Saturday, 1 June 2013

Once I ran to you. Now I run from you.

Well, readers, the other weekend I did my first race. Yes: I am now a runner. I trot round the streets behind our house for 30 minutes very, very slowly three times a week (my colleague said ‘well, if you’re running in Arbury, at least you’ll learn to run fast’ but I do not listen because actually Arbury is not as bad as people think it is, and the streets behind our house are very nice. The street with our house on isn’t nice, but you can’t have everything.) When I say I run slowly, I am not exaggerating. Today I was overtaken by a woman in a pink anorak with bags of shopping, and often cats wander past me and look at me thoughtfully. Anyway, as I often have more enthusiasm and chutzpah than sense and experience (remind me to tell you about Dan’s and my projected trip to Warsaw!!!) I felt that running along a flat street for 30 mins slower than a woman carrying shopping bags was excellent preparation for fell running. Indeed: I felt that in being able to run for 30 minutes I had so far exceeded my own personal expectations that I might as well enter the Olympics or jump off the University Library and fly to John Lewis, as anything seemed possible.

It was not.

I am going to try to extract a moral from this, readers. I did the race (5 miles with a 600 foot hill) with my brother Dan and his friend J, and our first clue that all might not be well was when we got to the beginning. I was expecting children. I was expecting people dressed as chickens. I was expecting, ooh, I don’t know, a hot dog stand, at least 5 octogenarians, someone with a Labrador wearing a themed jerkin, but no. What we got was a gaggle of sinewy men in lycra and women in team vests stretching their thighs out and running backwards and forwards just for fun. The only person who looked remotely less fit than me was the St John’s Ambulance man. Everybody set off twice as fast as I was used to, and when I came to my first hill I made like a Dalek and kind of gave up. I considered taking a short cut and going to wait for Dan and J in the pub but then I thought, no! I am not a quitter!!! (This is where I always go wrong). So I pushed on and I came last. I mean, I didn’t come last by a tiny bit. I came last by a decent margin (apart from all the people who did not finish or indeed, did not even start).
A hill in Derbyshire. The thing to do is to make sure you don't run up it
So I said to Dan we would do the same race next year but this time I would train and would do something called Fartleks which apparently are nothing like they sound, much like Burpees aren’t and I don’t know why you can’t call exercises something sensible. So Dan said, we could do that. Or, alternatively, we could do this killer half marathon and it would be lots of fun. So now I am doing a really hard half marathon this time next year, I have suckered in my friend too, and Partner is practically considering getting power of attorney to stop me making independent decisions as it is certain that no good can come of any of this. So here is my dilemma. Obviously I should be ashamed that I came last. I should be humiliated. I should give up. But I kind of… am not ashamed. I kind of.. forget about the coming last part and think, I did a 5 mile fell run! Very slowly!! I finished it! I didn’t die! I am a runner! I am amazing! I am going to buy new trainers and a proper sports bra so I don’t have to strap myself down with layers of lycra! I am proud of myself! Even though I have absolutely nothing to be proud of. I even bought myself a reward for finishing my first race. Admire the practicality!
Czech crystal. I am so bad at buying practical things to wear that there are no words. I buy this and then I wear pants with holes in them and have one work cardigan. One!
One more thing (in terms of over-ambitious physical stuff). You may remember, I am competing in the UK Amateur Pole Performer heats this summer (only at beginner level. It will be ok). I am working on my routine, and I have got my song: Marilyn Manson’s cover of Tainted Love. This was my idea for a costume: tell me what you think. I thought I could do a kind of deconstructed punk-burlesque look. So I was thinking a corset like this which is very cheap:

some kind of either short tutu or frilly bloomers:

(I have to have very short bottoms so I have lots of leg flesh exposed to stick to the pole. You see, it’s glamorous), possibly additional feathers around the cleavage, some kind of feathered headband and a great deal of dramatic eye makeup, or, a venetian-type mask if I could see enough to dance:

All deconstructed a bit (bits of ratty lace added? Dyed? Not sure yet).

How does that sound? I’m slightly concerned about my capacity for dancing in a corset: I thought perhaps I could buy it in advance and try it in the comfort of my own home which will finish off the window cleaner if he appears with his Squeegee at the wrong moment but tant pis. And in any case if I collapse through asphyxiation or bang my head on the pole and knock myself out because I can't see in that bit where he goes ‘once I raaaaaan to you. Now I RUUUUUN FROM YOU!!!’ it couldn’t possibly be more embarrassing than the fell run. Except, there might be a YouTube video, though. Wait… O_O


Sharripie said...

Congratulations on your first race! I'm so glad you finished. Finishing is the important thing, placing not so much. I am doing my second sprint triathlon of the season tomorrow - I'm hoping to do it in 90 minutes, but who knows how it will go. What's really exciting is that there was no one entered in my age group in this race last year, so I'm hoping I'm the only one this year. It's my only chance, really.

I like the corset with the short tutu thingy. That competition sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

5 miles is a long long way! Well done for finishing, you did really well. You are definitely a runner. Congratulations are well deserved :)

I also love the tutu thingummy, and the venetian masque is perfect for a bit of intrigue. Good luck with the competition.

Sarah said...

Oh many congratulations, the mere thought of running slowly on a flat street is enough to make me reach for the biscuit tin.

The Foggy Knitter said...

Well at least you can't say your life is dull? And good onya for finishing.

Vivianne said...

You started - and finished - a 5 mile mountain hike ?? I am SO impressed. I only ever watch things like that on the telly, I didn't realize I knew a real person who did it :-)

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

Hey lady! well done on the race. I recently took up running (slowly) a couple of months ago, but then enjoyed it so much I overdid it and injured my knee! All is fine now but I'm having to start again from th beginning.

I love love LOVE Marilyn Manson, great song choice. Outfits look fab. Or you could go for a rabbit onesie like the video? Maybe not :D

Rachel said...

I am very impressed that you completed the fell run. Really... more than impressed. Well done!

As for the outfit - I'd have doubts about dancing in a corset, too. In fact, that was my first thought when I saw the photo. I wore a corset on my wedding day (under the dress. It was the only thing that would hoik my boobs up by the two inches necessary to line up with the dress because the stupid dressmaker took no vertical measurements, but I digress) and when it came to the barn dance I had no breath for dancing, until a helpful relative took me away for underwear adjustments. So, corset not advisable unless it doesn't actually hold you in but just looks like it does. And the mask... well, if I was going to pole dance in public, I'd want to be wearing a mask, but don't let me project my insecurities onto you.