Wednesday, January 15, 2014

all this running around

I've mentioned, maybe, that I'm not terribly sad and disappointed that last year's fall and cracked tibial plateau mean I can't take up running or jogging? Even when I was young and lean (ie pre-puberty) and active, I never enjoyed thudding around the track, with a stitch in my side and my head hot and thumping in rhythm. A sprint was okay, and it turned out to everyone's surprise that I could do hurdles if I was allowed one practice run up to them first. But long runs? Nope. I have no endurance.
My history and issues around team sports and group exertion are something for another post entirely.
Still, this spring and summer I ended up being around a lot of runners, to the point of helping to marshal a race, the closest I'm likely to come to the perfect summer job of my childhood dreams, which was holding the STOP and SLOW signs on BC highway construction. (Travelling each summer as we did, I got to see a lot of well-tanned young women in reflective vests, helmets and workboots, wielding their two-sided signs and waving cars and trucks onwards or holding them back. Young females with power, tans, and kickass boots! Probably getting paid union wages!)
This wasn't me myself running, of course. This was me being a supportive spouse to the actual running person in a series of 5k, 10k, and half-marathons across the Island, each one organised by a local running club.
I won't try linking to the website for the series, which was minimal and mostly useless, but the races themselves were well organised, though with a certain bias towards those who had come before and knew where things were.
The courses varied considerably in flatness and scenery, and were probably more interesting to run than to watch. Standing 1k from the start/end point of the last race, I got to see everyone run by in a fairly tight bunch, then straggle back in ones and twos.
I also got to see keeners run to the end, then trot back for 1k or so, so that they could cool down. Yikes.

I've sort of understood why my husband likes running. It's not a team sport, and it's mostly competing with yourself and your own endurance and speed. If it isn't around a track, there might even be pleasant scenery.
I hadn't previously encountered the community and support system around local running events, but it turned out to be a pretty good place to hang around. People made a point of staying at the finish line to cheer even the very last runner/walker who staggered in. For the shorter races, the finish line crowd would shout encouragingly "Sprint! Sprint!" and cheer by name.
After each race there was an assembly recognising the best runners in each age/gender category (the first ten in each, I think, which means that at 70 and older, you're pretty much guaranteed a ribbon for completing the course).  Plus the various sponsors gave out prizes, including shoes, watches, gift cards and the inevitable t-shirts.  My volunteering session of making sandwiches and slicing fruit, then marshalling, earned me a water bottle with the 'island road racers' logo, sitting beside me at the computer now, reminding me to hydrate.

It's probably a good thing I'm not allowed to run, or all this sports-related niceness might tempt me to  lose more  potential writing time in pursuit of speed as well as strength. Better to stand on the sidelines and shout "Sprint! Sprint!"

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