Posts Tagged ‘running’

A reprieve of sorts

The other one signed up to run 10km and not to be outdone I figured I might as well tag along, anything you can do…(as long as it doesn’t involve cars, teaching or growing beards). I wasn’t that up for it and was overjoyed when on the day, we got an email to say that the weather was too piss poor to do anything. A two week reprieve, plenty of time to get out there training,running, skipping, yoga-ing – right after I finish this (imaginary) jaffa cake doughnut. I shall not rest until I have one.

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The other one had been oscillating between whether or not to do the 10km run in the Seychelles marathon and with little training I’d already made the decision not to do it – until I found out that he was definitely doing it and MP were also considering doing the 5km walk. Not one to miss out or feel outdone that posed a problem, to run or not to run? Having already established I’m stupid, I decided to run, having run maybe twice in 2011 for a grand total of two laps (4km) around Roche Caiman and a little bit of skipping (not really a distance sport).

It was an early Sunday morning start and I was regretting my decision before I’d even left the house. We parked up and wandered over to the registration table where they couldn’t find any record of me, discovering several minutes later that I’d been registered as a male. Don’t know what the other one told them.

There were a few people limbering up and the familiar yellow inflatable that makes an appearance at every fun run was there too. I was more concerned with taking pics for Social Seychelles (on the site and also Flickr) than I was running, but could deny the reality no longer, the whistle was blown and we were off! We left MP behind as the runners jostled forward and it wasn’t soon after the other one peeled off and left me panting behind. The sun was strong and the hills were hard going as I trudged along, deferring gratification of pressing play on the MP3 player until I got to 5k. I think I’d needed it earlier. I was knackered and even some rousing tunes couldn’t urge me on to go faster. I didn’t even attempt to run the hills towards the Hilton, preferring instead to walk at a pace but not so fast that my bum wiggled idiotically from side to side.

As last time, the last kilometre was a killer and this time gathering to a sprint seemed beyond me but spotting a friendly face, it spurred me on and for maybe the last 50m I

A very tired Simon Labiche being interviewed by SBC

managed a bit of a run, only to be told off the other side for not going through the funnel, like silly me. I came in at about an hour 12minutes, a couple of minutes slower than last year but without any training I was pretty pleased. The other one had come in at just over an hour and both thoroughly knackered but happy we’d finished we splashed into the sea and floated our aches away. We hung around with MP to watch the first marathon winner come in, Simon Labiche made it at just under 3 hours I think, and as I do every time I see a marathon, I wonder why and how anyone can do it. As for Eddie Izzard. Mad.

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8km Victoria dash

Chores to be done? Avoiding staring at your social network obsessing over the numbers of new members joining? Then get away from it all. What better to do on a Saturday afternoon then run 8km round the world’s reputedly smallest capital, Victoria in the Seychelles. At 3pm, the heat of the afternoon, woo hoo.

Most people settled for the 4km race but no it was twice round the town for yours truly at 8km (trying to convince that I had ‘retained my tip top marathon condition’). Given that I had the ignominy of coming last in the women’s race, I think the only thing I barely managed to retain was my dignity.

Still beats cleaning gecko poo. And watching Social Seychelles do not very much.

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Start/finish line by the beach!

I was never gonna be a contender but the other one having decided to run 10km in the Seychelles Eco Healing Marathon and get (or wake me) up at 5.30am on a Sunday morning – well, why should he have had all the fun? (some might think that flawed logic I admit). So where in London I’d think myself successful if I dragged my sorry ass out of bed by 10.00, here in the Seychelles by that time I’d have been to the paper shop and back at least 50 times (if there were such things as Sunday papers and paper shops).

7.00am and still rubbing the sleep from my eyes and waking up to the realisation that I was about to run 10km (never before attempted) the starter gun went off, surprisingly on time. Off first were the proper marathon runners, followed by the half marathon-ers followed by 10k runners and 10k walkers.

The race started at Beau Vallon, curved round to Bel Ombre, back to Beau Vallon and then over to the Hilton near Glacis for the 10k. I recall someone saying there weren’t many hills- they didn’t know what they were talking about clearly. As I was overtaken by small boys who looked about eight, I began to worry. It was time for my secret weapon- my MP3 player.

Originally intended to give me much needed go faster stripes, it seems the MP3 morphed instead into an instrument of torture exposing fellow runners to a heady mix of bad singing in between ragged attempts to breathe. Still I couldn’t hear myself so that was ok.

The first 5km was not too bad, it was the second half, with the sun and humidity increasing that I found difficult. My goal and the other one’s was to try and run the whole 10km and not walk at any point, causing the very sensible people walking up the steep hills to look at us with some concern – though I’m not sure at one point a walking becomes a run, my status being indeterminate.

Having turned at the Hilton to head back into Beau Vallon, I did fleetingly enjoy the wonderful views of the coastline before plunging back into the pain of keeping going. The last couple of km I really started to feel it but was determined to sprint last few metres once the finishing line came into sight. Much to my annoyance, having summoned up the energy for an all out burst of running (humour me), some young punk kid just in front of me, about ten years old, saw me and started legging it. She pulled away, too far for me to trip her up dammit, so I had the glory of finishing the race heaving like a knackered thing while the little nipper, barely breaking a sweat, whupped my ass showing how it should be done. Still I made it in 1hr.10 – woo hoo, pat on the back me.

By far the best thing about the run – no not the achievement, the medal or the free t-shirt or even the free Kinder bar afterwards – was stripping down to swimmers, limping down to the beach, washing off the sweat and floating away my aches and pains idling in the Indian Ocean. Nothing beats that.

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And the prize goes to…

Our bodies were given a brief respite as we returned home to rest after the run before hauling ourselves back into town for the prize giving ceremony that followed the switch on of the Christmas lights (modest with not a whiff of D list celebrity).The winning relay team completed the 85km course in under five hours, amazing considering that they looked really normal with not a pair of stretchy leggings in sight*.

We came 15 out of 29, of which we were all proud (and just relieved not to be running anymore!). Failing to bag the prize for best time for an educational institution (galling seeing as though we were one of only two contenders), we did win one of five randomly drawn prizes of 1000 rupees (now maybe we can buy the t-shirts we ran in). Rumours were rife of cheating, perhaps unsurprising as a cash prize of 10,000 rupees was at stake, a lot by local standards, and here was us just running for the fun of it, crazy.

*we did see people running also barefoot, in proper shoes and flip flops!

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The 85km Relay Run

we get to keep this one

Nothing like getting up at 5am knowing that until nightfall you’ll be running relay round a small island in 30 degrees heat sat intermittently on a sweat infused bus wondering when the next toilet stop will be. Ah Seychelles life…

The run started ominously when the Vice President’s starter gun failed to work and in the melee of runners we lost one of our team though he was soon found again. Nine of us loaded on to the bus for a leisurely drive following ‘A’ who hotfooted off for an admirable 15km. A change of runner, officially marked by the swap of a towelling wristband (less enthusiastically grabbed as the race wore on and it got grubbier) and ‘T’ strode off for Beau Vallon. Our proposed next victim got a sudden urge to pee and there was I minding my own business taking some fresh air when a waving wristband came into view – that would be my turn then…

The humidity was stifling and my legs felt like treacle but I was encouraged by the sporadic toot of a horn and roadside onlooker though given that I was only running for ten minutes opportunities for crowd encouragement were limited. Signalling the bus, the other one took my place and wristband, and so it was a rota of the ten runners was established along with the realisation that we needn’t run ourselves ragged if there were fresh legs on the bus. According to our designated official (every team had one) most of our run times were no longer than ten minutes, though I’m proud of my four minute effort (and no a mile wasn’t covered) where a pressing need for the loo saw me run faster than I had in the race. It is a sad fact that the team will probably remember my lavatorial conquests (including a tea factory, police station, two community centres, a health clinic and numerous varieties of vegetation) rather than my actual running.

Team spirit was high though with lots of cheering for our runners and those from other teams that we overtook, fell behind and overtook again during the course of the day. Fairly quickly, the teams separated and we found ourselves somewhere between Air Seychelles, the Islands Development Company and a Community Development outfit. Sustaining ourselves with cake (who said we were professional?) and determined to maintain our position, we changed tactics towards the end of the race sprinting short bursts, helped enormously by the not yet mentioned fact that we had the national women’s champion over 100 metres on our team – get us (and no she didn’t eat cake). The gamble paid off as we gained on Air Seychelles (having lost them in the middle of the race) with our nominated end runner overtaking them in the last three km in a nail biting finish only to lose in the last 50m (boo hiss). As all runners had to run the last km, I mustered some energy from somewhere and sprinted as hard as I could for the end line, the other one having pipped me to the post cheering me on. Very disappointingly I was not given a foil blanket or goodie bag of any sort (and even the school t-shirts we wore we have to give back) so had to settle for the joy of the having around Mahe and completing the race in just seven and a half hours instead, which really I thought pretty ace – beats Oxford Street in December any day.

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Keep that good news coming

Found out today from a potential car buyer (not having access to internet, TV, radio or paper) that the government had some kind of budget thing this week. Guess what?

They’ve reduced the tax on imported cars by at least half. That’s the bottom falling out of the second hand car market then.


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Running to time

Fellow masochist marathon member, Alex, has invited us to join a weekly 5km timed run. Starting at Eden Island (swish residential park on reclaimed land that mere mortals cannot afford), the route takes in the national sports ground Roche Caiman before looping back to the island. The fact that I haven’t run as far as 5km since school is a little worrying but ever the optimist; for years I have been trying to find a sport I might be good at (this, despite my best efforts, has so far alluded me though as the other one has noted I haven’t tried competitive eating yet. However, I have my doubts as to its sporting provenance, my untapped talent I find less troubling).

Realising I am sock-less, I borrow a dirty pair from fellow newbie Jen – an auspicious start. Five minutes in and it’s clear that this isn’t my sport. The other three pull away, leaving me pootling at the back, convincing myself that the enjoyment of my surroundings–the airport road where cars get to go in fourth gear- is to blame. Extreme running Seychelles style. As we near Roche Caiman, Alex shouts that I could always return to Eden Island if I think I can’t manage the 5km, I mutter and huff to myself that this will not do. I persevere even though I think death is close and collapse some 31 minutes later, 5km done.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

It took me all night to recover.

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Born to run?

An email was received today from the Office of the Vice President who I would suggest is a tad underemployed) inviting the school’s participation in a running event in December. It has been my policy in life thus far to avoid any type of sport even if they put ‘fun’ in the title (who do they think they are kidding?). This has served me quite well – I am still alive and in possession of all faculties no minor feat given that I have previously injured myself on a banana boat that hadn’t yet moved off, tying an ice skating boot too tightly and falling from a sailing boat (note: these are the sober injuries only). But this was all Before Seychelles (BS).

Despite having only run round the block a few times in the fair streets of South East London, usually rewarded by a glass of wine and extra helping of tea defeating all purposes of exercise, we have been reborn into our new paradise promised lifestyle. So what the hell, I put myself down (as did the other one) to join the ten person team to run… 80 KM.

Shall I say that again?

80KM. Across the whole island. That’s more than two marathons.

Of course I would be lying if I said that I was running it all. Each person runs until they are tired and are then replaced by another masochist from the team who hops off the team bus that follows us (!)We worked out that an average time to do the whole race will probably be between 10-12 hours!! This prompted my immediate thought and more pressing concern, sod the running, what about my breakfast, dinner and tea?

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