In my 33 years on this planet I’ve run two marathons. My first was at Gold Coast in 2007, my second was in Berlin, Germany last year. This has led some of my colleagues to be misinformed into thinking I’m a marathon-er.
A marathon-er runs constantly through the year, running marathons whenever it takes their fancy. They are always in marathon shape, and at any time can prove they can run 42.2km. This person is not me. I have not run seriously for nearly a year. I have had episodes on the treadmill where I run til I’m bored, and I always walk away thinking I could go a lot further if I wanted. Truth be told, I have huge lapses in my running where my fitness is shot. I found this morning that I’m really not that fit, or that good a runner, I think my ability to continue to run distances is just on account of being stubborn.
I could probably count on one hand the number of outdoor runs I’ve had in the last year. The most recent was while on holidays in Tasmania I managed a pleasant 10 kilometre run along their newly created walking path. Today I managed another with the Dubai Creek Striders, but it was a definite struggle. It was the same distance as my Tassie run a few weeks ago, however even with three drink stops the temperature and humidity made if feel honestly like twice the distance. NB: although it’s currently Ramadan, we do have drink along the way, we just make sure we’re discrete.
When you’re out of shape and running there are voices in your head doubting your ability, telling you to quit. They’re difficult to ignore, but perhaps you should not. It is these same voices that can lead you to even better results when you’re on top of your game. Telling you to stop and that you’re no good can be fantastic motivators.
For today’s run I arrived at the meeting point earlier than normal, and there were already a dozen or so cars there but no runners. This is a tell-tale sign that a large part of the squad are putting in some big kilometres preparing for a marathon. I was in a little bit of a panic when I saw this. I wondered to myself were all these people already doing the more than 20km training runs in preparation for Dubai marathon in January – the same Dubai marathon in January I’ve come out of storage to complete? Oh, bugger, my first thoughts were I must be way behind on my training – I assumed four months (if I start today and stick to it) would be adequate.
Later I learned off someone that a large number of the group are training for the Athens marathon which is in October, which was a big relief. The Athens marathon has a lot of interest this year, as it’s the 2,500th anniversary of the original 42km run which all of us nutters now replicate to challenge ourselves in the alleged name of fun and fitness. For those who don’t know the story, a messenger called Pheidippides was sent from a battlefield in Marathon to send word back to Athens that the Greek army had an unlikely victory over the Persians. He made the 26 mile journey to deliver the message with one word Niki! (victory) before dying. A lot of runners have some romanticism about the concept, and even that original course he followed. Maybe one day we’ll find on snopes.com it was just an email hoax we lapped up. Having said that it is a run I’d like to do it one day.
In a word, the run today was tough. We had one hard stretch where we had to run toward Dubai’s extremely large flag pole, which was a little offputting to think we weren’t getting any closer as its height was not changing – but again it was just my mind playing tricks on me. The pole and flag were once the tallest/largest in the world – but each new request for a taller flag pole makes this a fast-changing record.
I drove home after the running feeling a little dehydrafted. If only there was a way to process the weight of sweat I was carrying in my clothes. I didn’t risk taking a drink. On the drive back along Sheikh Zayed Road, only southbound traffic (my direction) was moving. I saw the cause for the delays, the entire six lanes were blocked by Police, and out in front there was a movie or a commercial being filmed. Seemed like maybe a car chase video, as there were big boom cameras fitted on top of a Range Rover following maybe a sports car. The traffic was banked up at least 3-4 kilometres. Although after coming from my harrowing run, maybe my perspective was skewed – it could have been 200-300metres. There’s never much sympathy for other people being stuck in traffic, it’s just so great that it’s not yourself.
Soon after I got back home I soothed my muscles with a nice relaxing swim. So I only have a bicycle leg to finish to complete a triathlon today. But instead I have decided to lie on the couch and read.