On Sunday 21st April 2013 it will be TEN YEARS to the day that I did something silly and ran the London Marathon. Since then I’m older, uglier, have given birth twice, gone back to work full-time and life is ‘stressy’ shall we say. BUT during those ten years two more things happened that changed my life forever even more so.. 1) I lost my wonderful Brother Stephen to Bowel Cancer …2) My Brother John SURVIVED Bowel Cancer…and this is why next year I shall be running for Beating Bowel Cancer!
This morning I did my very first run as part of my London
Marathon training plan. Which can only mean one thing…
I fixed my foot?
I didn’t have a hangover?
The kids were driving me nuts and I needed to get out of the house?
No it was far more simplistic than that... I bought my
trainers AT LAST!Easy you would think?
I beg to differ…and ‘this’ is the story of me finally buying some trainers.
10 years ago I walked into a little shop that formed part of
Cannons Sports Club in the city and asked them about trainers to run the
Marathon. They made me run up and down
the shop, studied my gait (not the kind that hangs off its hinges outside your
house) and then they recommended me some trainers.I walked away with a nice little pair of trainers,
some socks and a ‘good luck’. I downloaded myself a little running plan and
VOILA…I ran the London Marathon (well …I ran a lot, walked a bit, ran some
more, hopped a fair amount – and you get the picture).
So here we are 10 years later and a lot has changed. I mean
you still put one foot in front of the other to ‘run’…nothing there has changed
BUT the buying process is a poxy minefield! There are so many makes and models
of trainers, sorry ‘running shoes’ and so many opinions to consider.
For weeks I have been having many conversations with my Boss
that usually start thus: “Have you bought your trainers yet?” and then we
discuss trainers (he himself is now quite a keen runner) and we discuss ‘times’
of his run clearly as I’ve done nothing yet…and gradually we inched towards the
grand goal of me buying my own ones.‘Asics’ as a brand were thrown out there as that’s what he uses and they’re
the ones I used before. In the ‘running world’ these are considered the
‘serious’ runners choice of shoe.Not
your Nike’s or Adidas’s.
So on Friday I went into a local shop in the City (of a well
known sports chain) having discovered they did ‘gait analysis’ there. My boss
was sceptical of the ‘chain’ but I went along anyway. The nice Assistant asked
me some questions and then noticed my tights and boots. “Er, do you have your
running socks with you?” Uhmn that will be no as I haven’t run in 10 years (as
I told you) so don’t have any clearly. In a gentle and alluring voice he told
me to take my clothes off (sorry…just checking you’re still reading…that’s a
different book I reckon!)What he
actually told me was to go to the changing room and take my tights off and come
back which I did. He then said “we don’t have any socks for you to use to try
trainers on with, would you like to buy some?” at which point I should have
known I was in the wrong place. Upon return he started telling me about these
wonderful new foot inserts that they mould to the shape of your foot to help
your running experience. He waved them around at me (they looked like insoles)
and then he stuck them in a heating mechanism, stood me on some plastic play
bricks (that’s what they looked like to me) and started bending them around my
foot. At this point I totally wanted to kick myself for my lack of ‘foot
prettiness’… my nail varnish was cracked and split and gone on most toes and to
be honest…my legs could have done with a shave too. What?...I am a girl after
He then got some trainers out, put the insoles in and asked
me to step onto the running machine and start it up to a speed I could cope
with.When I didn’t move after a few
seconds…he said “have you been on a running machine before?” uhm..that’ll be a
no no and NO! I don’t do ‘the Gym’ so no I have never been on a running
machine. The man looked utterly perplexed by me and slightly worried. Not as
worried as me though. So I got on, he started it up and I eventually got to a
jog on the machine that he could record on his new-fangled machine and then
tell me what trainers I needed.He then
told me I was a ‘neutral’ runner. Now this is important, very important and
could totally affect how I run. I knew that 10 years previously I was’
over-pronate’ which means my heels roll-in as I run along etc. I mentioned this
and he said “hmnn if you think you’re slightly pronate you could try some with
some more stability?” – what do you mean if I THINK…you’re supposed to be
TELLING ME grrr. So we tried 3 running shoes with me back and forth on the
machine and eventually he tried to sell me between two pairs.
Sound like a nightmare? Not as much as the moment he told me
I wanted to be sick, Christmas was clearly going to be
cancelled as the cheapest ones with the ‘insoles’ (oh yes…those nifty little
things that he omitted to tell me the price of and come in at a whopping £45!)
was going to set me back £175. What’s worse is you almost definitely need two
pairs by the time you actually RUN the Marathon as you kill them in training.
So £350 then….
I made some crappy excuse up about wanting a second opinion
from my Husband who was a ‘Runner’ and would come back later as he worked up
the road in the City and could meet me after work. Now Jamie will be killing
himself laughing at THAT description of himself…but personally I would quite
like to hook up with this fictitious Husband myself :D
Then I made like the wind out of there.
I bemoaned all of the above to my Boss when back at work, he
helped me track down the same ones online at a massive saving and I started to
cheer up a bit. I also decided though to try a different shop for a second
opinion…and this is how I ended up at ‘Sweatshop’ at London’s Westfield
Stratford City on a pre-Xmas Saturday when it was MOBBED! Sweatshop is a ‘real
runners’ shop apparently and now I appreciate why.
The incredibly informative lady who helped me was from
‘start to finish’ not remotely pushy, told me prices upfront of everything,
discussed benefits of all makes and models and also the benefits ‘or not’ of
these crazy foot insoles. Oh and she told me the price of those upfront too!
She too took me through a similar gait analysis (but by now I had the hang of
the running machine!) and then she got out a few pairs for me to try on. I felt
confident with her as straight away she knew I was over pronate, but she also
explained why sometimes getting too much stability at the start in a shoe could
be bad for me and in one big swoop had ruled out the two pairs of running shoes
I’d been recommended the day before. I also ended up in a ‘bigger size’ shoe as
the ‘rule of thumb’ measuring of my toes in the shoes had clearly not been done
right. This is also crucial to me as ‘last time’ I lost my big toe-nail in the
process and I would like to avoid that again if possible. We then had 3 pairs
of trainers again (Asics, Nike and Brooks) at varying prices (all still
expensive, but no added insoles as apparently I don’t actually ‘need’ these in
her opinion) and I could have walked away and bought them online too possibly
But I didn’t, she absolutely deserved my service and she had
told me a really really decisive thing for me…I could bring them back! I could
go out and run in them, get them muddy, do whatever I wanted and still BRING
THEM BACK. I have 30 days to do so and if I ‘don’t get along with them’ I can
simply return them to the store and try another pair and see how I get along
with them instead. You cannot say fairer than that.
Oh, and I’m now running in a pair of Nike’s (my boss will be
alarmed – but he needn’t be!) as they were quite simply the most comfortable
things I have ever put on my feet to run in. Not much difference in the price
between them and the Asics actually so it really did in the end boil down to
how they were on my feet and how I ran in them in the shop.
So… I have now officially started my training plan folks…and
I have one last thing to say at this point…
DON’T be expecting any Christmas present from me this year!
I’ve thought long and hard the last few weeks since gaining
my Marathon spot about what my training plan will be. Seeing as I’ve not
actually BEEN running yet…thinking is all I have actually done.
That and setting up a ‘JustGiving’ page and a Blog!
Yet whilst I am not a ‘Marathon Runner’ per se… I have
actually run the London Marathon before so can speak with some authority on the
subject – for myself that is! I know what my capabilities are. I know what went
wrong and more important (correct syntax
for the purposes of my Brother John and My Boss!) ... what went right for
It’s easy to be ‘romantic’ when you think back on your
London Marathon experience. It’s kind of like child-birth really….incredibly
painful at the time and then somehow you forget that and go on to do the whole
For me I got to the end of the Marathon (result really) and
said “NEVER again”. By the time I hit Chinatown that night with my medal around
my neck (I told you before, food is always on my mind) I had started saying “IF
I ever did this again, I would do this or that” … to the next morning floating
around the hotel swimming pool (as I had no ability to get out by then) saying
“WHEN I do this next time…”.
So there you have it… proof that I really am THAT stupid.
The fact is though, that for many many people the Marathon
is actually quite addictive. It’s like my Husband and Tattoos……he said he was
only doing that small little one years ago!
So now my mind is venturing back to last time and the schedule
I undertook back then, the barriers to my training, my fitness as it were… and
how I intend to tackle it all this time around.I’ve been taking a long hard look at my life as it were and I’ve remembered
·Back then I was working in the city in the day
and drinking in the pub in the evenings
·Back then I was spending full-on weekends with
my Step-Daughter and Husband and rushing around like a maniac
·Back then I hadn’t run anything since school
other than high credit card bills
And this brings me to the ‘here and now’ and I’ve realised
·Now I am still working in the city in the day
and drinking at home in the evenings
·Now I am spending full-on weekends with my two
little Monsters and Husband and rushing around like a maniac
·Now I haven’t run anything since the last
Marathon other than the school-run!
Not a lot has actually changed in reality!
So on this basis I have decided to embark on a similar
running plan to the last time around in the hope I can repeat a similar run on
the day next year!After all, I don’t
think it was such a bad attempt 10 years ago if you discount setting off with
an injury, picking up a new one along the way, being caught talking on my
mobile phone at the optimum ‘photo opportunities’ and getting side-tracked by
the handsome Fire fighters along the way ;o)
So my boss says to me today “where’s your next blog Trish?”
and before I can retort he has already reminded me that I’m yet to ‘start
training’….insinuating that I have nothing to blog about therefore.
I have been in fact mulling over an idea these last few
days, a thought that has been gathering pace in my head so much so that I just
have to throw it out there and get it over and done with.
So here it is: What is going to be ‘my thing’? - I have to have a ‘thing’.
A ‘thing ‘I hear you say? What is she going on about?
Well for those of you 10 years ago who came out in your
droves to support me (via the City Pride
pub in Isle of Dogs naturally)… you will know what I mean. ‘Go Trish’ was
daubed over everyone’s t-shirts, all the wonderful friends and family alike who
came to support me that day.The banner
created for me was so big (but certainly not as big as the one draped over the
top of our pub at the time I might add!) that you almost felt someone quite
important was about to come running past. They weren’t – it was just me.Such was your overwhelming (by that I mean
LOUD) support on the day that the BBC could not help but take notice of you
all. Cue a rather random interview of you mad lot during the live marathon
coverage where you decided to tell the Reporter I was running injured and raise
their interest further. Then followed a weird
‘Anneka Rice’ moment for me (without the pert bottom) where I was suddenly
converged upon by the BBC camera crew as I exited the tunnel approaching the
City Pride...sweaty, tired, make-up free (thanks a lot) and looking less than
classy to be faced with a ‘live on the spot’ interview for the BBC.
There are so many amazing things about ‘that moment’ none
more so though then the fact that my Brother Stephen (for whom I shall be running next year’s Marathon) was sitting in
his little house in Germany watching the Marathon coverage only to be suddenly
faced with a screen full of familiar faces. If you knew Stephen you would know
how excited this made him. He couldn’t be there, yet ‘somehow’ you brought it
all to him via the medium of television and the fact you are all gob-shites! He was ecstatic – telling everyone that his
Little Sister was there on the telly being interviewed along with all his friends
and family. Marvellous.
So ten years later so many things have changed, especially
and painfully that Stephen is not with us now. It also turns out that the City
Pride has closed down (a victim of the Docklands property development – boo BIG
hiss!) and it occurs to me – what do we do now? I’ve joked about bringing out
your old t-shirts and just adding the word ‘again’ on them – I’m simply stunned
by just how many of you actually kept them. The creation of rather large
banners has been touted once more. I
feel the early twinges of excitement building...I know you all well…I know you’ll
be amazing on the day!
However, on the back of the Olympics I see more
possibilities though...I want ‘a thing’. Mo Farrah has the ‘Mobot’, Usain his ‘Bolt’ of
course…what can mine be? The ‘Trishster’ perhaps? (yes Anna, I know this term
for me belongs to you - but you’d still have to find me a ‘move’ to accompany
it). I just don’t know what it could be? I’m renowned for swigging a glass of
wine given the opportunity, but that’s not quite going to work as I navigate
the Marathon route is it – which is a bit of a shame really.
I thought maybe of doing something that relates in some way
to Beating Bowel Cancer.So that just
conjures up ‘bums’ and I’m not sure if I can pull off a Beyonce-esque
bootylicious shaking of my derriere. Hmnnnnnnnnn…
So I’m throwing it out there to you all...give me some ideas
please...create me ‘a thing’. I might even reward you should I pick your idea.
Bottle of Cava anyone?You’re an imaginative lot, so show me what you
can come up with.
We can then bring it out next year in full force and who
knows….maybe it will be BBC coverage ‘round 2’.
Then we have to find ourselves a new ‘City Pride’ to host
your mad cap entertainment. One thing at a time though…
I am sitting in the waiting room of the Osteopath clinic
waiting to be seen about my foot.4 days
ago I found out I was going to be running the 2013 London Marathon for Beating
Bowel Cancer and rued the day I decided to wear wedge heels to a friend’s wedding
just a mere few weeks ago. The shoes in question were pretty nice but my
Naomi-Campbell-esque Catwalk disaster as I strutted back from the toilets
during the reception a little worse for wear ‘not so good’. A friend witnessed
(to her amusement) my fall from grace shall we say as my left foot simply
buckled and twisted down to the side as I walked. At that point in time I was
merely embarrassed by it and proceeded to right myself and carry on walking. I
then decided to do exactly what you should do when you sprain your ankle at a
wedding reception…down another drink and do the ‘running man dance’ for
everyone’s amusement. This is, after all, my drunk show-piece that I reel out
at numerous social events!
Cue the Sunday morning following the wedding reception and I
am obliterated and ‘coming to’ in bed when I feel the most god-damn awful pain
from my foot. I also felt a god-dam awful pain in my head but didn’t have to do
a 30 minute WALK on my head to collect the car. Don’t panic...I was not going
to be driving it…that was the other half’s pleasure – but he was making me
share his pain by joining him on the walk to collect the car, plus we had the
kids swimming lesson to get to and I ‘had’ to be at that. I’m pretty sure he
could have gone to get the car and come back for me..but that’s another matter.
That rest of that Sunday had pretty much gone in a haze to
be honest. I did all my usual tricks to get over my hangover..huge Sunday lunch
at local pub, and some ‘hair of the dog’.Thinking about this some more it occurred to me sitting there that large
Sunday lunches and drinking generally speaking was something I was going to
have to kick to the curb in light of ensuing Marathon training.This was a depressing thought. Anyone who
knows me knows I like food…I don’t just like it ..I LOVE it and I am always
planning my day around food. I always eat one meal whilst thinking about what
the next one will be and it’s fair to say that pretty much all of my disposable
income goes on eating out whenever I can.Between my foot and my eating habits, I could see I was pretty much
screwed right now.
But was I? Thinking some more about it I realised that if the
Osteopath felt that my foot was not quite ready to embark on serious training
right now and that I should wait a while before starting my running plan….I
could still get in some serious eating and enjoy some more Cava in the interim.
A month’s respite maybe? Now my foot has been improving daily upto this point
of sitting in the waiting room and I am now walking normally and not crying out
in pain anymore – all good. Still, I decided for effect that I would put my
best ‘limp’ forward as I approached the treatment room.
‘Patricia Harding?’ – yep that’s me – that’s my cue. So I
upped and made my way through with slightly more hobble than necessary only to
be greeted with – “been on the piss again?”.
Damn the fact that the stupid Osteopath is in fact my
Nephew’s Dad and knows me only too well - I’m not going to able to get anything
past him. I can see I am going to have to take this all a little more seriously