I ran the 5K, starting behind the lads in their football shirts. As the flag lowered, off they raced up the hill, looking across to check that they were ahead of their mates. Then in turn, each boy heard the light footfalls of someone approaching from behind. They glanced back, concerned that a friend was about to overtake. Panic! Not a mate, it was an old lady.
Dr Danny Longman's research suggests that the speed of male distance runners signals "reproductive potential". Here's why even non-running women might want to visit the London Marathon Route this Sunday.
A male-only race might be accused of being discriminatory, but we women seem able to get away with excluding the men. Except our menfolk don't exclude themselves. They turn up in drag, bundle kids into warm clothing, pull out their cameras and come along to cheer support.
Three months into my gym membership and I still haven’t plucked up the courage to go to the weights arena. It’s just on the left, in a little off-shoot from the main concourse. There’s no major grunting or clanging from its bubble. It’s never crowded. The gentle waft of stale sweat and rubber isn’t too strong. However, it’s the territory of another tribe. A tribe that moves with composed power and rigidity of spine. A tribe for whom every movement, even an exhalation, is a focused explosion.
Does a fast start improve performance? One of my best races started with me tangling in the legs of another runner, falling over and having to scramble to my feet to chase everyone down. Once upright I started very fast and then settled into a swift, steady pace for the remaining mile or so. I learned that day that a fast start feels really good... and I could win with it.
Buy granny a pedometer but otherwise the benefits of wearable "health" technologies are hype and, cynically, an opportunity for large companies* to gather and sell data on your behaviour, location and health.
If you hear me untunefully screaming "kick its little ass!" please take no offence. Likewise "All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit. Get over it." is not addressed to you. It's me getting myself up the hill or through the mud or against a bit of pain.
Early autumn saw me a tad jaded. I'd done a couple too many 'fast and flat' city road races, hurt my back and caught a cold that didn't want to shift. I vowed to stick with what I enjoy - mud, hills & trails surrounded with green earthy smells. Then I bought a turbo trainer. This feels like having an affair.
I get stressed about how stressed kids have become! It’s not their fault. They are coping with emerging hormones whilst over-stimulated from an online existence and under constant pressure from an endless cycle of assessment. We adults, even (especially?) the tech-savvy ones, are stumbling around in a digital world of bright white screens and constant streams of florid effluent that we’re supposed to “like” just to prove we’re connected, when really we’re drowning in it all. Yep, I know I’m being ironic.
Life's milestones seem to come in clusters, not evenly spaced. In the last weeks my husband started a new job & entered his 50th year. Also together we moved house, packing most of our shared lives into two shipping containers. Our next home is currently a building project. We're on that cusp of the next big birthday and, of course, I want a running achievement as a milestone marker. What should it be?