop off art supplies to her friend Dylan (for God’s sake: I’ve never even MET Dylan so what the frig am I doing dreaming about him and what the hell was Karly doing running with a load of art supplies in her arms?!). Then we got lost and took several detours (anyone who’s ever run an official race knows this is virtually impossible as they’re always well marked. Oh hang on, I got lost at a race last Sunday… Aaaaah….So THAT’S why I’m paranoid now). Then the unwanted icing on the cake was that we couldn’t find the finish line (yep you read that right) and somehow ran past it, around it and a bloody eternity later, thankfully through it. I actually woke up pretty vexed at Karly this morning before eventually accepting somewhere around lunchtime that it WAS only a dream after all.
To all you doing the full marathon, half marathon and walkathon, have a good one!
AMENDMENT TO ORIGINAL POST:
So after publishing the above post last night, I’ve just met Dylan for the first time…and he is actually a she! Was telling a good friend of Karly, who works at my regular cafe hang out, about this post and about Dylan…at which point she said “that’s me! I’m Dylan”. Love it.
I just don’t understand what’s going on with me and the running at the moment. I know it’s common to fall off the exercise wagon and often find it hard to motivate yourself. But I’ve fallen off it so badly this time I don’t think I can even see the wagon anymore.
I made myself go for a run this morning and did something I’ve never done before and turned back so by the time I was done I’d only run just over 4 miles.
I started running in April 2012 and hit my first 8k just over a month later (which was great as I could barely run for 2 minutes on my first outing and am not exactly a spring chicken). And from that very first run, the days of me saying “Man why do so many people run? It’s soooo boring, I’d just fall asleep if I did it” were over in a flash and it was more “I need to go for a run or I’ll go mad”. And when my hardcore running friends said “your body’s built for this”, I thought “wow…I’ve found my thing”.
I’m NOT a hardcore runner but race-wise, somehow I’ve managed to run a half-marathon (with next to no training), win my category in a horrible 8-miler (my friends already heard this story but I’m so gonna have to share it with you too one of these days) and do a couple of 10k’s.
I’ve made myself endure the intense Mediterranean heat etc and even shocked myself and my husband to pieces by getting up early to run before starting the day. I’ve often fallen out of the habit for mainly child care related reasons…but I’ve always managed to get back into it and happily run 14k’s on my own without needing the motivation of other runners accompanying me.
But these last 2 months…I’ve truly hit a wall. I still haven’t registered for the 2014 Half Mara or even the Mdina to Spinola 17k 22nd December…that’s less than a month away! “ It’s too hot.” “It’s too sunny.” “It’s too cold.” “It’s too windy.” “I’m too tired.” “I haven’t drunk enough water.” “I don’t think I’ve eaten enough carbs.” Yada yada yada.
Some of my running friends often post up fab motivational stuff on their social media to help their fellow runners find that drive on those dark days. I so need to read some of them again to give me a much-needed kick up the backside. In the meantime, I’m cheering myself up with these brilliant ‘running commandments’ from the FB page Life In The Day Of a Runner:
Just realised our Ladies’ Night ’12 Pubs of Christmas Pub Crawl’ is on 21st December. Oh gosh, it looks like I can’t make that 17k anyway…