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Dick running motivation

Some of you runners and/or Guardian readers might already have come across this, but it’s worth a share if you haven’t. Claire Wyckoff, a runner based in San Francisco, makes her runs all the more inviting, motivating and special by using her Nike+ to map out interesting routes. What’s new about this? you might ask.

Her routes are penises, dogs and generally cool shapes. Space invaders, anyone? I can imagine there’s nothing like knowing you’re rounding the curve of a penis to push you that bit further and get to the sweaty balls to finish your run.

Some of us invest time in searching for new kit, new gadgets, new training programmes. Isn’t this just plain silliness, mapping out weird and wonderful shapes? I would disagree. While the latest scarily pink head band might get some out there exercising, this gets Claire out there. Fun and fitness in one fell swoop, with a little bit of gadgetry art thrown in for good measure. I’m all for it. Go plan a penis.

Picture from Claire Wyckoff – see more of Claire’s running art work on her website:

Or read the full Guardian article here:


Music to my ears

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been running for some time without music. This wasn’t always the case. Every run (apart from M&MRC runs with Maria) I’d be plugged in to my iPod. I even went as far as to have music and that woman from Nike+ talking to me during marathon training. But then my Nike+ died after the full 26.2 miles and I think the loss might have affected my iPod. It started out on its own long, drawn out death as well.

That was 4 years ago. I tried using my iPod again during training for Cruce de los Andes last year, but then I figured that I wasn’t going to be plugged in while slogging it up a volcano with Maria and running in a very cold lake (which isn’t actually possible to do). It also turned out that my iPod was down to lasting about 34 minutes. It had become a 4-mile iPod and my runs were getting longer than that. It was shelved.

It has still moved everywhere with me and during this recent running hiatus while my heel heals (doctor’s appointment pending), it’s made another appearance. Instead of running, I’ve been walking; still taking advantage of the ups and downs this city has to offer, along with its shady and quiet parks. What happiness it is to stride out listening to those old tunes again.

On Monday’s walk, it got me thinking. Each song on my iPod (367 in total) has been there since 2006 when I moved to Buenos Aires. All those runs and training I did with the same voices, tunes, messages. And even now, I can hear a song from my iPod and know exactly where I was running when I listened to it on a run in Buenos Aires: moments in all those miles I did back in Argentina. I’m not joking.

Nelly and Kelly Rowland, Dilema: Running past the yacht club in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires.

Counting Crows, American Girls: Running into the Reserva Ecológica, Buenos Aires.

Shakira, Illegal: Running towards Avenida 9 de Julio along Calle Arenales, Buenos Aires.

Michael Jackson, Billy Jean: Crossing the bridge near the Floating Casino, Buenos Aires.

The Nike Human Race 2008

The Nike Human Race 2008

They say that smell is a powerful sense. One whiff can take us back decades. As my iPod’s power wanes to just four songs before going silent, I’m grateful that in even those 15 minutes, whatever comes on takes me back to a place where I did some of my favourite runs.

And where M&MRC was born.

Looking the part

Another week has flown by and we are another 7 days closer to waking up in our tent, having breakfast, packing peanut butter sandwiches and heading out into the unknown; known as El Cruce 2012.

This week, I’ve been taking a look at my gear and what else I might need out there. Maria has filled our first aid kit with all kinds of delights. And we have both succumbed to buying new running packs. We can now carry enough peanut butter sandwiches for an entire travelling circus, elephants included.

Anyway, here in London, I have one pair of running pants and one pair of running shorts. They are both over 4 years old (good ‘ol Nike) and serve me well. But kit for 3 days on the trot; kit which might have to be changed due to volcano ash/being wet/temperature changes – delete as appropriate – I don’t have. At least it’s January and the sales are on.

Maria and I maintain we are not the freaky type of runners, and I have realised this week that kit comes into this. I wanted some long running socks. You can get a pair for £38. I imagine quality comes as standard, but £38 for a pair of socks?

The same goes for all other manner of clothing and kit. Running packs for £160; capri pants for £70; vests for £40! I am in Runner’s World magazine (UK) this month in an article called Why I Run and my reason was that it’s for everyone. All you need is  a pair of trainers and off you go; fast or slow, it doesn’t matter. Wearing head to toe elite running gear, or a Garfield t-shirt and pyjama shorts, it doesn’t matter. You’re still a runner.

So, I bought a couple more items for my running wardrobe. By the time they arrive I won’t have been able to do a long run in any of them (you’re starting to see we’re not the freaky types, aren’t you?) but it’s exciting anyway. Why? Because just by having a bit of extra gear, I feel like a more serious runner. If I look the part, surely I’ll be the part?

Or, more to the point, if I look the part, at least I will feel the part?

Don’t worry, I’m not naive enough to believe that a pair of incredible capri pants will get me up those volcanos and mountains. But I think there’s something in the boost you can get from a new suit/dress/overpriced pair of running socks.    

 This week I also got our team flags for us: one British and one American.  It seems you can also look the part, in the right colours, for the bargain price of £3.50.