My name is Lee and I am not a runner.
It’s almost an admission of guilt these days. I mean I own a lot of trainers: for trails, road and the gym. I have shorts and various items of compression clothing which are supposed to aid blood flow and recovery. I own a foam roller which goes by the name of Master of Muscle and is an item of torture. I recently bought a very nice Suunto watch (I blame the watch for this post) which tracks distance, elevation and heart rate and allows me to read my text messages in a James Bond fashion. It even tells the time. But I am not a runner.
I have let my fitness go over the years. This culminated in last night’s run with the inevitable data analysis on the aforementioned Suunto. And the feeling of sickness for hours after.
In June I will run the Edinburgh Seven Hills race. It’s 14 miles(ish) with lots of hills. I’ll probably cry. I needed to give myself a target. Naturally between now and then I plan to train. Of course, there are always other things I could do instead. In order to shame myself off the sofa and get myself in shape I am letting it all hang out publicly (metaphorically speaking, of course). The image above are my stats from last night’s run.
Several things are probably true about the running stats. It’s not that slow in the grand scheme of things. I get that. It’s just that it feels like I can’t run the length of myself at the moment and is way slower than my previous 5k training times (by about five minutes). The route, which I use as a benchmark route, has a big hill in the middle. It’s a bastard. Finally, my heart rate should not peak at 197. That’s akin to the Alien chestburster scene.
At the start of June I’ll run the same benchmark route to see if I’ve improved and will post the results here. If I don’t train this will be a very public failure, there will be no noticeable gains and I’ll likely vomit. Probably no-one will care. There’s a high chance that no-one is reading this blog anyway.
To give you a bit of a background to my patchwork running history here are six random facts.
Fact #1: I used to be a runner
I used to be a runner. At school I was moderately fast over a short distance (sub-11 seconds for the 100 metres). I once completed the Basic Fitness Test when I was 19 years old (military fitness test where soldiers run 1.5 miles squadded before being timed over another 1.5 miles at their best individual effort) in 7 minutes 16 seconds at my Physical Training Instructor selection. I wasn’t even first. Or second. Eighth! The guy who won it was a Welsh member of 21 SAS. He later dislocated a guy’s shoulder doing the hand slap push up game. I can still remember his name twenty years later.
Fact #2: Resting on my laurels
I have massively rested on my fitness laurels for most my adult life. There is a perception that I am fit due to the job and activities I now do for Breaking Strain. In truth I am a fat, lazy guy in a lucky-genetic body. However, even the genes aren’t helping anymore. With the rapid approach to 40 I seem to have developed the enviable position of being skat (skinny-fat).
Fact #3: Training is hard
I have never run-trained properly since I was at school. I have been lucky in that my metabolism has been screamingly high and I have a decent base fitness level. Garry Mac is a phenomenal trainer which is why he’s a far better runner. Running and training is ‘Type 2 Fun’ for me. I love retrospectively being out doing the activity, recognise the physiological, cognitive and emotional benefits but I struggle getting out the door in the first instance (I know I’m not unique in this).
Fact #4: Eat my dirt
On my first marathon in Edinburgh, I was beaten by two very lovely, yet slightly overweight 70 year old women. And a guy dressed as Captain America (carrying the shield. Which was made of wood).
Fact #5: I fall on my face a lot
I like running downhill. Fast. Garry Mac describes it as ‘falling with style’. I have a casual disregard for my face.
Fact #6: I am not a runner
My walking fitness is actually ok but my running speed is as slow as a week in the jail (with the exception where it is aided by gravity, see above). I blame the years dragging a pulk in the Arctic, moving slowly for hours in the snow and eating my body-weight in Haribo. And beef Monster Munch.
If you’re in a similar position where you struggle to get motivated why not create a goal by signing up to a race, like Run the Blades.