Running like hell

2017-01-17 07:36

I need to rant about running.

I have recently started putting one foot in front of the other (albeit slowly) and I am certain I have never done anything quite so difficult in my life. And I am not speaking of the exercise and the fact that I feel like I am having a cardiac event with every additional step that I take, but rather because of the language that runners use, and secretive ecosystem that defines the sport. It’s a completely different culture and if you don’t speak running, you can't run. And if anything is important to runners it's talking about.... running.

I am aware that there are many running programs that help you build up your strength and speed but what would be more useful is a dictionary of sorts. I was young a few weeks ago when I started. I thought that a "PB" was something to do with blood pressure and wondered why runners seemed to want one. It turns out that it means "personal best" but that if you say the words "personal best", then it is evident to runners that you are not. There happen to be a lot of little catches out there and a newbie can easily give themselves away as being a novice. Real runners are able to detect and root out the imposters amongst them with ease, so its best to proceed very cautiously.

I also learned that you need to refer to your running shoes not by the brand by the model number and name. Some sound like clouds nimbus xz 760 and thunder storms Zr 634 H7 and that pronating is never a good thing. 32 GI on the other hand is something that you consume and that goo is not be confused with gel. Cause one gives you energy and the other… I have no idea.

"ITB" is the runners curse and one needs to perfect a look to respond to the announcement that a runner has it and that real runners find the ups easier than the downs. You need to know what a "Sub 2" is that if you go for a "Billy" in Comrades you are something special … only you are NEVER allowed to say that this is an aspiration. You need to let your running school say it for you. It’s also not smart to say what time you are aiming for in a run, unless you add 15% on average- but most runners add 20%.

There seems also to be a rule that as a runner you are not allowed to confirm that you intend running a race. You need to say that it depends on the knees, the back and the itb…. and how you feel when you wake up in the morning…. Even though this too is a trick because no one sleeps the night before a race. And only runners know that.

And you need to have a spouse that rolls their eyes when you speak of running. Because although they were supportive to start, and maybe even encouraged you, they are now sick to death of listening to the stories, to the aches to the pains and to the time that you completed the Pick n Pay in. They fantasise about having a meal where the conversation isn't about running where the day before a race isn't governed by what what is still to come. And they can’t stand the fact that even though they might be an Olympic gymnast, that achievement is not as impressive as being a able to complete the Dischem 21km in 1;28.

But mostly running is about being part of a club that has secrets code. Its in the limp, it’s the language and its in the fact that you don’t shake hands with anyone 2 weeks before Comrades….in case you catch something. And it's about the watch. Don't even think you are a runner if you sport an Apple watch or in fact anything less than the Garmin Fenix 3. Not kidding. This is important.

What all this means is that even if you ran 5 km like I did Sunday, and you have a number pinned to your chest (5738) and everything, you are still not a real runner because 5 km is a fun run. And no one takes it seriously. I gave it away when I arrived with my earphones in hand to be informed that they are verboten and is apparently punishable by a 28 year year jail sentence with no chance of parole.

So I ran 5 km in like 37 min which I was really proud of. But that makes me basically a fast walker. And I felt good. And proud… and when I finally stopped throwing up I was happy that I did for a bit …Until someone I know, who ran the 21 km looked at me up and down and somehow figured I was not one of them. He made me confess that I had indeed run the 5 km and not the 21 km and said condescendingly...."Yes…. It's good that you did the 5 km….It's nice to get out isn't it?"

To be clear, I woke up at 4:30 after not sleeping, felt almost crippled by my fast developing itb and the only, only thing that was clear to me is that it was definitely not “nice” to get out. It was wonderful, it was invigorating and I will be running my first 8 km in a month… depending how I feel when I wake up…. just ask me and we can chat about… a lot.

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