Sunday, October 13, 2013

Non, Je ne regrette rien (not even le fondue)

Distance covered this week: 12.87km.

Distance covered on Friday 8.04km in a really quite feebly slow time.

Current Dubai temperature: A rather reasonable 30C.

This week's running training has been somewhat interesting as part of if was done in the Valee de Joux in Switzerland during a watch-related press trip. For those not in the know, the Valee is the rural home of many of Switzerland's best known watch companies including Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin.

I ran past some of the HQs before the sun was up as various high-powered corporate watch types commuted past me having got up way earlier than I did to make the journey from the cities of Geneva and Lausanne to their countryside offices. You may be wondering why the companies choose to have their head offices way out in what some of the Swiss call "the Siberia of Switzerland". The answer is: Tradition, as that is where they have always been. The origins of many Swiss watchmakers are that their ancestors were forced to remain indoors for the bitter winters having brought their herds of cows safely down from the mountains. Many started making watches as a hobby or as a second income. It turned out that they were pretty good at it and from the late 18th century onwards, many of the world's finest watches were made in the valley.

I got home from the trip at about 1am on Friday, and dragged myself out of bed six and a half hours later to go for the final long run before the half marathon which is on Friday, 18th October. It was not actually that long  a run - a mere five miles which sounds like a little walk in the park compared with the 10 and 11 mile efforts of previous weeks. The distances required tail right off at this stage so you don't wear yourself out. But, starting out on the run at 8am was a mistake. It is really quite staggering how a two-night trip away can get you completely out of the heat resistance habit. It even snowed while I was in Switzerland, that means a minimum 30C temperature difference, look:

Another factor was stuffing myself with cheese fondue, Swiss chocolate, Swiss wine, and that delicious meat thing where you cook the steak on your own miniature grill at the restaurant table.

I sat there telling myself that meat protein was vital for muscle repair and calcium from the chocolate and cheese for strong bones, and, it would be rude to refuse the wine as I was a guest. But alas, dragging my bloated liquid cheese-filled self around two and a half laps of our usual Downtown circuit on Friday morning was not pleasant. There was walking, there was chocolate, cheese and wine-related regret, there was trying out the Gu running food for rehydration purposes. This was mint chocolate, but tasted like sweetened baby poo compared with the high quality grass-fed Swiss moo-cow produced milk choccie I had been happily hurling into my gaping maw in Switzerland. The upshot is I'm now asking, how the hell was am I going to get round 13 miles if I can't even manage five properly? Alack, alack. What have I done?

Still, as a certain francophone songstress once said, in actual fact: "Non, je ne regrette rien", because OK, maybe not so much the wine, but definitely the chocolate and the fondue were BLOODY DELICIOUS. I am not an athlete, I never have been; I was literally the last to be picked for every sports team in every single sporting activity that took place in my entire school history. I am not the kind of person to sit in front of someone who has carefully organised a press trip on which one gets the opportunity to sample local delicacies and say: "No thanks, salad please, and can you mix this protein shake up for me?" No. That person is not moi, because, as the french-speaking Swiss would would say, that person is "un peu d'une wankerre".

So, come Friday, I would like to get around in two hours 30mins, but, I am resolved to be OK about it if I don't, as long as I get round before the three hour cutoff point when they start closing down the course! Even if 34-year-old creaky-kneed over-sized illuminous orange vest sporting me only hobbles across the finish line at 2hrs59 mins 59 secs, she'll still be fairly unrecognisable in comparison with the Victoria plum t-shirt wearing five-year-old me who thought the best policy for catching a rounders ball was closing her eyes, sticking her hands out and muttering the Lord's prayer under her breath.

This has always been about raising dosh for charity and was never about killing myself or setting half marathon records, which is probably a good thing as anyone who has ever done one will tell you, 2hrs 30 is not exactly elite. Luckily for me, one of the many great things about my Mum, who this run is for, is that she used to tell me when I was in my particularly gawky uncoordinated school teenage years that she thought that making pre and post-pubescent girls run around in a state of half-undress on freezing cold playing fields in the name of physical education was tantamount to child abuse, so I seriously doubt she will be expecting sporting greatness from  me.... I'm pretty sure she meant that and wasn't just trying to make me feel better when news reached her that my attempt at the school inter-house cross country competition had resulted in me running past spectators telling them they "better get out of the way.... RIGHT NOW" because projectile vomiting was imminent. My sister reminded me just now, with tears of laughter pouring down her cheeks, that a further humiliating factor of this particular cross country run attempt was that I was running in a "reserve vest", so all the pain, the lungs burning from the freezing rain and icy air and being covered in mud and of course, coming last, were all for nothing as my time would only have been recorded if one of the better runners had had to drop out. And, having seen my feeble athletic attempts, there is no way any of the better runners could possibly have thought they were worse off than me, so none of them dropped out. So it was literally completely pointless. It's a small wonder I did almost no physical exercise from the ages of 16 through to 28.


We'll see you on the other side. In the mean-time, take it away, Edith: (Another good one for the play list, particularly this week). And for nearly the last time, if you have not yet sponsored us yet and wish to do so, please click here.

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