Friday, March 02, 2007

Keep on Running........

Several years ago a friend of mine lent me a book called "On Running" by a guy called Dr. Sheehan. The author is American and didn't start running until late middle age. He became absolutely fanatical about the sport, and also a little weird. For instance, he didn't seem to see the need to shower after a run. As a runner myself, I can tell you that you are absolutely wringing with sweat at the end of a half decent run. Maybe he had a fettish for dried sweat! I can't remember what his stated reasons were for this, so I'd better steer away before I get sued for slander - or libel! Anyway, cutting to the chase - so to speak (geddit??), his main premise was that running is one of the best forms of exercise you can possibly do. Its great for the cardio-vascular system, increases stamina, builds character, strengthens the immune system, keeps the weight off, encourages healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle....etc..etc. I could add that it makes you so sexy that you have to fend off the girls with a stick...but I am still awaiting personal confirmation on that one! My friend who lent me the book, by the way, is knocking on 70's door, and yet still runs the London Marathon, as well as a host of other marathons every year. I saw him this morning at the tail end of the last of our local "Frostbite Friendly League" five mile road races. Like me, he started at the tail end, at the back. However, as soon as the race started and we were "off", he quickly dissappeared up ahead of me finishing the race a long way ahead of me. You see, so long as you can move on two legs, its a long time before its too late to start. In one race I entered a few years back, one guy in his mid 80's took part. It was a 10 kilometer race in the heat of Summer. With dogged persistance, he finished the race - to many a cheer from the watching spectators and fellow runners alike. I was pleased with my own performance this morning, as I've been away from road running for a little while due to a combination of reasons, so this mornings run was a kind of a "relaunch" for me. I have been going to the gym, running on the treadmill and "pumping iron" in the meantime, so I wasn't completely unfit. I also had a banana (which gives slow-release energy) and an energy drink beforehand. I had said I wasn't going to run if it was chucking it down with rain. As we made our way out to the start, it started to chuck it down with rain! Oh well, too late now - and I didn't want to let the team down. The team I speak of, is the Road Running club, of which I have been a member for a good few years. It also doubles as a drinking club, as many of our training runs start and finish at pubs! The camaradarie, friendship and motivation a good club gives you is priceless, and I recommend it to all you budding running wannabees out there. I was very pleased to find that I still had more stamina than I thought, and managed to work my way up through the field - refreshed by the rain - though not as quickly as my older friend. The gym training paid off as I didn't "die" on the up-hill stretches as I had thought I might and it was wonderful to find some energy for a sprint finish to pip another competitor at the post. There's life in the old dog yet.

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