Run until my legs fall off


Ten years ago, when I was young and fit (ten years younger at any rate) I ran 13 and a bit miles along some jolly Newcastle roads with a few other crazy people in the Great North Run, and had three distinct thoughts when I crossed the finish line.

They were – in quick succession, and this order:

  • Never again. Ever.
  • This is half way in a marathon? Never doing THAT! EVER!
  • I think I’ll train more next year.

The next year didn’t happen, as I managed to get lightly toasted and fall down a flight of stairs while in Tucson, celebrating the end of a week of competitive ad league softball, and break my ankle several weeks before.

And the year after that I was about to drop baby number 1 just before the great north run, so applying to run was generally frowned upon.

And so, I find myself – ten years later – having not run a half marathon since that day in Newcastle – training for my second half marathon, which is taking place in exactly one week.

Fortunately, it’s not the Great North Run this time, as that’s 9 hours to the north, and the traffic leaving is somewhat reminiscent of throwing out time at Legoland. When we ran last time we ended up abandoning our car and finding a B&B to stay the night in, since we simply couldn’t leave the outskirts of town, such was the crush of people attempting to escape leave.

This time I am running in the Royal Park’s half marathon in London, and despite my third thought when I finished that first half marathon, I don’t think I’ve successfully trained as much as I should have.

There are two good reasons for this, and both of them are small girls. Well, plus the difficulty of fitting running in around work, school holidays, a cold, and boredom.

Boredom is a big part of it. I think running is quite boring.

I’ve discovered that running with a podcast is a good way to make the whole thing more enjoyable. And I’ve also discovered that having a running app on your phone is a useful motivator, as you can see when you’re getting faster.

The only problem with that is that I only have one shirt that has a pocket that my iphone will fit in, and it has long sleeves, so it can get a bit hot. And I don’t have an armband to hold my iphone.

I tried to find an alternate method of carrying the phone during one run, and thought that wrapping it in cling film and then stuffing it down the front of my pants would hold it wedged on the front of my stomach. That was the theory.

Theory and practice turned out to be two very different things however, as the phone gradually bounced itself down further and further until it came to rest in a certain place, at which point it stopped migrating down. 

Had it gone any further, then it would have been the first iphone to turn into an ipad that ever existed.

I aborted that run very quickly. There is nothing less condusive to good running than having your phone bounce up and down on your lady parts as you do it. No matter what you might think. 

So an armband has now been procured from Decathlon, in readyness for the race next week. My phone can now accompany me safely, track my route via GPS, and deliver Chris Moyle’s podcasts into my ears for entertainment.

Or I might rethink the whole Chris Moyles thing, as recently I’ve found his podcasts a bit too funny, and running and laughing out loud aren’t exactly made for each other either. It’s especially dangerous to run past Kelsey Boys School students while snorting.

As long as I have something interesting to keep me entertained while my legs pound the ashfelt for two and a half hours. I don’t care what it is. I do know that the race will provide a lot more visual stimulus that running past the canada geese in Kelsey park does.

The armband might be a bit annoying, but I think it’s worth it. Apart from the Nike app, I also like the fact that at the end of the race I’ll have a phone on me. Because no matter where you agree to meet your other half, I can guarantee that with MY other half, things will go wrong.

We both ran in the Great North run way back then, and as expected, he finished ahead of me. But instead of going to the H meeting point as we’d agreed, he decided to go to the finish line and watch me finish the race. 

The trouble with this idea was that as he was walking back to the finish line I had already finished, so he didn’t see me at all. I went to the agreed meeting point and waited. And waited. For 45 minutes. No sign of my husband.

By then I was getting pretty panicky. I knew he had problems with his knee, so I presumed something had gone wrong. I went to the announcements area and asked them to check the medical tents, but he wasn’t listed. I then went and checked the medical tents myself, in case their lists were wrong, but he wasn’t there. I returned to the announcement tent and they rang the hospitals. He wasn’t in any of them. I’m now in a complete lather of anxiety.

They announced his name over the tannoy several times between our hospital calls, but he didn’t turn up. The reason he didn’t turn up after they announced him was because he’d gone to our car – in a campsite down the road – to get his phone (despite the fact I didn’t have one) and didn’t hear the announcement. 

Eventually they announced him again, and he heard it, and arrived where I was. I was a total mess by this stage. It was nearly 3 hours since I’d finished the race before we were reunited.

All because he was a typical man, and didn’t stick to the plan.

So, one week from now, I’ll have my phone so that I can call him if he fails to show up at the meeting point after the race. Of course, he’ll probably have lost his phone, turned it off, or given it to some tramp he ran by.

So if all goes well, my legs won’t give out half way through, and I’ll find my husband when I finish. I think that’s all I can really ask for!

I am pretty sure it will be fine, and if not – I can always phone a rickshaw.

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