New Year, Old Me

WHY I WON’T BE MAK­ING ANY RES­O­LU­TIONS THIS FIRST OF JAN.

Runner's World South Africa - - HUMAN RACE - BY LISA ABDELLAH lisa abdellah is a badass run­ner in the morn­ing, a free­lance jour­nal­ist by day, and at night she likes to think she’s a wine con­nois­seur.

OVER THE FES­TIVE SEA­SON, we’re all guilty of shov­ing mince pies down our pie holes and par­ty­ing till dawn, be­cause we’ve awarded our­selves a get-out-of-Christ­mas-fat-free card. How? By kid­ding our­selves that come the first of Jan­uary, we’ll em­bark on a mirac­u­lous jour­ney: from fes­tively plump to fit and svelte.

But res­o­lu­tions are eas­ier made than car­ried out, if the ones I set last year are any­thing to go by:

1. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT

Well, this one never got off the ground. But re­ally, in my opin­ion get­ting rid of all the high-kilo­joule junk from your cup­board goes against the ethos of run­ning. Why do we put our­selves through the pain of run­ning a marathon, if not to feel less guilty about in­dulging in a juicy burger?

Case in point: I once re­turned home from a race feel­ing dis­ap­pointed about my re­sult. I re­clined on the couch, quaffing a glass of bub­bly – which was com­fort­ing, whether I was cel­e­brat­ing or drown­ing my sor­rows.

I com­plained to my hus­band, Alex: “I lined up at the start of that race with women who were half my age and one-eighth my size.”

“Okay,” said Alex. “How d’you think the woman who won the race is toast­ing her vic­tory?”

I thought for a mo­ment, sip­ping my cham­pers. Then I replied: “By eat­ing a stick of cel­ery.”

“Ex­actly.”

Good point. But that epiphany aside, don’t you think it’s aw­ful we’re so pres­sured into fol­low­ing whichever diet the lat­est Hol­ly­wood star is propos­ing? Try eat­ing a plate of ac­ti­vated bark when your mate’s tuck­ing into a juicy burger. Both con­tain pro­tein, Gwyneth, but I can tell you which one I’d rather have.

Just eat what you love... but not too much.

2. I WILL HTFU

What, even if it’s be­low freez­ing out­side, pour­ing with rain, and the wind’s blow­ing at 50 kays an hour? Let me un­pack this for you:

A) No way I’m hit­ting my 4 min/km tar­get pace if I have to bat­tle Mother Na­ture in the mid­dle of a storm; and

B) In deal­ing with this weather I’ve caught the dreaded lurgi any­way, which means a lay-off from run­ning of at least two weeks.

Get real. There’s toughing it out, and there’s down­right lu­nacy.

3. I WILL RUN A MARATHON

“Well, you can’t call your­self a real run­ner un­til you do.”

Oh, puh-lease. It takes six months for an ex­pe­ri­enced run­ner to train for a marathon. Com­pare that with the TWO YEARS it took me to train for a sub-20-minute 5-K, and (when the day of my time trial fi­nally ar­rived) for the quad-wrench­ing, lung-busting tor­ture I went through to run at top speed for just 20 min­utes.

And... well... shut your pie hole!

4. I WILL GET INTO YOGA

News­flash: we run­ners aren’t bendy.

Cast your eye over a group of us at­tempt­ing a cool-down stretch, and you’ll wit­ness a painful scene in­deed. We try to touch our toes, and hardly get as far down as our knees.

Stand on one leg and stretch our quads? You must be jok­ing. I tried that once, and ended up fall­ing over!

Any­way, not only is stretch­ing in pub­lic hu­mil­i­at­ing; if you overdo it and make your mus­cles too long, it can lead to in­jury – and an­other long lay-off from run­ning.

5. I WILL RUN A TRAIL RACE

As a die-hard road run­ner, I can tell you that trail run­ning’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sport to road. Ask­ing a roadie to hit the moun­tain is like ask­ing some­one who’s never gone shoe­less to ham­mer out 20km bare­foot.

Don’t get me wrong: when I tried trail, I started out with the best of in­ten­tions. Faced with a near-ver­ti­cal as­cent, I pow­ered straight up. Sure enough, my road-run­ner’s quads tired around the umpteenth step. My head went all fuzzy with the al­ti­tude. And that’s when I started mak­ing mis­takes...

I hadn’t strength­ened my an­kles and sta­bilised my core first, so my body couldn’t han­dle the ter­rain. A slime­cov­ered twig here, an AC­TUAL rag­ing river there, and... Aargh! Twisted an­kle. An­other month off run­ning.

What can you learn from my NewYear’s-res­o­lu­tion ex­pe­ri­ence?

Don’t make a res­o­lu­tion just be­cause it’s that time of year again, and all your run­ning mates are do­ing it, right now, this sec­ond.

And if your res­o­lu­tion isn’t en­joy­able, it isn’t worth mak­ing. In­dulging in one juicy burger (see above) doesn’t mean you’ve aban­doned your run­ning goals al­to­gether!

GET REAL. THERE’S TOUGHING IT OUT, AND THERE’S DOWN­RIGHT LU­NACY.

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