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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, or Yes, We Have No Bananas

March 1, 2010

You don’t have to read all of this, there’s a handy synopsis at the end.

So, my lovely charity, Children with Leukaemia, invited all its Golden Bond runners for a jolly day out in London this weekend: “Come to Hyde Park!” they said “Let’s go for a little run. We’ll have some lunch back at the hotel across the road and have a chat about training” they said. “Ooh” I thought, “That’ll be quite nice” – lots of Golden Bond runners, all in the same boat, I mean, there won’t be any serious runners there, will there? How wrong I was! I arrived at the hotel and found myself in a room full of “I can run a marathon in 2hrs 20 mins”-type runners – “So and so runs for the country you know” “Really? Good for him – bet he’s got no life” I thought. Someone else says “I had a terrible run last week, I only managed 13 miles in an hour 15 mins.” “Disaster!” methinks. Another pipes up “I only started running 12 months ago and now I can run a half marathon in 10 minutes!” (OK that’s an exaggeration, but you get the picture – she had crap hair anyway).

“Don’t forget guys, we need you to wear your vests so we can spot you in the park” the lovely chap from our chairty had reminded us – “Spot” us? We are visible from space in these things:

The vests are lovely but yellow doesn’t look good on someone whose skin is so pale, it’s virtually transparent – I know! I’ll wear my black thermal base layer underneath, that’ll overcome the problem. Ah yes, it made the vest look less hideous on but little did I realise that it would make me so incredibly hot that halfway round the second lap I would seriously consider streaking past the Bandstand to cool off!

Off we go, I’m dying for a wee – should I run back? No, I’ll expend valuable energy, it’s not worth it, I’ll take the risk. Soon, all 100 of us set off – the pace is faster than I would like, so I hang back “They’ll soon slow down once they realise they’ve gone too quickly”. Ha! No sooner said than all 99 of them disappear around a corner, never to be seen again until lap two when most of them run by me as I emerge from the ladies’ toilets; I couldn’t hold on any longer – although I’d managed to resist the temptation of the inviting bush I ran past earlier. I am unfazed and adopt my “I look as if I’m walking but I’m really running” run. By the end of the second lap, I decide to retire my lead boots for the day – nine miles and I’m shattered and disheartened, this didn’t happen last week! I expect I should put it down to “one of those days” and forget about it. It’s difficult though, you’re on a high from finishing your first half marathon in 2hrs 25 mins (a good time for me) and the very next week, it takes an hour to run the first three miles – yet strangely only an hour to run the next six miles – how does that work?

On a more positive note, I have hatched a scheme that may lead to my never having to pay for a single banana ever again in my life. I stumbled upon the idea just last week after the Sussex Beacon Half Marathon – about the only highlight to the whole of that miserable, wet, sleepless weekend was the fact that I managed to stockpile a week’s supply of bananas. I love a banana, me, so I was delighted when the marshals seemed to shove bananas at me at every opportunity – better still, my running pal HATES bananas, so I bagged her stash too!

Imagine my excitement when I returned to the hotel for the lunch we’d been promised and I beheld this wondrous sight:

– now my dilemma: how to grab a week’s supply of bananas with no-one looking. “OK”, I thought, perhaps the best strategy was a stealth point-to-point tactic, whereby I would approach my target obliquely in small steps so as not to arouse suspicion. The first objective (three bananas) was met easily, I had, after all, just come back from a long, arduous run – no one would turn a hair. However, repeat assaults on the banana depot could prove to be more difficult.

Fortunately for me, the fools had left the bananas unguarded, giving me a valuable window of opportunity, the adrenalin overcame the fear of being caught and I attempted a full-frontal assault. Stealthily, I disengaged from the action and ninja-like, crept unnoticed from the room full of people listening attentively to the talk on all things “London Marathon”, to the high-security banana storage facility. Imagine my horror when I discovered that there was in fact someone on sentry duty – I could see from the cut of his jib that resistance on his part would be slight. Luckily, there’d been a changing of the guard, so he didn’t realise I’d already been in once before “Phew!” I said “I’ve only just finished my run – you don’t mind if I take a banana (or five) do you? I’m STARVING”. Perhaps he could tell by the frenzied look in my eye that it would be unwise to challenge me. How easy it was – my mission accomplished – another week’s supply of bananas in the bag (literally!) – Milton Keynes Half next week – they’d better have some bananas or there’ll be hell to pay!

I had a humiliating and rubbish weekend (BOO)
I got loads of bananas (YAY)
I really want more bananas next weekend (and a medal) (possible YAY)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. kusasi permalink
    March 1, 2010 10:53 pm

    Love the synopsis! (though I read the whole thing – I promise!).

    Two YAYs and only one BOO, that’s not bad is it? Meat Loaf didn’t seem to think so …

  2. March 1, 2010 10:56 pm

    Ahhh! Trust you to make me laugh out loud and wake the neighbours! Who’da thunk it, a humble blog post by little old me could inspire thoughts of the MIGHTY MEATLOAF!


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