Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Running club

The first rule of running club is that we don't talk about running club.

Actually that's a lie, because if we didn't talk about running club no one would go to running club, and if no one went to running club running club would probably go into receivership, and no one wants that, especially the runners. So we do, in fact, talk about running club. It just makes it sound more sexy and dramatic if we say we don't.

So, two years after my first aborted attempt to go to running club, and after intense pressure from Sweatband (and some sweet-talking by the club ladies immediately after the Dysart Dash a few weeks back) I finally went to running club - on my own, I hasten to add, because Sweatband was off working somewhere. Typical. Slacker.

Anyway, I'd actually gotten myself into the frame of mind to go, and would've gone last week if it hadn't have been for a little thing called, um, Panic at the Disco. Tonight being the night, though, I strolled along, eager to see what we'd be doing. Sweatband had told me that sometimes they do a nice run, other times they do some gentle training. It all sounded very pleasant.

"Ah, a good first night to come along," said one of the guys I'd got talking to after the Dysart Dash. "We're doing a five-mile run around Richmond Park tonight."


I was quietly cursing Sweatband by the time I'd been signed in as a guest, and had been given a number to pin to my top. Then I was asked what my best 10k time was so that they could work out a handicap for me; the run was being done on a staggered start basis so the faster people go last, and everyone generally finishes reasonably close together. Despite my continued cursing of Sweatband, I was quite pleased to see that I was given a handicap of 17 minutes and 30 seconds, which is pretty good - although I wasn't eligible for the first place cup because I'm not a club member. Oh well, not like I was going to be troubling that, anyway…

A couple of minutes later I was walking into Richmond Park along with a group of nice people to which I'd firmly attached myself because they seemed to know what was going on. About 1o minutes after that I watched the first runner head off into the depths of the park, and a short while after that - well, 17 minutes and 30 seconds to be precise - I lined up along with two other dudes before being sent on my merry way.

Now, what was a tad disconcerting was that there were no real markers to direct us where the route went exactly, except for some red plastic tape tied to the occasional tree (which could've been covert markers left by filthy doggers for all I knew), and several small mounds of sawdust on the ground (which I initially mistook for desiccated deer poo). That being the case, I relied more on the runners ahead of me, of which there were a fair few; obviously one of the chaps who'd stood alongside me at the start line had the same thought, and lagged behind me a bit so as to a) know where to go by following me, and b) to pace off me, which as anyone who's seen my crazy Nike+ graphs will attest to is a ludicrous idea at the best of times*.

Anyway, it all went swimmingly for the most part, except just past what I can only assume was the halfway point where the people in front of me evidently took a bit of a wrong turn and about six of us added what must've amounted to another 500 metres in distance and a couple of minutes to our time.

For anyone who's never been to Richmond Park, let me tell you this: it's a really rather wonderful place, teeming with wildlife and wonderful plants (many of which I probably stood on), and with amazing views over the whole of central London (a REAL city, I might add). There was one bit where I came running out of a wooded area into an open field, and the sun was shining brightly right in front of me. OK, it was a bit off-putting to have the sun shining right in my face, but it was a rather stunning sight. Unfortunately, Richmond Park is also rather hilly, and we were made to run up several of them. There were several times where I rounded a corner and thought the finish line would be in sight, but no, it was just another frickin' hill.

Eventually, though, after an epic 45 minutes and 29 seconds, I did reach the finish line, and it felt pretty awesome. Must of us hung around until pretty much everyone had finished before saying "sod it" and heading back to the club house to leave any stragglers to finish up in the last rays of sunlight on their own, and from there I headed home.

All in all, then, although my first time at running club was a bit of a trial by fire, it was well worth it, and I think I'll undoubtedly make the effort to go again. Who knows - maybe I'll even become a member? But just remember the first rule of running club: run like buggery because there's always someone faster behind you.

*Although seeing as the widget is broken no one's seen my graphs recently, have they…?


Tara said...

That made me happy about how you attached yourself to a group of runners because they knew what they were doing. I find myself attaching myself to people like that too. I did that as a bridesmaid, and I'm sure the maid of honor wanted to leave me behind in a dusty cloud of car exhaust. Oh well. Tee hee.

Good job with the run! Richmond Park reminds me of the Metroparks we have in Ohio.

T-Bird said...

Ooh! A running club! And it has a clubhouse? That sounds very official!

What's pacing?

Dinah said...

I haven't seen your widget lately (dirty?) and I miss it (dirtier?).

Yay, I'm glad you had a good time.

Tim said...

Tara - Oh god, yeah, I think you have to that in such instances or you'd just wander around on your own! I'm a firm fan of attaching myself like a parasite to people who look like they know what's going on!

T-Bird - It is! Apparently it's one of the oldest running clubs in the country! It started in the 1880s, and there's loads of photos in the clubhouse of Victorian-era runners in knitted running attire!

Pacing is basically where you attach yourself parasite-like to someone who is running at approximately the same pace as you, then just follow them. It's a bit like a greyhound chasing a rabbit.

Dinah - I know, it's very frustrating. Everyone who has this style widget appears to be having problems, so I might just try changing it to a different (i.e. less exciting one) until they sort the problem out. Which, I might add, they're taking their time doing. Humph!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Hmmph. It can't have taken you that long to look at the view of the City of London seeing as it's only 2.6 square kilometres. I certainly wouldn't call it a city, more of a large supermarket. Other cities, for example, measure 39.02 square kilometres...

I suppose congratulatory snaps is in order for your finishing time, so: * SNAPS! *

What's the second rule: Run faster because there's always someone liking buggery behind you?

watch*paint*dry said...

Well done you! I have never been to Richmond Park *gasp*
Maybe I'll come watch you run? Or chase you? I like chasing the boys.


T-Bird said...

OW! That snap reverberated all the way down here!

He hee! I like the second rule!

T-Bird said...

Paint - we almost collided then!

CyberPete said...

I think I'll have to camp out in Richmond Park sometime as it's so lovely.

Maybe I don't need a hotel, I can just set up camp (heee!) there.

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Not the square mile, you tit!

But thanks for the snaps. As for the second rule - do you go to running club too?

Watch*Paint*Dry - You've never been!? It's great, although it smells like ass a bit in places (I put that down to all the deer).

T-Bird - It's a globe-spanning snap! And watch out for Watch*Paint*Dry - she's breached the STC!

Cyberpete - Aren't the two distinct meanings of the word camp just marvelous?

T-Bird said...

Petra, that was gigglicious!

Paint Dry is totally breaching the STC! It was a close shave between my SS Garland and her SS Jarvis Cocker.

Can you all imagine how fabulous that collision would be?

Tim said...

Gawd, if that collision had taken place we could all have said in years to come 'do you remember the first time?'

CyberPete said...

I love that double meaning!

watch*paint*dry said...

@ T-bird: Spooky!
But there aint nothing like a little Razzmatazz with morning coffee.

*shakes out Heroes costume, pants over tights, and mops up blood from brain bleed trying to get a grip on STC*

watch*paint*dry said...

Erm. I don't mean 'pants' as in like a dog, I mean pants as in 'knickers'.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

* smirk snigger *

W*P*D: Oooerr, indeed!

Tim said...

Cyberpete - I bet you do!

Watch*Paint*Dry - Is that you heavy breathing?

Inexplicable Device - Don't encourage her! Or at the very least give her an inhaler or something - I think she might be having an asthma attack.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Cripes! I don't have an inhaler.

* hands W*P*D a snorkel tube instead *

Tim said...

What about a paper bag? Do you have a paper bag?

T-Bird said...

Watch Paint Dry - Oo er indeed! Snorkel pants and paper bag pants? What other sorts of pants are there?

Tim said...


Inexplicable DeVice said...

You mean those gigantic reinforced pants with attachment points for suspenders and the like?

* shudders in horror and uses paper bag meant for W*P*D to breath into *

watch*paint*dry said...

*Beats great big enormous granny knickers into submission with snorkel tube, while fending off suspenders*


*Sucks on inhaler, looks at it in confusion, reaches for something much much stronger*


*Bangs down therapist's door, need happy place NOW*

CyberPete said...

Just check the paper bag before you let WPD use it because we don't want her choking on any reciepts

watch*paint*dry said...

Why thank you for your concern Cyberpete!
I have paper bag over my head, can't be recognised with massive granny knickers!

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Oh, you're familiar with them? Did you just look down?

Watch*Paint*Dry - Well you can't say you weren't prepared!

Cyberpete - Or whatever IDV might've deposited in it.

T-Bird said...

*laughing uncontrollably at WPD*

You are one funny lady!

CyberPete said...


Tim said...

T-Bird - Who wouldn't be funny dressed like that with a paper bag full of IDV's vom on her head?

Cyberpete - Indeed!

watch*paint*dry said...

;> @ T-bird!

Uh-oh *brushes carrot from shoulder*

*Runs off in search of gurgling water from happy place*