Is running more addictive than porn, and other questions on my mind during my lockdown runs

It’s day 537353928 of lockdown. Yeah, yeah. We’ve all chirped this corny joke. But it’s true. It’s been long and drawn out and for most runners, the only thing keeping us sane is the 6-9 am exercise slot.

As always, it’s the time alone on the road where my own thoughts (and lately bizarre questions) drown out my heavy breathing.

Speaking of heavy breathing…

The Strava vs. Pornhub strategy is an interesting one. Hear me out.

Pre the early morning exercise allowance, we ran endless paths across our lawns. We trotted up and down our driveways and for some athletes, it meant jogging circles on teeny tiny balconies. But the fact is that even though there’s a global pandemic, you won’t stop runners from doing what they love. Why? Because we’re addicts!

So then my question is: what’s up with Strava? Knowing how important (and addictive) exercise would be to most people globally craving the freedom of outdoors, they’ve made no effort at all to give us free access to their Premium service? Even temporarily until lockdown ends. But now, they’re removing some of the free stuff.

If you compare this to Pornhub who (I heard, *cough*) opened up premium access to its site with this statement, “With nearly one billion people in lockdown across the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that we lend a hand and provide them with an enjoyable way to pass the time.”

I’m disappointed in Strava.

I figure it would’ve been such a prime opportunity to let as many people as possible trial the Premium service that they keep trying to promote knowing that should it be worthwhile, we would definitely continue with after lockdown. Or not? It feels like so much else has been offered as free. Free yoga, free gym, free online learning. But to track my 5 km run, nope. 

<Edited: After I posted this blog, I received so much support from the running community, and I realized that perhaps I had not done my homework. It appears that they have extended the free trial, that they’re a small company & I should be supporting small businesses now more than ever.>

But hey, we keep running…

Does anyone else find running with the face mask tough? I can’t breathe properly so I’ve been sticking with the buff since it’s easier but boy does my whole face sweat! Here’s a trick in how to make sure the buff stops sliding down your face…

One more thing…

If I’m the only one who drinks the milk at home, and we’re not getting visitors during the lockdown, surely it’s acceptable for me to drink the milk straight from the bottle? Yes? No? Whatvevs, this is the new norm of lockdown. Pffft.

Running, porn, or milk. No judgment from me. It’s what we need to do to survive COVID-19. I’m sure you’ll agree. 

Been there, got the running vest

I couldn’t wait to share this post with you! Check out my new running vest! Zoom in closer and spot the name above the Randburg Harriers club name. *squeals* Yip! My blog!

I know, awesome, right? When the club secretary said we could have any name printed on our vests, I couldn’t believe my luck! Having the name of my running blog on my running vest just feels like the most perfect spot too.

Yeah, so as you can tell, we’ve moved running clubs and joined Randburg Harriers Running Club. It only made sense. My running coach, Michelle, coaches her runners on Monday & Saturday from Harriers. I’ve been hanging out with the Catch Me If You Can Randburg group on Thursdays. KK and I have been joining the club for their weekend long runs and lately, it feels as if we’re always at the club for something or other. It feels right to support them fully.

We’ve also made loads of friends at the club. What a difference it makes to run with people who stalk you on Strava. *snort*

Speaking of support, I’ve never been one to purchase my race photographs. I cringe when someone uploads them to Facebook and tags me. Until recently…

As a small business owner, I’ve woken up to the fact that when entrepreneurs such as ourselves are supported in this country, there is hope.

At the time of writing this post, road races have been canceled, even time trials and weekend runs at Randburg Harriers are off. That doesn’t help all the people behind the scenes, many of which relied heavily on these events as income. Such as photographers.

So my plea to you is this: consider buying one (or more) of your race photos from SMacPix

Pricing per photo starts at R17 each & there are different sizes to choose from. Ordering is so simple, you can even pay with Zapper & there’s no waiting – the photos are available for download immediately.

Also and perhaps more importantly, don’t abandon your running coach. Use the next few months to reset the goals. Use the “downtime” to focus on all the other aspects of running that we often neglect – strength training, form, mindset.

Take time to think of all the ways you can support others during this time of uncertainty.

And even if you can’t run races, there are so many more ways that running fuels the soul. You need to keep running…

Look at KK! FFS. I wish I looked this good after running a marathon! Seriously dude.

Unsponsored post.

 

 

Thoughts out on a run…

I recently stumbled across a running article that had me nodding my head in agreement a few times. It’s a brilliant piece with nuggets that I’d recommend every runner start their New (running) Year off reading.

My favourite line from the article is this one:

“People run where they want to be at instead of running where they’re at.”

I see countless runners uploading frustrated runs to Strava because they expected to be running faster each and every time. Hey, I’m guilty too! The runs are recorded as, “My run is super slow, I’m irritated.” or “Legs like lead” and even, “Don’t know what’s wrong with me, walked on my run.”

Sound familiar?

Instead of focusing on where I am with my running, I’m focused on where I’m aiming to be and somehow expecting that each and every run recorded must be an improvement. That’s an awfully tough high expectation set.

How absolutely ‘gawjuss’ are these Vivolicious tights! #unsponsored

Which leads me to this…

At last week’s track session, my running coach Michelle went into detail about the Jack Daniels (no, the other one) pacing methodology which she uses in her training.

With a pen & paper in hand, she drew a couple of circles to explain what we’re doing and why the need for different pacing for different runs.

It’s important, she explained, that we respect an easy run to be just that. Easy. 

And that when we do our track sessions, it’s a quality session where the focus is more often than not, on speed (I & R paces) and form.

That was the lightbulb moment for me.

There is a time and a place to be running different paces and for different purposes. Your training program needs to be broken up into these phases so that you’re reaping the full benefit for your long term running goals.

It really is okay to be running my long run at an E pace which is over a minute slower than what I’m used to running. Not only is it okay, but it’s also expected. What a relief!

It is about running where I’m at now, instead of trying to run where I’m aiming to be.

That will come. For now, I’m going to be enjoying those easy Sunday long runs.

Post-run cool downs. These are CW-X tights. Still gutted we had to close down our business.

Me too, Eliud Kipchoge!

No matter what kind of runner you are – trail, road, track, jogger, Parkrunner – when you watched Eliud’s incredible run on that Saturday morning, you felt it. The anticipation, the nerves, the pain, the glory!

In these final moment, seeing him sprint to the finish and the pacemakers cheering him on, I cried like a baby!

I hung on to every word he uttered. It was magnetic. That sense of determination, the positivity and the conviction that it was possible. #NoHumanIsLimited…I wanted more!

Sport unites people. And in my bond with running, I’ve learnt over the years that runners are united by common experiences and emotions. You don’t have to be Eliud Kipchoge, Ann Ashworth or even Ryan Sandes to experience the same fears, ups and downs and personal victories as they do.

In the many pre and post record-breaking run interviews with Eliud, there were three times where I caught myself nodding my head and thinking, “Yes, me too!”

1. The nerves.

According to Eliud, the hardest hours in his life were between 5 o’clock and and 08h15 waiting to run. For me, this is the hardest part of running. Waiting for the race to get going. Waking up in the dark after a sleepless night, the chilly morning, the queues at the loos, the countdown to when that gun goes off. Longest hours ever!

It’s mentally shattering. I don’t know about you, but my stomach goes into overdrive and I get “running coughs” which sound like I need to vomit. I am yet to fine tune my body’s ability to control my nerves. Eliud must’ve been a bag of them!

2. It’s taught me patience

One of the Google questions posed to Eliud was “what has he learnt about running?” His answer was being patient. Yes, me too.

Improvement comes with consistency and discipline. But with these two is also patience. It doesn’t come immediately. In fact, I’ve seen that it has taken a few years to get to the runner I am today. And I’m not only talking about the physical results, but more mentally.

3. What do you love most about running?

What would your answer be?

When Eliud said, “It can make your mind think properly” it nailed it for me. When you’re out on the road, especially running your long run allowing your head to wander, you think about the big and small issues in your life.

You have the debates, you ask the questions and often, by the end if the run, you have your answers. Having conversations with yourself out on the road is one of the most rewarding gifts as a runner.

Running unites. But runners unite.

I found this quote which sums it up for me: “In a world separated by distance, time, language barriers, financial hardships, family obligations, and political views — I find we are more alike than we know as I run down the road. We are all out on our journey to whom we want to become; we find we are all moving forward, at our own pace, on a path called life, together.”

Ps: Was it just me or did it look like everyone was trying to get a PB on their Sunday morning long runs on Strava? LOL

Thank you Eliud Kipchoge.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner