Something you should probably know about me is I do a LOT of running. I started a few years ago, not for your usual weight loss reasons, but to improve my mood. After a difficult start, it ended up having a phenomenally positive effect on my life and significantly reduced my stress levels. If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll decide to go for a run thus completely forgetting what I was in a bad mood about in the first place!
The thing about runners however that can really irritate non runners is that they can become quite evangelical about running. Google ‘inspiration running quotes’ and you will see what I mean. I’ve selected a few here for your viewing pleasure (or annoyance depending on how inactive you have been of late!):
Here’s my personal favourite for when I’m having a ‘slow’ day:
So when my friend Sharon suggested I sign up for the Loftus Poultry run just before Christmas because it would be ‘fun’, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. You see, I sign up for races probably every few weeks as they always have a really good atmosphere and having something to aim for keeps you motivated to keep training.
And I knew at this one there would be Christmas fancy dress.
You will see from my previous running post that there are some ‘unusual’ costumes which can appear at these events. Jesus was my personal favourite this year. Other than the Santa hat worn at my previous race, I haven’t worn a costume as such for a race before so thought I’d give it a go; it is Christmas after all! So ‘Mary Christmas’ was born. I customised my existing lady santa costume with the following:
1. Present bows
2. Christmas Gift Tags
3. Plastic cake decorations that I’d found in a cake tin 5 minutes before I set off which I’d sewn into the skirt, my personal favourites were Mr Reindeer and Mr Robin.
I drove to pick up Sharon from the main road and found her stood in full Santa costume complete with beard. We got some funny looks on the drive there!
Loftus Poultry run (http://www.poultryrun.info) has been going for over 30 years now and attracts both serious and comedy runners purely out to enjoy the day. On this occasion, I was in the latter category. The race has got it’s name because the main prizes consist of Poultry from a local butcher; when I arrived I saw a series of chickens and turkeys being loaded onto the a table for afterwards (don’t worry, they’re already dead!).
So after having a quick catch up with my running friends (we are rather a sociable bunch!) we all set off from Loftus leisure centre for the 8 mile mainly uphill slog which is a loop around the surrounding villages. It was a very tough race. I spent the first two miles trying to keep pace with a man who was playing Christmas music from his phone (it can be surprisingly motivating!) and was keeping up with the main crowd until about mile 5. The I hit massive wall. Thoughts going through my mind consisted of:
‘Why is it so windy?!’
‘Where has everyone gone?!’
‘This is NOT fun!’
‘I wonder if I’ll win best costume?’
On this occasion (and this happens some times in races) I just lost all motivation to continue and just started walking. This is highly unusual for me, but I always refer to the quotation below in rare circumstances such as this:
Towards the end as I ran through the housing estate behind the leisure centre, some little girls were stood on the window sill in their bedroom and were cheering me on to finish and shouted ‘Merry Christmas!’. It’s moments like this that keep you going to the finish and I was spurred on to start running again (albeit slowly).
‘Merry Christmas, Mary Christmas!’ Shouted the crowds as I did a last sprint towards the finish line.
‘Never AGAIN!’ I said through gritted teeth to Sharon as I ran through it.
As always however, once I’d had my post race cup of tea, I was feeling rather euphoric and very quickly changed my mind about the whole experience,
‘Now I know what to expect from the course, I’ll definitely do it again next year!’
I didn’t win best costume in the end; there wasn’t a best costume prize but were instead giving bottles of wine away to those who finished in fancy dress. They’d run out of wine by the time I showed up!
Isn’t that reason enough to go back next year?
Merry Christmas from Mary Christmas!