Run Comrades, run: overweight and undertrained, as Bruce likes it

2012-05-10 07:10

Personal trainer Ray reckons everyone is sore at the moment.

Surrounded by runners as he is, “everyone” in his world refers to Comrades runners.

This includes the pros, plodders, and semi-plodders who will line up to run the race in three weeks odd.

Having considered myself for the most to be a semi-plodder, that is someone who doesn’t make a habit of racing cut-off times, I now aspire to be a full-on plodder and to make use of the full 12 hours allowed by the Comrades organisers.

It won’t be easy, since my slowest Comrades to date was completed within one and a half hours of this time.

Having had some bad achilles “tendencies” following the Two Oceans Marathon a month ago, I have “downgraded” my sub-9-hour Comrades training programme to a sub-12-hour programme.

Running “fast” (it’s all relative, see) aggravates the achilles, so I might even decide to tweet the race to slow me down some more. Like most runners, races bring out my competitive streak, and this time around, I’m determined to defeat it.

The sub-9 programme I’ve been using has pictures of lean and rather determined-looking runners on it, who run far and five days a week, while the sub-12 programme shows photos of Comrades clowns and big-boned people.

It provides for four days of running, with optional walking in between, but I am trimming that even more to three days of running, with spinning and other cross-training activities on the other days.

That seems to have appeased Physio Dave too, although he has forbidden me to do jumping of any kind.

The motivational tip above the May sub-12 programme is jolly: “Time to taper, but be careful not to pack on extra kilos.”

(Note: tapering is when you cut down your running to rest your legs before the race.)

It is only a plodder who would pack on the kilos while training for the Comrades, really, and in that department I’m fast on my way to becoming a champion plodder.

Since cutting down on the running, and comfort-eating my way through two weeks of not being able to run whatsoever because of achilles “tendencies”, I’ve packed on two kilograms.

These wobble on the bum, the tummy and the upper arms when I run.

The only upside really is that I have some semblance of boobs again.

My status as fat Comrades runner was sealed when we queued up for T-shirts at the end of the Colgate 32 km race on Sunday.

Normally I would join the queue for the small T-shirts without hesitation, because I like a neat fit and, well, because I’m not all that big.

But this time I hesitated and the (thin) woman behind the table – wearing a size small sample – smugly recommended I get a large one.

I stuck to my guns and asked for the small tee, which, incidentally, fits neatly even over my tummy rolls.

Almost all Comrades runners, especially the most clueless and gung-ho ones, know this one famous tip by Comrades champion Bruce Fordyce: better to be under-trained and slightly overweight than overtrained and skinny at the start line.

Bruce would be really, really proud of me this year.

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