I mentioned a little a while ago that I bought some ridiculously bright pink running shoes in an attempt to run faster. After a reasonable testing period, I am thinking of writing to the manufacturer to tell them that THEIR SHOES AREN’T WORKING PROPERLY.
As a bit of background, I am not what you’d call a natural athlete. It is not a genetic gift with which the children in my family were blessed. I mean, you know, we can all walk without bumping into stuff, but we weren’t really runners or netballers or footballers or gymnasts or swimmers. My younger brother and I were t-ball players (and I don’t even know if that version of junior baseball exists anymore) and I played volleyball and a teeny bit of tennis in high school. Where the coach was the same creepy old dude that had coached my mother when she attended the same school some decades earlier, so it wasn’t exactly Wimbledon.
Anyways, a few years ago I started to run a bit because it seemed like the thing to do. I felt like I was still too young and too dog-less to be going for walks, and running always looked pretty cool. When I watched other people doing it, that is. I was running a few times a week for a while there (the Bay Run in Sydney was my stomping / slumping ground) and my fitness improved and I remember feeling fairly self-righteous after I exercised. But then I fell off the wagon. And the cruel thing about a long break in exercise is that it’s not like riding a bike – your body (well, at least, my body) doesn’t pick up right where it left off and say, ‘oh yeah, we’re running again – I remember this, let’s go’. Not even close.
So now I’m starting again. Along a beautiful track, with my new shoes, the Pinkies, for motivation. And since I’m a bit older, I don’t want to risk getting injured or collapsing on the side of the road, so I’m following a training program called Couch to 10k. I had started with a Couch to 5k program a few years ago and I liked the gradual increase in intervals, so that the running kind of snuck up on you. And I also liked the way they encouraged you to take a day off every other day.
I found an app called 10K for Pink – it’s a free app that someone somewhere had recommended and it’s pretty good – I’m up to Week 6 of the 14 week program now. It’s great because I can just concentrate on breathing while I play my music and a lady in an upbeat voice interrupts at intervals to tell me what to do – “start running”, “start walking”, “you have one minute left” and my favourite: “start your cool down”.
If the Pinkies aren’t exactly making me faster, at least they’re super-light, which must surely mean that it’s a little easier to lift my feet. And it also means that I have no excuses when I go on a couple of trips later this year – the Pinkies will be coming with me, tucked into my suitcase and ready to run in the northern hemisphere. Since the first trip is in a few weeks, I thought I should introduce the Pinkies as (a) it will help to keep me running, now that you know and (b) they may post from their travels if they run across any everyday sparks. And if you’re thinking of running, you can check out the Couch to 10k program that I’m using here. It did seem like a good idea at the time!