I have finally graduated to running more than 10kms in a row!, and on my longer run this week I felt like I was starting to move with some respectability in my non-runners body. That was until I detoured into Centennial Park. ‘Centen’ is the Mecca of city based distance runners and weekend battlers alike, and I was busy daydreaming of being able to run efficiently for laps on end when a group of clearly competent runners came into view. Actually, it was more like a pack of ribs in crop tops trotting along like a herd of startled gazelle, all sharp elbows and nobly knees. A few moments later their male counter parts bounded past with fewer crop tops but even more rib on display, running as if being harried by hungry lions.
Continuing with the animal analogies, it was at about this point I felt like a pygmy hippopotamus wearing a pair of Dunlop volleys and a velour tracksuit. I wanted to yell out ‘hey, you should see me with a pram… that’s when I’m really moving! And I’m only wearing these long leggings because they are the ubiquitous uniform of mums around the globe!’ I started to wonder, to be a good runner do you need to run shirtless in tiny shorts with fluorescent shoes? Who knew that as well as increasing km’s and finessing stride length, that to become a good runner you had to gradually reduce your items of clothing AND maintain concern about high visibility?
On closer inspection though, it looks as though while most of your clothing is shrinking, your socks should get longer. I have observed a definite propensity for distance runners to wear long socks. The knee high 1980’s basketball come Holly-Hobby variety. Are they cold? Do they need protection from grass burrs in these wild urban environments? Are their calves so fragile that they need compressive support? Do they think it makes them look more lithe and speedy? I am yet to find out but I think I should definitely get some.
It’s now half way through this 1 year, a 1 year old ,and the North Face challenge. How did those last 6 months of pram rambling go so quickly? Happily I am finally into double figures on both the KM and the skinfold fronts. I made it a whopping 14km on Saturday morning – and then hobbled around with adductor tenderness for the rest of the weekend. My skin folds have also cracked two digits – in bingo terms I am at two fat ladies – 88 (…. or maybe just one).
A physio has suggested that I need to strengthen my adductors to minimize my osteitis pubis like soreness after a run. Lucky for me, my husband is a qualified Strength & Conditioner I assumed he would be able to assist with exercise prescription. Time to reconsider; I asked him the name of the rarely used machine in the far corner of the gym- apparently it’s designed for adductors? I explained that you sort of straddle to sit on it with legs akimbo, and then bring your knees together against a resistance. He responded with ‘ummm……the good girl- bad girl machine?’ I reminded him I was trying to become a better runner and not a pole dancer.
So, at the half way mark I have learned you need the following to run well and run a long way (or at least look like you can);
- Crop top with skin on display (once your ribs are sticking out like a drover’s dogs)
- Strong good girl/bad girl muscles
- Long socks
- A hunted expression (or cool sunnies so no one can see your fear)
- Minimal clothing (see point 1)…. Avert your eyes people, this could be alarming.
So what does the next 6 months have in store, apart from a foray into minimalistic running attire and high socking? Building more kms, which I am actually looking forward to, and more runs out of my urban comfort zone. It’s time to leave the pram at home and actually get out on some trails. Additionally, the ever witty but encouraging Mr Byrne suggested that the 26ker version of the Buffallo Stampede held in April 2015 might be a good ‘warm-up’ for the North Face in May. Not sure why I said yes but I have, all the talk of High Country and impressive mountain views was too enticing a challenge. Better get those long socks ready…
Olympian, World Champion, Motivational Speaker, Mum of a 6 month old, Aspiring North Face finisher.