It is nearly June and it is time for preparing for Great North Run. The “preparation pack” from your favourite charity has just dropped through the letter box. You thought it was a terrific idea at the time when your friend insisted that you are fit enough to do the run. You had seen men and women of all sizes and shapes trying to get fit for the Great North Run.
‘It is only half marathon’ she said!
‘It is a piece of cake. It is like a walk in the park’ she said!
After a fifteen minute run, this morning, you are feeling that your legs don’t belong to you. Your heads are pounding! Your knees feel wobbly. And you know you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. You are dreading to go to work tomorrow. You don’t want to fall flat on your face about 100 metres from the Start line!
You don’t run for next few days dreading the pain after running. You begin to think you will never be able to make it this year. You start to wonder if it is possible to withdraw your entry into the marathon. May be someone else will take your place? You then decide that best to train early in the morning before brain had time to figure out what is happening.
You search the internet for hours trying to find tips for marathon runners. There are hundreds of pages selling you all sorts of gimmicks to get you through the marathon without pain. After buying half a dozen of these you suddenly realise all that has happened is that your purse is lighter, but you are no more fitter. You are still struggling after 20 minutes.
You stop ‘training’ for another two weeks. This is a mug’s game. Only fools do it. You think. You meet your friend in the pub on the night and she is enthusing;
‘How is your training? I did 10 miles yesterday, and I feel great. It is so exhilarating. It gets the cobwebs off your brain doesn’t it?’
“Exhilarating” was not the word you are looking for. You feel sick and want to throttle her. It is a public place, you know you want be able to get away with it. Judges are finicky about throttling silly people. No, you cannot argue “self defence” as you are not actually defending anything. Defending your reputation is not the same. There must be a law against such “fitness fanatics”. You wonder if you can get the charming man, who claimed to work for CIA you met on the way to Majorca, to do a “Rendition” on her and make her disappear? Where was the visiting card he gave you? I don’t think CIA would consider your request as part of “providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers”, despite what you see in the movies.
You suddenly remember all those “performance enhancing drugs” some athletes had been caught with. You wonder if you can start taking these steroids and mask it with something. You had heard of some obscure African medicine, which would mask the steroids in urine. You wonder if you can ask that lovely African girl from typing pool to get you some. I don’t think steroids will help you train better. How are you going to explain the new moustache and muscles?
Your neighbour tells you of the new “Runners shop” in town. She is terribly enthusiastic about the shop and shows off her new running shoes. You feel jealous.
‘They have all these new fancy gadgets; they measured my gait and running style. They measured my feet, and this delightful young man fitted me with this running shoe. He gave me several tips and my running is getting better now.’
You forget to notice that she was wearing the new running shoes with full make up on, her new Lycra running shorts and on her way to the “Runners shop” again!
Maybe it is worth a visit to that shop at least to see this “delightful young man” you think.
You start to wonder if there is any other way of coming through this marathon without getting embarrassed. You remember all those tricks by Dick Dastardly in Wacky Races. No, I don’t think you can get volunteers to post detour signs to get the runners going in the wrong direction! The Race Marshalls are highly particular about what you do during the run.
The distance differs for different people and there is not a lot you can do about it apart from take your time and drink plenty of fluids. What about that Cherry Juice everyone is talking about? You ask. It is likely you will get stomach cramps if you drink such a heavy drink during the race. It is better to drink sugared water or clear water during the race to get your energy boost.
The trip to the “Runners Shop was useful. You are now fully kitted out with new Lycra shorts, running shoes. New earphones which won’t slip out while running, new sweat band for forehead and wrists and a new pair of Oakley’s “specially made for running”.
Well, if that did not put you off running the Half Marathon, up in Newcastle in September, here is the only tip to all those crazy people who are intent on damaging their knees with marathon running, which has the remotest chance of helping you –
You should start drinking two glasses of pure cherry juice a week before the race and continue drinking for a couple of days afterwards. Drinking 12 to 16 oz per day during training days will stop muscle damage and speeds up muscle recovery for the Marathon itself. For those of you who are calorie conscious, it is about 200 to 260 calories extra. That is equivalent of running for 30 minutes at a pace of 8 km per hour.
Best of Luck to all those crazy runners who are still intent on getting an expression like this winner!