Monthly Archives: January 2014

Heading to the heat

In 40 hours, it will be upon me. It will cover me, press into me so I don’t know where it finishes and I begin. I will be lightheaded with relief and joy. It will keep me awake; I will dream of it. It will tear me apart and keep me together.

I will return to Buenos Aires.

It’s been over a year since my last run there (with Maria, the morning of my wedding) and as I pack too many clothes for what will be a shorts and bikinis trip, I think back to that run and what it means to run in Buenos Aires.

Part of the Nike 10km Red River, 2009

Part of the Nike 10km Red River, 2009

Firstly, it’s where M&MRC started. Its streets gave us the confidence to dare to dream of 26.2 miles. Its crazy weather: heat, humidity, storms, rains that turns streets into rivers, wind born in Patagonia made us almost crazy ourselves. The sheer number of fun runs and charity runs offered M&MRC the chance to be part of many coloured, bobbing masses.

There will be sweat and I am most looking forward to it. The tingling sting of skin warmed by the sun and its own sweat; the salt patterning down my shins; the dive into the cool pool post-run and the extra beat your heart gives you: you are alive.

Of course, all my in-laws and friends will think I am mad. They will look at me as if going for a run in the humidity that sits around them is confirmation of what a nutter I am. They will offer me iced-water on my return, my limbs glistening with perspiration, my eye-lashes holding back the salty-drips running into my eyes. They will say well done and not really know why.

But I will. Buenos Aires, here I come.P1060156

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The first 5 miles

Happy New Year Runners, Readers, Adventurers! May 2014 be the best running year ever!

Today I went for my first 5 miles of 2014. No biggie, except I’ve only really been running 4, 4-and-a-bit miles over the last few months as I persuaded my legs and feet to not be injured or hurt (if you run, you know that that ‘bit’ is very important). So, actually, it was quite big for me.

You can tell it was on my mind because I planned it in a way I haven’t been planning my runs. For a start, I mapped it out last night. Secondly, I took a timer with me. Since last summer I haven’t timed any of my runs. I have ideas on how runs have gone based on my own very scientific methods. These include:

  • Number of songs which have played on my iPod during the run
  • How many other runners/dog walkers/people sitting on benches I have overtaken
  • If I am beating a boat on the river or not
  • Whether I am really knackered at the end of it
  • If I feel like I am running backwards with concrete legs or not
  • The thought, once inside of course, of if I could possibly have continued for another 22 miles

The sun was shining, the swans were swimming. I know there’s supposed to be ice all over northern America and people in Florida are wearing jumpers, but over here it’s been delightful. I ran in a gorgeous 13 degrees today. I had to remind myself it was January.

My route was a there-and-back affair along the Sauer river. This is the smaller river with no boats on it, so good job, really, I took a timing device with me. I overtook an old man running as we went up the ramp to the bridge section. He ran with straight arms by his sides, and this distracted me enough (I tried it for a few strides to crap effect) to get me to mile one. I checked the timer. 8 minutes 20 seconds. I frowned. I couldn’t be going that fast.

The next three miles were all about the bends. The river snakes and curves and the path follows, meandering through vineyards. A strong breeze blew from the east in this section. There was a burning smell in the air. The sun beat down and I opened my jacket half way. Another woman runner passed me going the other way. I passed another up ahead. So many runners out and about! I reminded myself it was January. There are always lots of runners on the streets in January.

At the turn I checked the timer again. 21 minutes 40 seconds. I had had 45 minutes in my mind (scientific mind) and this looked good. I felt good. Maybe the timer was working after all. Maybe my legs were working after all. I forgot how many songs I was on.

Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana came on. I love running to this song. There’s something about it. I love the ultimate verse when Diana shouts to his girlfriend, “Because he’s sleeping with me!” It just makes me forget running and imagine the situation. Mile four was mainly taken up by Michael Jackson. Which is fine with me and my legs.

At the last mile marker, I checked it again. 34 minutes 40 seconds. The number 43 started to become a possibility. But only in my head. My legs were thinking 50. They were tired from all the squats I’d done the previous day. They were saying to me, “Hey, we usually stop about now.” I understood, I did, but I willed them on. I passed two more runners in that final mile. Luckily, they got me through it as they seemed to be January-Runners-Who-Suffer-Because-They-Don’t-Run-For-The-Other-Eleven-Months-Of-The-Year (scientific term). And I passed them scoffing and hoping they didn’t notice it was bravado.

I rounded the corner onto my street. People were standing in the sun watching the ferry. Ducks were hovering, hoping for food. I dug in. It hurt. My legs hurt. My lungs could have gone all day, but my legs were tired. I dived for my finishing lamp-post and clicked off the timer. 43 minutes 3 seconds. Hoorah.

I like surprises. I like good tunes that play on shuffle when you’re running and give you a boost. I like warm weather when you’re expecting frostiness. I like remembering I have lucky orange running socks to wear.

And I love surprising myself by running faster than I thought I was. Scientifically speaking, of course.