All happy runners are alike, and each unhappy runner is unhappy in their own way. While I am a half-ham-string-pulled kinda runner, some have suggested that in this episode of aches, pain and strains I should focus on ’the joy of running’. So, although fearful of this blog reading like a tome of inspirational quotes left at the bottom of a bargain bin, I am dutifully recording the positives of training for the Sydney Greater Half. So here goes.

  • Developing a medical expertise without having to do a degree. While never running fast enough to actually injure myself, with remarkably little effort I have developed an extensive knowledge of the diseases that inhibit my performance my muscle fibres are all the wrong length; heavy breathing associated with infrequent exertion is now exercise-induced asthma; and hitting a wall after 500 metres is a glycogen problem rather than a strong desire to sit down.
  • Woodstock Runners running club ’woodies’ training not only helps with your running, it also changes your perspective. These are people who make it seem normal (and even fun) to run around in full view of the general public in a tutu or a wig. Anyone who has seen a photograph of me running knows that I look like I’ve just run bare foot through a big pile of dog poo. Given this loss of dignity, you may as well wear a tutu, wig or fluoro tee – just grin and wear it.
  • Cooks River Park Run try it. If you don’t like it, you can always stop and look at the ducks.
  • Carb-loading pass me the biscuits, I have a race to prepare for.

After the last blog Athletics NSW asked me to talk about my race preparations and answer the following questions:

 –          How long have you been training?

Feels like forever:  I started training for the Greater Sydney Half with an intensive bout of looking-for-activity-wear rather than actual activity, but I’ve now progressed to fairly regular shuffling.

–          How much running/training are you doing at the moment?

Too much! Each week I try to run one long run for endurance. I have increased the length of this long run by about a kilometre each week. In addition I run two or three shorter distances each week, usually once with the Woodstock Runners (on the track for intervals) and on Saturdays at Cooks River Park Run (a 5K timed race). I use these runs to try to increase my glacial pace.

–          Where have you been training?

Anywhere that’s near home that’s flat such as along the Cooks River and the Bay Run.

–          What’s the furthest you have run before?

21km.  I have been running on and off for a few years. I ran a half marathon a while ago and then stopped running, which I now regret. But in the words of Olympic great Frank Shorter, “You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”
–          What is your hoped for time in the Half?

Not telling you, Athletics NSW. I feel this is like asking me my age or weight something that I know I should be open about, but really I’d rather not.

–  Alison Barnes for RunNSW