"My body is a temple. The Mayan Ruins. That's a temple." - My fella. Yesterday.
One thing I have learned to appreciate recently is that consistency is Key.
Not willpower. Not motivation. Routine and Consistency.
Good things rarely come to fruition by a massive and one-off action, but by multiple small, routine actions, a few steps forward, sometimes a few steps back. Mistakes. Some fine tuning in the approach. A longstanding fan of rapid gratification, in the past few years, I have learned the valuable lesson of patience.
Recently I have made a few changes to my lifestyle, prompted by some increasing muffin-top in my jeans. Sulking and bemoaning only acted to make me feel worse about myself.
I ramped up my exercise, taking up a weights session in addition to the running training. I have been keeping my more decadent food choices to the weekends, where I try not to go too berserk.
I have made these changes many times in the past, and they have worked. My difference now is in the approach; I realise that this sort of stuff is what most (apart from the genetically blessed) have to consistently do to remain healthy. We have become very enchanted by the quick fix. Our concept of the intensity and length of effort required to be our best physical selves has become skewed. Many people (myself included sometimes) believe that everyone else has it easier than what they themselves do, and they have to work a whole lot harder and it's just not worth trying.
I've also drunk a big fat mug of "no good comes from comparing yourself to others" and a big glass of "focus on what you've achieved" and a beaker of "learn from your mistakes, don't berate yourself too much for them". Plus coffee. And wine (but mostly only on the weekends).
I am starting to see and appreciate some results! Muscles are popping out! It has helped my mood no end.
Anywho, getting to the point, the Melbourne Marathon was on yesterday. This is the biggest event on the Melbourne Fun Run calendar. They had a Marathon (42.2km), Half-Marathon (21.1km), 10km, 5.7km and a 3km walk. I entered the 10km event, as my goal for this year was to run a stronger 10km.
After a glorious day on Saturday, the forecast for Sunday was diabolical, with wind, hail and rain on the radar. When I pitched up at the 'G very early on Sunday, it was partly cloudy, cool and still. Perfect running conditions, really.
By some stroke of luck, I found a loo with no queue. Lolled around, did some stretching. Lolled around a bit more. Then I noticed that no other 10k'ers were around and I thought "bugger, I've missed the start".
So I got my warmup by sprinting across the bridge in a panic. Luckily the slow wave had not set off yet...phew.
I have given up wearing GPS watches or iPods. I prefer to soak up the atmosphere of a race, and I don't like to worry about what exact clock pace I am running, I like to go by feel and old school watch. Unfortunately when everyone else is wearing earphones the sense of camaraderie is diminished (and the risk of a 5 person pileup increased). I love seeing runners from the Achilles running club, they are usually blind people running accompanied by a couple of volunteers- I always give them a cheer.
I turned out the first 5km at a dead-even pace. After the first five km, I decided to try and step up the slightly, the so-called negative split. A negative split is a sign of a good run.
At about 5.5km, there was a small cheer squad - perhaps the Lululemon girls? They were waving signs like "Too Legit to Quit" and "Your badASSness is showing". This got me smiling and right in the zone to pick it up.
I just kept on, slightly uncomfortable, with head down, working away. A bit of pain up the Barak Bridge, relaxing with the downhill. The last 1.5km or so was a drag. Flat, boring and with a bastard hairpin.
It was a relief to run into the 'G. I picked it up, and overtook a few folks. I crossed the finish line with arms aloft. I was proud of that run.
It was not my best ever time, but it was consistent and a small but steady improvement compared with recent runs. Strong to the end and with a spirited finish. Head down, bum up and not showy-offy. Something to work off. That's the kind of thing I like to do.
After the race, I sat around and watched some of the Africans win the Marathon and Half-Marathon....their running is beautiful to watch. I saw Lisa Weightman run a personal best time, and win the ladies' marathon. I saw a lady collapse near the finish of the half-marathon, struggle to get up, and have some fellow competitors go back and collect her and carry her across the finish line (that got the spectators on their feet).
After, I walked from the MCG into the city, seeing folks toward the end of their Marathon, while having fond memories of mine. I saw some people in not-flash shape, but others were smiling and gliding along.
And then it started pissing down and I went home.
Now, I would like to remind you of some fine early '90s hip hop -
2 Legit 2 Quit....gosh, I forgot how catchy MC Hammer is.... I should totally put this on an iPod for running music...