I am not a runner. I do not gracefully traverse this earth. Rather, I lope across it like a teenage elephant. I am not even built to be a runner, in case you hadn’t noticed. I am not exactly in possession of a lithe form, designed to cut through the air like a blade. Rather my big bones and big boobs keep me in pretty close proximity to the ground at all times – no prancing around the running track for me (again, it tends to be more of a loping action). I am not a runner, and yet, I run. What the hell is that all about?
Despite not being a runner, I’ve tried to run my whole life. A couple of times I even got pretty good at it, running 5km comfortably, without stopping. This might not sound like much to you, but that’s my personal best, right there. I’m not even going to talk to you about “times”, because who gives a shit how long it takes me to run it. I’m just flabbergasted and amazed whenever I’m able to do it at all. Because, don’t forget, I am not a runner. A few years ago, I tried to rise above my station and started training towards 10km. I injured myself on the third day and didn’t run for months afterwards. I now happily accept that 5km is my limit. And I’m OK with that.
Until recently, I hadn’t run in a very long time. Last year was not a good year for my body. I suffered intermittent lower back pain, piriformis syndrome (butt cheek pain) and totally fucked up hip flexors. My entire pelvic area was a mess. And on top of that, in January 2017, I had a bit of a skiing mishap and tore a couple of ligaments in my left knee pretty darn good. It took six months for me just to be able to walk any distance without limping. Running was completely out of the question. And by the time all my hard work and physio started paying off, and my knee was in good enough shape to run, it was the middle of summer and the idea of running in 47°C sort of made me want to vomit. And then, when the weather started cooling down, I was so goddamn unfit from the lack of exercise all year that the idea of running made me want to vomit even more. I was so unfit, that walking just 100 metres left me short of breath. I was a disgrace.
So when we got back from our trip to Australia in early December last year, I made the decision to start exercising again. We are lucky enough to have a 2.7km running track out the back of our apartment building and I was planning on just starting off with some gentle walking. You know, just ease on into it. But then I saw an advertisement for the 2018 Dubai Marathon and noticed that they also had a 4km Fun Run event. I signed up before I even had time to think about it. And certainly before I had time to change my mind. The next day, I started running. It was 5th December 2017.
Ostensibly I had 52 days to train up from zero to four kilometres. In reality I had a very busy work roster, a four day trip to Bangkok and a sixteen day trip to Japan to work around. In the two months between signing up and actually running the race, I was only able to do eleven days of an eight week interval training programme. Not a very auspicious lead up. But still, I was determined. And two days before the race I actually ran my first 3km without stopping. Yay! I was good to go!
So, on Friday, 26th January 2018 I took part in the Standard Chartered 2018 Dubai Marathon. I ran the 4km Fun Run, stopping only twice. Once to ask a distressed looking kid by the side of the road if he was OK (he was fine, just freaking out about losing his headphones), and then again with about a kilometre to go, in order to stretch my lower back for about 15 seconds. I didn’t want to stop, but I figured that stopping to stretch and being able to finish without an injury would be better than powering through and fucking up my back even more. I do not need to be an overachiever. 😉
Here are some photos of the day.