Erm, yeah, as Sam points out, I’ve signed up for the half-marathon. And so have two of my friends – Katy, the highbrow mate who finally succeeded in getting me to the Halle the other week, and James, who Katy and I met up with for the first time in over a decade the other day. The conversation went roughly thus “Hi James. How are you? Looks like it may rain. Do you fancy doing a half-marathon?” I suspect Katy and I may be a little bit scary en masse, and James has always been very polite, so he agreed. And he’s not getting out of it now.
The thing about old friends is there are just so many embarrasssing pics about....... This is James when he had hair in about 1989ish, and Katy and me in 1980. I'm the blonde one who was so dizzy I needed my money hanging round my neck. Still do.
Anyway, both of them made loads of noise about how unfit they are before they agreed, but then it came out about how they’ve both done loads of running in the past. Unlike me. We joked about how the only running I've ever done is for the bus, but to be honest I don't think I've even done that. And Katy is the only person I know who is as competitive as Sam, so I’m going to get it on both fronts.
Guess which one I am - the clever one, the magic one or the one sort of blundering around getting everything wrong in the background...?
So I’ve started the preparations. I needed a few essential items to get me started.
1. Trainers. I went and ran on a treadmill in a little running shop, and some chap videoed me running to identify the perfect trainers for me. At least that’s what he said he was doing – I’m still not sure why I had to be naked.....
It was all very embarrassing as I’ve only been on a treadmill once in my life before and that was at my gym induction. So he has a lot of footage of me skittering about and clinging onto the sides for dear life. It's probably on Youtube by now. Anyway, he used lots of words I didn’t understand, like pronation, and convinced me I needed some new and expensive trainers that would support my feet better.
2. Phillips Lumea IPL thingymagig. Essential running equipment. Hairy legs aren’t aerodynamic for running, so I need a really effective way of hair removal. Much cheaper than having laser treatment in a salon, and therefore very sensible.
3. Running shorts and leggings. These were in a different part of Sports Direct from the ones I bought when I started at the gym, a part specifically for runners, so must be much better for running than the ones I already had.
4. Running vests. See running shorts and leggings above. Plus my underarms will be completely stubble-free forever now, so I needed vests rather than the T shirts I already had.
5. A high impact sports bra. My existing ones are only medium impact, and that doesn’t seem to cover running. The one I’ve bought is actually too small, and needs swapping. It is a relief to know that someone, somewhere, has smaller boobs than I do. Interestingly, well not very interestingly, I buy most other clothes too big. I’m sure Geoff Beattie, University of Manchester psychologist to ghosthunting stars like Girls Aloud and Katie Price, could draw lots of fascinating and astonishing conclusions about my body image based on that.
5. A running bottle belt. So I can carry a beer with me when I run. Only joking. I’m still off the booze, though I did have a mouthful of lager the other night cos I was given the wrong thing at the theatre. It tasted absolutely fricking amazing – I knew straight away that nothing that good was alcohol-free and took it back.
6. Garmin watch. This will enable me to see how far and how fast I’m running so I can follow this bloody awful training plan Sam sent me. I could see people’s mouths moving when they were talking about logging runs on mapmyrun and using a stopwatch to do the same job, but that was as far as it got. And it wasn’t HUNDREDS of pounds, Sam. You need to take some lessons in Internet shopping.
Oh yeah, and I’ve also started the training. I did half an hour on a treadmill, and apparently ran 2.5km. The machine must surely have been faulty - I walk faster than that in my sleep. And I pottered about the park a bit, but gave up as it was hot, I was thirsty and running is super dull.
I now ache in places I didn’t know I had places. I can’t walk without wincing. I thought I was vaguely fit after all the training for the swim, but turns out I’m not. This is going to be extremely hardgoing......