As you know, I spend much of my time sitting in studios doing this:
As you also know, I spend other times on sofas in TV studios, doing this:
But as you may not know, when I’m not doing all my meedja stuff, dahling, and pretending to be all important,
I started running when I was about six when everyone else was watching Crackerjack, and came last in my Primary Sports Day 100m dash;
I ran for my Secondary School when everyone else was getting stoned behind the chapel, and came last in the County Cross Country Championships;
I ran for my University after 3 years of training in the college bar, and came last in the 1500m of the 1996 Varsity Match at Iffley Road in Oxford.
Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile there.
I broke my toe kicking the toilet door open when it got jammed.
Since then I’ve done my level best to trash what was left of my knees, hamstrings and Achilles tendons, by running various 5kms, 10kms and hill races. My mission has proved so successful that, now approaching the age known as That Which Renders One Unable To Drink More Than Two Glasses Of Wine Without Having A Hangover For A Week, I now struggle to run more than half an hour without some part of my body falling off and rolling into a ditch by the side of the road.
I’ve had Achilles problems for a year, my hamstrings have long since gone on strike, and my knees have launched a counter-attack, subtly codenamed DISINTEGRATE.
But I still run. Because I LOVE IT. And because, as you also know, I’m an idiot.
Today was a special and happy one in my running life, because I ran my first half marathon.
I’ve never considered doing anything as idiotically long as this before, but the short story is that when I was out running recently, a group of extremely good-looking, fit young men started running with me, and told me I was so good at running (= ‘would you like to sleep with me?’) and so fit (= ‘I would like to sleep with you.’) that I should definitely enter the first Cambridge Half Marathon, because I’d do awfully well, what with being so fit and all (= ‘I really think you should sleep with me.’)
I played hard to get and entered the race as soon as I got home.
And thus it came to pass that, after a month of injury, ice packs, Ibuprofen, sitting on my bum, stretching and sitting on my bum again, this time with wine, I took to the start line today.
And WHAT A DAY!!!!! The sun was out, Cambridge sparkled, 3000 runners had the time of their lives, thousands more lovely spectators cheered us on, and a great time was had by all.
I smiled while running:
Blew kisses while running:
And beat lots of men:
This, of course, is 90% of the reason why I run. But you knew that already.
I hit a massive ‘wall’ at the 8 mile mark, but once I’d realised it was easier to run on the path, and not into walls I was fine.
Between eight and ten miles was at least 8 on the International Pain Scale of 1-10, and I thought I’d have to stop. By ten miles I could literally barely hobble or bend my knees, let alone run.
11-13 miles was the most pain I’ve been in since the last time I squeezed 9lbs of human out of my holiest of holies, but at least after the race I knew I would get a free massage and some Cheese and Onion crisps. This is the sort of incentive they need to offer in delivery units….
The sprint finish was GLORIOUS, and unexpected, as was the snog I got from a sweaty, hairy gentleman who finished at the same time as me.
All in the name of Sport, obviously.
I finished in 1 hour 29 minutes. I’ve no idea if this is any good, but as it’s my first half marathon it’s my personal best. My BEST! HURRAH.
Tomorrow I won’t be able to walk, but I don’t care. It was a fantastic day, and I give my hugest thanks to the organisers for what was an unforgettable, brilliantly organised race.
May there be many more Cambridge Half Marathons to come. If my knees can take it…