...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Reading about running

I've always enjoyed reading about runners’ experiences of marathons and ultramarathons. I wrote about this before. I love the way that, in hindsight (and perhaps with some after-construction?), they describe how they took themselves through a big physical challenge. It's like a genre on its own, with a plot. They start out feeling like Flash Gordon himself, satisfied with their lack of tiredness. Then the fatigue slowly creeps in and hits them somewhere at 30 kilometers. Their legs and feet, which until now were strong friends, start to work against them, but there is still quite a bit to run. Some run through cramps and other sorts of pain. At this point, I smile a bit while reading. There's something in the way they describe this self-imposed torture in a humoristic but tangible way. They get in into themselves, and there is only the asphalt and other co-sufferers. The way they describe getting to the finish line, surely half-dead but feeling more than whole, can sometimes give me goosebumps.

There are funny anecdotes too, usually from the early days of marathon. One funny story is of a runner who won the race despite wearing leather shoes and stopping by his aunt's place where he was offered a glass of wine. But sometimes, it doesn't got so well for them either. In the London Olympics 1908, the would-be winner was literally fainting to the finish line. After stumbling two times on his way there, he got help and was carried over the line and got disqualified.

I smile when I read these stories, and sometimes my legs itch for a run.

Before leaving for Christmas vacation, Susanne told me about her plans for signing up for Stockholm Marathon and I began to think that I better grab the chance. If she can do it, I have a chance to get through as well. Signing up with her means also that I get a running buddy – someone to haul me out in the cold of winter, and someone to suffer with on marathon day in June. Right. It's free to dream about marathons, just like reading it in a book. Or not. It took me back 900 kronor to sign up. And when that was paid I realized that damn, I have to run too – soon, and much!

It's now been three weeks into my program and tomorrow will be an 11 km run which will make my total log 63 km in three weeks. Sometime in March, I'd have to increase this. Those that finish marathons in a little over 3 hours log 40-60 kilometers of running a week (!). My ambition, also realistic, is under 5 hours. However, it would be seriously cool to have run 40 kilometers a week at one (short) point in my life. Because I do so much other stuff, I don't believe I can be hooked to marathons. Running programs are just too time-consuming, basically. I think it would be great enough to just get myself through this one marathon, with a decent – not great – time, and most of all without injury. Hopefully, I start it and hopefully, I finish it.

Oh yes, back to reading about running. I've gathered some running inspiration, some of which I had lying around the apartment, but some I got or borrowed from friends. They are McDougall's Born to Run, a Swedish manual Vägen till marathon, Murakami’s memoir on running, the latest issue of Front Runner, and a year-old issue of Runner’s World Coach Woman. Among all these, I'm a bit disappointed with Runner's World Coach Woman. Articles on weight loss and titles such as “Should you feel guilty about snacking?” is just driving me mad in a "coaching” magazine for runners. It's especially unimaginative and corny when they have this as their “for women” slant. There's a lot of this already in other lifestyle magazines. What I'd rather like to know is how you increase your calorie intake when you run a lot, and long distances. Thank goodness this magazine was free.


Anonymous Ingrid Pijcke said...

Dear Joy,
I like your blog and the way you write. Wish you luck with the training for your Marathon. My husband runs them and I know it's quite intensive. I just swim, walk, cycle. I admire the apparent 'ease' of his training discipline. Wished I could be so disciplined. Also good luck with your articles. It's is sometimes not the article they wanted to read but that says nothing about the quality of your article.
Wintergreatings from Ingrid (Amsterdam)

4:05 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hej Ingrid,

Nice to see you again here, and thanks for the winter greetings. Here, it's cold but most of the snow has melted away. Perhaps there will be another snowy period though.

Wow, thanks for the marathon best-wishes. Is your husband running Stockholm Marathon too? Like a positive spiral, regular training kind of results in one wanting to keep the regular training. Maybe "discipline" comes out of pure routine. I'm just getting there though. It's still hard to get up and running in the cold, but the feeling afterwards, when you're tired and satisfied, is unbeatable. No wonder regular running results to people wanting to run more! Anyway, it gives shape and substance to my weeks right now, aside from meeting friends.

Thanks for your message -- and the sign that people I don't know read my blog!


6:12 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home

<<< Browse older posts (via sidebar list)