Today was the annual Run Melbourne Run. I ran in the 10 kilometre event.
I'm an old hat at running races now. The morning has a routine. I get up, I have a cup of coffee and a protein shake, I get dressed, strapping my knee, plastering a number to my belly and attaching a timing tag to my shoe. I double knot my laces so that they don't come loose. In my bum bag there is my driver's licence, a credit card, twenty dollars in notes, a runner's gel - 100 calories of carbohydrate in a little packet, my spare, light weight house keys and my mobile phone. After a slap of sunscreen and donning a light weight running cap, I get on the road early. If the race in the city, I tend to walk there as it's only four kilometres away and it's a good warm up. At the event, I store any other layers in the baggage area - today it was my favorite Boston jacket and a jar of marmalade that I made yesterday which was brought in for Kay, who I was meeting later. Then, I got to the line and gather with the rest of the idiots to go for a "fun" run.
Among my running friends I'm known as the running fairy. I run with a light gait and a rather off-putting smile on my face. Not the smile of one trying to take a dump or a smile through the pain - it's a full on cheesy grin. I love to run - love it. I'm not great at it, but I love doing it. And I love stopping even more once the race is over.
I've only been running for two years - but I've done a lot of it over the years. When I started I was around 10 kgs heavier than I am now. I've got fitter and faster. I can talk and run for over an hour. Yes, I'm sodding annoying. I don't think I'm a natural runner, but I'm consistent. I'm also consistently getting better.
The other difference about today's run was I was not sure how I was going to go. A few months ago I was wanting to do this ten kilometre race in under sixty minutes. Some ongoing blood pressure issues have made me cut back on the training. Thankfully that's nearly sorted, but it's meant that I haven't trained to the capacity I wanted.
The race was run. After the second kilometre I was ready to clip a few people around the head - walkers - phah! By kilometre four, the back side of Anderson Street was hard. At around the seven kilometre mark I was annoyed - they'd stuffed up the signage and the kilometre markers were skewed. By the time I reached Jolimont I was over it - but I came on for a strong finish 65 minutes and about 40 seconds later - by my watch.
Bottom lip goes out, I get my stompy face on. I wanted to do this in the hour. Am I disappointed? A little. Am I philosphical? Yes.
Okay, the pros. As Danger Dude kept telling me - don't try and run a personal best on a crowded course. Very sound advice. You're tripping over Tom, Dick and Donna who seem to think that a running course is a place to walk three in a row and chat. Pushers, dogs and walkers are the bane of the fun run.
Of the last six weeks, I've not been able to train to the intensity I wanted - but I did train - however gently. But I ran the course well. My cardiovascular fitness is wonderful. I can run and talk. I don't get breathless. I can keep going - I have great stamina.
Looking back, the only 10 kilometre race I've done to date was in December 2009. I ran the 10 km in 75 minutes. This time I did that in ten minutes less. It's a personal best.
I should be happy. I'm not really.
Oh, and my right knee has held up wonderfully - it feels good.
Okay - I'm just an over-acheiver. it's not enough for me to go jump. I have to jump high and shove chocolate sprinkles on top. Hmph.
I'm being philosophical about this run. I have the 14 km City to Surf in just under a month. Then there's the Adelaide City to Bay a month after that - another 12 kilometers. Then I'm down for the Melbourne half marathon in October. 21.1 kilometres of sheer determination.
And then I have to look at the other side of things.
I am turning 43 next month. I am in the best shape of my life. I can run 20 kilometres when I put my mind (and a training schedule) to it. I know about running tactics. I have a resting heart rate of 53 beats a minute. I have a body that does what it's told for the most part. In the last year I've overcome surgery and injury, lost 15 kilograms in weight and got my fitmess to a point where I'm verging on athlete status. Best of all - I like my body now. It's not perfect, but there are more good bits than bad bits now.
What the hell am I complaining about?
There will be other runs. Today's event will just spur me on to train more and well and get my legs and mind around the tasks at hand.
And I will do my 10 kilometres in the hour. Soon.
And it's back to Pump class tomorrow. Back to it - today was just a training run.
Ah tomorrow. Where I have to skulk into the office and face the shame that my beloved football team has once again bestowed on me. The Crows coudn't beat the Bendigo Under 15's B grade at the moment - though they gave Essendon a run for their money on Friday night. For this, I owe the guy across the desk a coffee. For three quarters I thought it would be me having a skinny decaf cappucino deposited on my desk tomorrow.
Ah, the guy across the desk. Rather cute in a country footballer sort of way. Stupidly, stupidly smart. A bit of a dork. Often there with a quick remark and a sneaky smile. We share the odd chat and a packet of mints. A strange relationship - but I'm used to strange relationships with men at work.
Rule number two of work. Thou shalt not flirt.
Rule number three of work. Though should not get ahead of ones self.
I'm crap at flirting anyway. Just like my mother's old pussycat, I'm aware of how to catch things, but I don't have a bloody clue what to do with them when I've caught them.
This has caught me unawares in so many ways.
Better get running and training to shove these stirings to the furthest parts of my mind. Not worth it. Just keep on with the odd sneaky smile and a shared pack of Jila Mints. I've shared Jila Mints before. No biggie.
My friend Gloria was berating me at breakfast yesterday after telling her about this flirting.
"Do you know how good you're looking?"
"What do you mean? I wore this to work yesterday?. It's Friday casual. Nothing special."
"You wear that to work?" She looked me up and down.
"Yeah. Of course." Skinny jeans, brown leather boots, a stripy top, hair tousled. On Fridays I put on a bit more eyeliner and some red lipstick.
"Have you any idea how sexy you are? That poor boy doesn't stand a chance."
Part of me wishes this was the case.