Friday, 18 July 2014

Run Like a Girl

I don't 'do' running.  I never have.  Walking on the other hand ... 'LOVE'.  As described in previous blog posts, I walk every morning with my doggie Hudson.  Initially the walks were more about him getting a good start to the day, but now, it's more of a mutually beneficial thing, with a good dose of exercise for me.  I don't listen to music.  I just like taking in the daily changes in the hedgerow and taking in the countryside waking up.

I have thought about developing my walking into a run.  I didn't think that I would enjoy it. Mostly it's because I thought that I'd look and feel like a feckin' eejit.  I'm not a natural athlete and am built more like a Shetland pony than a race horse.  If truth were told, I'd like to look like Lola in 'Run Lola Run' when I pick up speed.  She looks so goddamn cool.  But is it her funky hair, or how fab she looks in those jeans that I really yearn for ?

In the recent viral video advertisement, 'Like a Girl', I seen how I imagined myself running - the flippy, flappy hapless girl, with arms and legs everywhere.

I felt a bit guilty.  I had pigeon holed myself into a self image that I didn't want my little girl to have.  Although she has a physique like me, she is a strong runner.  Lately she told me that she was a 'tom boy' (also noting that her mammy is a girlie girl).  I was kind of horrified.  I asked her could she not just be 'a girl' ?  I didn't feel so bad when Leon, her twin brother, decided that he was a tomboy too.

Between myself and yourself, there is a little bit more to me and the running malarky.   This is going to sound ridiculous, but since I was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago, I'm a bit protective of my wee brain.  I'm afraid of causing damage and maybe creating more lesions.  See, I told you, ridiculous.  There is no neurological evidence of danger (no more than your average person anyway), but I tend to avoid things like bouncy castles and swinging the kids around.  Running was on the no-no list too.

It came as a bit of a shock to me therefore, that I accidentally ended up running a 5km Pop Up Race, along the banks of the River Barrow in Athy this week.  It was the fault of the French student, Maelys, who is staying with us for two weeks.  She wanted to do the run, so I said that myself  and the children would go along and maybe walk the route.  It was a very professional set up.  All runners were registered and got a chipped number badge that would record your time.  I was reluctant to take one, as I felt that the kids wouldn't last the 5km in the heat.

Anyway, I registered.  Then we met friends, who were watching their mam run.  The daddy offered to mind the kids, so I could do the run by myself.  Flip.  Panic set in.  I had no excuse.  Looking around at all of the runners with their athletic legs wearing their go faster sports gear.  Some of them had just completed a swim in the Barrow.  I could never compete with these guys !!

I was still wearing my work clothes, but at least I had a decent pair of runners. Feck it.  What did I have to loose ...  I thought to myself that I would walk the route, but before you know it, there I was, with one leg moving in front of the other, kinda fast.  I was RUNNING !  I paced myself and walked for a while when I needed to catch my breathe.

I was sorry that I didn't have a bottle of water.  I was raging that I was wearing THAT bra.  The facing on the collar of my dress kept flapping up on my neck and driving me crazy.  I didn't realise that I had my sunglasses on my head at the start of the race, but by the end of it, they felt heavy - I felt like firing them in the river.  At least I had removed my ceramic/wire/ribbon necklace, or myself or the other competitors could have lost an eye.

Despite all of that - I  REALLY enjoyed it.  It was a different feeling that walking.  The adrenaline was pumping and it felt good.   I instantly felt like running some more.  I can't believe I'm saying this myself ... An outsider looking in (me until my initiation this week) would have thought that it was an exclusive club, but there was a great sense of us 'all being in this thing together'.  There was no judgement about ability or speed.  Of course, many very fit people were there to better their personal bests, or to fit in with their exercise regime.  But there was room for us all.  I did the 5km in 39:55.  Not bad, all things considering !

I decided I would give running a go the next morning, with my mutt.  But only on parts of the road where I wasn't passing people's houses.  I had an ear out for oncoming cars too.  You would think that I would have learned from my lack of preparation with the running wardrobe the previous night, but no.  I was wearing my much loved boyfriend jeans.  Great with a pair of navy patent heels, but a disaster when you pick up speed and they slouch off your hips.

This weekend, I'm going to buy some go-faster running gear.  And hopefully I will run like a different kinda girl.

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