Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happy girl in trainers

Thank you to all those who requested that I get my finger out and return to the blog. I shall be making more effort in future.

However, the original idea for the blog was purely to write about writing as kind of motivation to me. In fact I don't always have anything to say on that topic and when I've had a good writing day (and the novel is almost almost at completed first draft but the finishing line keeps moving) the last thing I want to do is type anything else. So, blogging I might be in the future but I will be expanding content to other life obsessions and observations so I hope that you still want to read.

In fact I do have something to say on writng today: I read in the Times that a man, fed up with receiving rejection letters along the lines of 'I enjoyed reading it but....', and convinced that no -one was actually reading his stuff, decided to embark upon an experiment. He scanned in the instruction manual for his washing machine, divided it into chapters and sent it in. Lo and behold a rejection letter arrived. 'I enjoyed reading it but....'. I have decided that there is no point getting into a spin ( sorry) about the state of the publishing industry. Look on it as a positive thing. If an agent can enjoy reading a washing machine manual then how much better is my novel? Besides I bet many a reader is like me - stuck in a queue or a bathroom with nothing to read I will read the instructions on the back of a shampoo bottle rather than be bored. So perhaps it was quite an interesting manual.

As for the title. Well, last weekend was of course the London marathon. It has been a fixture in my diary for some years now and I am very committed to lying in bed watching it. One year I even got out of a hotel bed and went to the embankment to watch Paula Radcliffe. (Breifly - she is faster in real life than on TV!) And each year I think: I'd love to do that, the atmosphere is fantastic. Except that I am no runner. Running hurts my ankles and my shins before I can even get out of breath. (JJB sports guys in Bath tell me it is as a result of having high arches and tiny ankles). And it's really hard to get a place anyway...

But this year I watched Run for Glory- what I call a 'hotel TV programme', i.e. somthing i'd only watch when I'm all on my tod in a travel inn in Birmingham. In fact I got hooked and followed the progress of a group training for the marathon. Two had breast cancer, one was twenty four stone, one was blind and disabled from an accident, another was assessed at the start as having the fitness levels of someone in a coma. After training from Sally Gunnell and Steve Cram all of them finished and in quite respectable times. Which puts me moaning about high arches into some kind of perspective. Plus on the day I saw a guy being interviewed who started at midnight and walked the course backwards before running it again. ( He didn't walk backwards. I mean he did the course in reverse!) It took him seven and a half hours to walk it.

And I thought - I can do that it I put my mind to it. So I did what I do for everything and looked up on the internet to see if anyone else thought it was acceptable to intend to walk a marathon rather than start running and end up walking because it is a ridiculous distance, and it is - there is a whole community out there of walkers and lists of walker friendly marathons. So I am going to give it a go.

Only I'm not telling anyone because then I will look a right prat when I don't do it. So you must eat this blog when you have read it.

It turned out that I had already done the most important stage of the training without even realising: I had been the week before to M&S and bought a bag full of there amazingly cheap but very good quality T-shirts and jogging pants. Ok, with yoga in mind but hey, exercise is excercise. Then I commenced research. My Mum ( who has always walked everywhere) reckons she can walk from her house to Penrith in 50 mins which she says is 3 miles. Thus she can do 16 min miles. If she can I can ( with practice).

So after teaching yesterday I went for a walk around Salford Quays with pedometer clipped to my hip. the weather was gorgeous, the buildings interesting, the water calming. And I did 21 min miles. Not fantastic but hey, its my first day. I'm a beginner. I'm supposed to be slow. And besides, Dad reckons home to Penrith is only 2.6 miles. I have sent them out to measure it.

So this morning I set off around the neighbourhood for training walk number two. The website recommends building up from short distances and I decided it was sensible to know what my speed would be if I really really tried for speed over 1 mile. So I walked until my pedometer said half a mile - I had no idea that was so far!- then reversed my route. It took 28 mins to do one mile. That is abismal. I checked the website again, and no that's not acceptable for a reasonably fit person even a beginner. I was despondent. But motivated, because if that's my speed I really really do need to get fit just for health grounds. But then I thought - I really can't be that bad, can I? After all I do go to the gym from time to time. And if I'd walked any faster I would have broken into a jog. Which in fact I did from time to time just for a few yards at a time. And it did seem a long way.....

So I got in the car and drove the route. It's exactly 2 miles. YES!!! My pedometer must only be clocking every other step. Which gives me 14 min miles which is a very acceptable starting base. Hence happy girl in trainers.

Now, which aromatherapy oils do I mix for muscle aches again?

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