Saturday, December 1, 2007

The First Running Update

Last weekend I had that flash of inspiration during which I decided to start running. I told you about it and no one appeared to show much interest. But, I've been out doing it.

It's now Saturday morning in London, the sun is out and the sky is blue and I'm about to hit the road for my fourth, yes fourth, run this week. I've got a "regular" route which is probably only about a mile or so, you know the one. I go out of my house, turn left, turn left again and keep turning left until I find myself back at my front door. I've even got myself a vague plan of sorts.

Currently I can't run the whole circuit without stopping for a break so I'm working on going a little bit further everytime until I can run the whole thing non stop. Then, once I get to that stage, I'll try to run a bit longer and to bring my time down. It's fairly deep in the barrels of winter here so I'm out in the cold and the rain and it does test one's determination to actually get out and do it.

The first time I went out, armed with new Adidas shorts and "special" socks that I'd bought that morning, I had a slightly awkward encounter with a woman and pushchair. It was dark and I was running up the road as I saw this lady in front of me and walking in the same direction as I was heading. As I approached them I suddenly realised that I was totally knackered and would need to stop for a rest soon. And, for a fellow like me, being totally knackered, running for the first time in some years and cold weather, manifests itself in the form of deep panting and heavy breathing. I'm sure an experienced runner wouldn't have been that knackered but also would have sailed past the woman and child and slowly become a dot on their horizon.

Not me though. The closer I got to them the more my legs felt like jelly. The more my legs felt like jelly the more apprehensive I felt as I knew she could hear me behind her and I saw her walk get a little bit brisker and faster. I knew that I couldn't stop and die just behind her as it would make her feel a bit nervous, but I knew that I couldn't do it ahead of her either. I'm considerate like that, I really didn't want this woman to think she was about to be mugged, or jogged. Or maybe the term is "jugged".

I overtook her, it took a long time as her walking casually with a pushchair speed was remarkably close to my running at full pelt speed. I passed her, I could feel her tense up a bit, women often do that when I'm nearby so I'm used to it. Then, from nowhere I had this renewed sense of energy. My legs just kept working and what was better was that my lungs did too. Maybe it was some sort of male pride thing that made it happen, I don't know. but I suddenly kept going and turned the corner about a hundred yards in front of her. Then I sort of died.

I stopped, bent over and deep breathed. After enough time to make many local residents consider calling the police I went on my way, feeling chuffed as I got in the house.

On Wednesday evening the girls witnessed my fitness effort. They were here, watching TV and I presented myself to them in my running gear. It will surprise you to hear that they laughed at me, quite viciously in fact. I had thought that I looked quite dashing in my garb, like one of those 100m Olympians only slightly less muscular, perhaps like Brad Pitt in Snatch, just with less tattoos and a bit more brownness to my complexion. But the girls, when they had finished laughing, decided I looked just like Mr Kohli in Bride and Prejudice, when he was doing his fitness stuff. He's now in Eastenders you know. They've just about stopped laughing.

I trotted off, leaving them to pretend to do homework. Once I returned they eventually let me in to the house. I had hoped for encouragement and words of praise and motivation, perhaps a bit of admiration for my efforts would have been nice too. What I got was slightly removed from that.

"Dad, that was quick, how far did you go? I could have done that?"

"You can't have gone far, why are you so knackered?"

"Can you do it again and I'll come with you this time?"

The last one scared me very much. It came from the eleven year old and she was wearing her school uniform. For the couple of nanoseconds in which I considered it I saw the dangers. I'd be in my kit, she'd trot off next to my in her uniform and school shoes and very probably run further and faster than me.

All parents know the great feeling of kids doing things better than we can. It's a feeling of pride mixed with a slight bruise to the ego.

But there are limits. So I said a firm no.

Must go now, I'm off again.

Happy Saturday all.


cerno said...

Take it a bit easy on yourself :)

The first couple of times running can be hell. I've found that keeping the pace slower than you'd like helps to build up endurance over time. Mainly because you don't wear yourself out and disrupt the routine of going running regularlly. Pacing yourself can be hard through when at first you cann't keep with people twice your age :)

Might not bring the most immediate hellth benefits. But keeping up the routine over a long period is THE important thing.

Its worked for me. Running is the only postive routine I've been able to hold onto for years. When I first started I thought I'd die after the 1st 20mins.


Gallicissa said...

I too enjoy running. The key as Cerno has suggested is to go slow. Outdoor running doesn't work for me as I quite often get tempted to stop for birds (feathered types).
So what works for me is tredding and I quite enjoy it. Perphaps with your English weather, it mightbe a good idea for you to join a proper gym.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Cerno - Thanks, I'm determined to keep at it, I think it will take quite a lot of discipline.

Gallicissa - As I'm not into birds (feathered) that won't be a problem for me. The advantage of not joining a gym is that I don't have to think about driving there and getting ready, I can just put on my kit and warm up and go. Easy!

Smiley said...

You make me smile! A great start for a Monday morning - thank you.

Damith-TS said...


Mate, it can be hell to start running but once you get the hang of it becomes easier.

The key is defnitely to keep a steady pace when you start off and gradually try to improve your time.

Also it helps to have a regular track you run on. Since you seem to have a general track you run on thats good. It will help you to see the progress you are making with regards to the time.

I jst started running again after about a months lay off and I couldnt do one round on the same track I did 3 rounds before ! But as you go along it will be easier for sure.

The other important thing is to push your self to the maximum limit that you can. Like tell you self "Im gonna make it past that tree somehow.." once you do try to push your self further..its a bit of a mental battle but it helps to push you better your self ..

Hope it helps!


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Damith - Thanks, I'm pushing myself for sure!

Damith-TS said...

Glad to hear it buddy,
Ill add you to my blog roll if you dont mind.

Heres mine if you feel like doing the same