Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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I first started running for exercise when I moved to Japan. It seemed to fit somehow with the new world and new life I was seeking out for myself. And I enjoyed the montage-life picture of myself running along the river side in the early morning light, back-dropped by strange Asian architecture.

I continued running off and on through a house move and a job-loss, gradually increasing my distance and time (though not to anything absurdly strenuous or impressive – at a guess I was getting close to 8 /9 km in 45 – 50 minutes of running). The increases in my exertion and stamina seemed to coincide “nicely” with the increasingly difficult nature of my personal relationships, and when, after 5 years of stress and heartache, my romantic relationship ended, running was an obvious choice to focus on.

Shortly after my 30th birthday, I entered my first proper road race – a 10 km race as a subset of the Tokyo Marathon to be held the following February in 2008. I wasn’t far off running 10 km at that point, and made it a personal goal to try to break the hour and be in the top 100 women running the 10km race.

I also entered a second race due to be held in March 2008. A 3okm race held in a city south of Yokohama. This is what I was *really* training for.

And training too hard, it seems, as two weeks before the Tokyo 10km, I injured my hip in what I now believe to have been a stress fracture. If it didn’t begin as one, it certainly finished that way, as I obstinately ran the 10km with a chip time of ~55 minutes, placing as the 88th runner in the women’s 10km. (Damn right I’m proud! :D )

The resulting injury and pain stopped me training in any way for 6 months, and in any way seriously for a year. 

In the meantime I moved back to Ireland, where I attempted to infect Gareth with my jogging joy.  

Mostly, it wasn’t a whole lot of joy for him. He joined me out of politeness, eagerness for fitness, and his usual open-minded willingness to try anything that doesn’t appear to hurt anyone other than himself. We managed 3 minutes of jogging before he begged for respite. I needed to reset my expectations, and a month or so later, we began our first attempt at this plan.

It was another year and many many resets later before we finally reached the end of it. Recovery following Swine Flu and Helen’s death was helped by running (the former on Dr.’s recommendations – I was surprised, but apparently jogging at least 15 minutes a day will help your sticky Swine Flu lungs).

It was at some point within this strugglesome training that we made the crazy decision to run the Cork City Marathon, approximately 2 weeks before our wedding this coming June.

Training is going according to schedule and we are ramping up slowly. This Saturday will see us sweating romantically through a quarter marathon distance (10.4 km), and in March, Gareth’s first road race, and my longest, in Craughwell, Co. Galway. We’re not expecting anyone to travel up to cheer us on, but if you have any internet cheers, we sure would appreciate them.

I guess I really can understand how Murakami-san wrote a whole book just on his jogging hobby!  Sorry for going on about it for so long, and congrats to anyone who made it down this far!  So, let me know – what do you think about, when you think about Running?

2 Responses to “Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”

  1. morgue Says:

    I think “this would be way more fun if there was a ball involved somehow”. Ball sports dude, to the bone, I guess :-)

    Great post by the way. Best wishes for the race!

  2. How Do You Run Like You’re Running Out of Time – epicuriosity Says:

    [...] long been an advocate of the benefits of running and many others have written more eloquently than I on the topic. My recent problem has more been [...]

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