Dearest Friends, you may recall that back in January I was rash enough to put into cyber-print my resolutions for the year. Ignore for the moment items two through five, which are still in various stages of completion (er, like between 0% and 20%), and let's focus on the first resolution, namely getting in shape for the 2009 Vancouver Sun Run.
Well, roger me sideways with a sweaty ferret, but the run is this coming Sunday and methinks I'm going to be set for it.
Hear that slapping? That's the sound of my gob being smacked.
You see, I've tried many times over the years to get into this running lark, but I've always ended up hating, loathing, DESPISING it. I never understood why; it's something you can do alone or with company, it involves no real prep or planning, and I love walking round in The Great Outdoors (urb or rural). But no, no, no, a thousand times no.
This year I was helped along by the lovely Miss J, a work colleague who kindly offered up her running expertise twice a week to lead a training clinic for the Sun Run, which has become something of an institution in Vancouver. I also had an attack of bloody mindedness; dammit, this is something I CAN and WILL do. Finally, I was heartened by the dashing exploits of JaG, who overcame her own inertia to run like the wind (and will do so again, once she sorts out her iron will)!!
So, some ten weeks ago I strapped on my running shoes and set off on my first training run: three minutes running, two minutes walking. I just about died and dissolved into a heap of cramp, asthmatic croaking, and sweat. Fast forward to today, when I finished my second 10K run in a series of 10 minute intervals separated by one minute of walking. We're not talking Chariots of Fire timing here, folks, but I did it and actually felt (gasp!) rather good at the end. Inbetween then and now it's been a mixed bag of bloody fucking pain and flashes of pride.
Now, please excuse me, but I'm going to break out the can opener and open up a tin of corn. You see, Dearest Friends, I've actually learned a shedload from this whole exercise. I'll spare you most of the zen insights, but allow me to relate two:
First off, the pain is manageable. Almost every outing something went wonky: my hips ached, I got a stitch in my side, my calves cramped up, my right knee got all wobbly. At first I focused on what was going wrong, which was, well, wrong. But over time I developed my own sort of R2-D2 in my brain. You know; R2 would sit in the back of Luke's X-Wing fighter and deal with all the bits falling off ("I'm hit, but not bad. R2, see what you can do with it." "R2, try and increase the power."). Well, my R2 tends to all the shit that goes wrong with me so I can stay focused on the run. If my shins cramp, R2 tells them to relax. If I accelerate up a hill, R2 shortens my stride to maintain my pace. So now the discomfort is secondary. Moral of the story: get yourself your own R2 unit.
Second, I'm my own worst enemy. For years I talked myself out of running coz simply because I believed I couldn't do it. And, since we've already strayed into Star Wars territory, let me quote Yoda: "That, is why you fail." I can't afford to forget this lesson.
So now the Sun Run is but four days away, and I'm confident that I can do it. But y'know, even if I don't, I've already won on this resolution.
Right, you'll be wanting some music after all that. So here you go, a clutch of fine running tunes:
Messiah - Temple of Dreams (buy here )
They weren't the messiah, they were two very naughty techno boys named Ali and Mark.
Tones On Tail - Go! (buy here or get the club mix e-here)
Post & pre-Bauhaus goodness. Ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-yaya-ya. You get the picture.
GBH - Race Against Time (buy here )
Kinda hard to run in your 18-hole Doc Martens and levver jacket, but the punks don't care.
The Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To (buy here or e-here)
Righteous grrl noise straight outta Brooklyn. Eruditely named after a mammoth 15,000-page magnum opus by outsider artist Henry Darger
Markus James & The Wassonrai - Far As I Can Run / Majirica Samba (buy here or e-here)
Think Tom Waits playing those old time blues in Timbuktu. Yes, it's that good. Another one of my favourite discoveries at the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
No Star Wars music, you'll be happy to hear, but have a look at this and larf until the banthas come home: