Adverse Camber

I started this blog to get me through the London Marathon 2011. It was quite a challenge as I only started running on the 3rd of May 2010. I finished the marathon with painful blisters and quite a lot of money for a great charity!

This blog is now taking me on a new journey - to a fitter lifestyle aided by running.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Art of Endurance

I am not happy today.  Really, crushingly disappointed with myself in fact.  It is hard not being a winner and in fact being the complete and total opposite.  You see, most things I turn my hand to I am more than capable of - I can write, act, sing, teach, recite the alphabet backwards and in police speak.  I can recite a Wordsworth poem from memory, enthuse a class of children - even make my colleagues laugh on occasion.  I can imitate pretty much any accent you could ask me to 'do'.  I always did well academically (with the least effort it may be said) and I've always been employed and employable.  I have a job I enjoy.  I achieved a life-time ambition in April by completing the London Marathon.  And here we get to it - the root of my failure.  I am a crap runner.  Despite applying myself to running for the past 14 months I am still pretty rubbish.  Not in distance, oh no - I can run 26 miles thank you very much.  But even when I do one, two or three I cannot run any FASTER and I am fed up of being a failure.

Today was the launch of the first Barnet parkrun in my local, Oakhill Park.  Parkrun is the nicest weekly event hosted by the nicest bunch of volunteers.  And here is my problem.   I kept them waiting a whole 7 minutes and 20 seconds after the runner before me finished.  

A couple of women joked about being last at the start line and I told them, "Don't worry, I'm always last".  And it is true - I am!  I just cannot run any faster.  I was last in my half marathon, last in Barnet on the Move's 5k and now last again in the Parkrun.  I wouldn't mind but I finish red faced and panting - the effort has gone in! 

When running my laps (and being lapped) I even rehearsed excuses to excuse my lamentable running skills.  Here is a selection:
  • I've just had an operation (on my hand)
  • I haven't done many miles over the last month (3)
  • I haven't slept the last two nights
  • I still need to lose some weight, don't I!
  • I'm really a distance runner
Then I started telling myself my mindset was dooming me to failure, I needed to be more positive.  So I tried:
  • You couldn't run AT ALL 15 months ago
  • You ran the friggin marathon
  • You are trying
  • You keep going
  • Experts say spend your first year building up the distance and the next year working on the speed
But somehow, the negative thoughts became more powerful and overwhelmed me so I am left feeling like this awful failure because for once in my life something has not come easily to me and I will have to work very hard to make small steps of progress.  It's not easy being a failure - but I guess it's a lesson we all have to learn at some point in our lives, we can't all be perfect.

I will go to parkrun next week, I just might alternate between Oakhill and Grovelands so I keep different people waiting each week and spread the misery.


  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    it sounds like you're a very determined person. Congratulations on completing the marathon!
    I'm also quite a slow runner and when I asked for advice I was told to try circuit training and using a cross trainer to help improve my speed. I'm not sure yet how effective they will be as I've been injured for six weeks and only started back running two weeks ago.
    Do you run alone or are you part of a club?
    Well done again on your fantastic achievements!
    Mel x

  2. I prefer running alone, so I don't run with a club. I'm working with a PT on general fitness to try and get fitter and faster!!!

  3. It sounds like you've got it in hand. I'd like to get under 30 mins for 5k. I need to get myself back to park run as I haven't been for a couple of months!
    I did go to circuit training last week and I really hurt for two days after, lets hope it pays off!
    Good luck and I hope all your hard work pays off.
    Mel :)

  4. Oh a 30 minute 5k is a dream of mine! One day!