Friday, 4 March 2011

I know they smell, but kids can be quite inspirational...

...hold your horses!

Before you have a pop at me, let's face it most children of a certain age do have a natural disdain for cleanliness. Dunking your head quickly under the water or running wet hands through your hair to make it look wet, does not constitute "washing your hair" - I know! I did it when I was there age. Luckily for them Mrs. W hasn't quite caught on to these devious machinations yet, and I'm quite content to accept a certain degree of general grubbiness.  After all trying to actually keep them "clean" at 8 and 4 is a losing battle anyway, so you might as well roll with the punches a little.

But, back to the point of today's waffling self-indulgent post.  The little blighters can be astonishingly inspiring as well (even though I know/bet/reckon) they don't realise it.

I'm still slightly in awe of Oli's 6:35mile at age 8, and as I readied myself for a cold blustery run last night he chirped up with, "Dad, I want to run a 4-minute mile".

And he meant it!

Admittedly he doesn't yet understand or appreciate the iconic ramifications of running a 4-minute mile, but this is the man/boy/thing who announced his displeasure at only running 6:35 because he wasn't tired so should have gone faster (can't fault his logic), and has now set his sights on going sub-6 at Brighton Marathon's mile race. "Do you think I can?" What else can you say to such dashing, but offer up "You can do anything you put your mind to".  Which let's face it is true, and somebody has to run a 4-minute mile, but lets get there one step (or giant leap) at a time.

Anyway, fuelled by the impudence of planning to ravage a 4-minute mile, I set off on my run like an idiot. Not in green and red jester uniform or howling at the moon, but a far better a bat out of hell!

Only then did I realise the stupidity of this, and the elementary mistake I'd made in buying into the idea of 4-minute miles. A banged out the first mile in 8:26 then reality struck..."bloody hell, I've got to keep this up".  I didn't of course (have to keep it up I mean), but it just feels wrong to run mile-1 at "pace x" then slow down immediately, so in true idiot mode I stubbornly dug in and hung on for grim life.

And hang in I did, for 10km, blindly running 8:26, 8:22, 8:03, 8:05, 8:00, 7:39 then 7:07 for final 0.2mile, which is a tidy progression if I do say so myself, finishing in 50:03... close!!!

So close to pulling my first sub-50 10km out of the bag, a bag I didn't even know I had and would have left behind without Oli's sense of right at running 4-min miles. Suddenly the idea of running a sub-50min 10km is tantalising close, somewhere I must be able to find a handful of seconds to dip below that mark - there's bound to be couple lost down the back of the sofa. But pace is funny isn't it?  I don't mean funny ha ha, but the idea of building up enough steam (without the mother of all winds behind me) to run sub-50 has seemed a very very long way off.  The idea of running a sub-2hr half, or even a sub-4hr marathon has recently struck me as being easier then going sub-50.  And yes I know the pace is slower for both, but I'd rather dig in and try to maintain 9-min pace for 26.2miles then try to keep up 8-min for 6.2miles.

Where you are supposed to find that extra kick from.  I guess practice and a lot of miles is the key, but having recently run 1:49:22 for the Brighton Marathon, the idea of finding an extra 20-seconds a mile seemed ridiculous.  I was quite frankly hanging-out at the end of that one. Give me a longer run any day.  This might seem daft, but it just feels easier. I work out my rough route beforehand and just head off, it'd "do my head in" (for want of better English) to start thinking about half-way points and the finish on a long run because quite frankly its miles away. So focus on left-right-left-right and we'll worry about where we are in an hour or two.  Whereas if I'm running, like last night, on a time dictated run (hour while the little man was at karate class), I start of thinking about the finish from the off. Daft I know, but all the way I'm conscious of my position versus the finish.

Having done a few of each, give me the choice tomorrow and I'll take your Half-Marathon Race over a 10km race without a thought. Maybe its just me, but it just seems much harder, and I'm not sure I particularly enjoy as anything more than a midweek run to blow cobwebs away.  I'll get that sub-50 sooner or later, but then I'll forget about it and plot/dream/aspire to 4hr marathons and just running as far as my little legs will carry me ("little legs" is of course poetic license, lets face it, it sounds good - but at 6'4" there's nothing little about my 2 stilts.)

Heart was pounding at the end, but everything was back in working order very quickly after I'd finished.  Run was cold as hell and very blustery which might have helped with timing, but given that it was coming behind, upfront, sideways and even up my nose I'm surprised I didn't finish in Oz, but above all it was fun.  The end hurt, but it was a good hurt. A strain, but nice to feel yourself going that "fast", my fastest yet, apparently hitting 5:52 pace at one point (although I don't remember falling off a wall, so not sure how I built up that speed).

Finished my run, snaffled a Mars bar then picked up his Lordship from karate in time to see some pretty impressive spinning roundhouse kicks and we strolled home putting the world to rights.


  1. I love this post! I agree, kids are extremely inspiring. And congrats on that 10k, THAT in itself is inspiring news!

  2. Me too I love this post and think most kids smell too!

    Yes, the fast/shorter races scare the hell out of me but as they say if you want to run a faster marathon you are going to have to run a faster 5k, 10k and half first ;)