It has now been six months since I write twice a week about running. This is my 57th article and I think it’s a good time to reflect back on the past semester. I know you’re curious about my writing process – in fact, I’m pretty sure you don’t give a toss but I’ll tell you all about it anyway.
Most of the time, writing is a process that begins when I run. I already mentioned that I consider running as a form of meditation, but it’s also a source of inspiration. It clears my mind and allows ideas and sentences to emerge. I’ll usually write these new ideas in my special Wunderlist if I don’t forget about it while I’m cooling down or while I’m taking my shower, which happens way to often.
When comes the time to actually write, I will either have a great new idea or an obvious topic (like my latest race) and if I don’t, I’ll pick something in my list of ideas. Even though sometimes, some sentences come in French, I always write in English first. Writing in a foreign language is not me being a snob, it’s just easier to translate from a foreign language to your mother tongue than the other way around. Also, I love using idiomatic expressions, playing with them and ornamenting them with typically British slang. I just have fun doing it and it’s much easier to translate this back to French rather than the other way around. It also forces me to dig into my French to find the best equivalent ; I find a particular pleasure in using dated idiomatic expressions or regional slang (usually from Lyon).
I’ve had a lot of fun writing for the past 6 months. So far, some of my favourite articles to write were:
Now I have to admit that writing 4 articles per week (2 in English and 2 in French) kind of dried my up and I find it more and more difficult to find inspiration or to be funny. It also consumes a lot of time and even if I still have some potential articles in my Wunderlist, it becomes harder and harder to find new ideas. Finally, I usually have more fun writing about what I lived rather than writing about shoes or something less personal. So I’ve decided that I will allow myself to write only one article per week, or even zero if I don’t feel like it. I’ll still write about random stuff related to running, but I’ll try to make it more spot on and interesting and I’ll mostly focus on my personal experience of running.
If you don’t know Matthew Inman, let me introduce him. He’s the author of the world famous comic blog The Oatmeal. I love the guy, he’s like an American version of me: he’s a fan of Tesla (both the scientist and the car brand) and all thing eco-friendly, he loves science and astronomy, he’s an atheist, he loves beer, he loves cats, he has the sense of humour of a 6 years old (and yes, I find it funny), but most of all, he runs!
I tend to see running as a form of meditation, so does he.
Really, the only real difference between us is that my blog is way more famous than his – or maybe it’s the other way around since he now organises his own races: “Beat the Blerch” and he’s sponsored by big ass brands like Saucony.
More fun photos of the London marathon 2016! If you missed the first part, go check it, there are some fun pics as well! Before I show you more pics, here are more results from the London Marathon 2016 with some celebrities:
Major Tim Peake: 3 hours 35 minutes and 21 seconds. The British astronaut currently in a mission on board the International Space Station ran the London marathon on his space treadmill while following the event on the telly, read his blog post on this topic.
Natalie Dormer: 3 hours 51 minutes and 23 seconds. Yes, Margaery Tyrell (I know you know Game of Thrones) is a runner, and quite a decent one with that.
To continue with my series of photos, here are some lovely couples:
London Marathon 2016 – Couples Adam & Eve – Thomas the train The hare and the tortoise – A camel
There were lots of animals too:
London Marathon 2016 – Animals A dinosaur – A hedgehog – A rhinoceros Another dinosaur – Tony the tiger – A rabbit A donkey? – A monkey – A leopard
There was also a strong contingent of super heroes:
London Marathon 2016 – Superheroes Ironman – The Green Giant – Batgirl Venom – A Ghostbuster – Spiderman Batman and Robin – The Flash – Just a superhero
Tim Peake wasn’t the only space man too:
London Marathon 2016 – Spacemen A brawny tatooed princess Leia – An astronaut – Chewbacca
And some people didn’t follow a theme:
London Marathon 2016 – Various costumes A Smurf – A shoe – A tap Gandalf and Frodo – A good beer – Big Ben Spongebob Squarepants – A Roman – Woody
Some other didn’t follow a theme or even an idea and were just completely WTF:
No, I didn’t run the London Marathon last Sunday. Maybe next year, we’ll see. But considering I live so close to the route, I had to go and have a look, and what a sight! I didn’t regret standing in the cold for that couple of hours: the atmosphere was really warm and fun. The public (me included) was cheering for every runner, some in a very funny way, the runners were still enjoying their run (I was just before the 6th mile) and were really fun to watch, especially the ones in fancy costumes.
The race started with the disabled, we first saw the wheelchairs whizzing past us, shortly followed by the blinds and their guides. You have to admire the courage of the runner and the selflessness of the guide.
London Marathon 2016 A blind marathon runner and his guide 2 wheelchair marathon runners
A while after, we saw the Elite runners. The ladies came first and they were so fast that I didn’t have the time to have my camera ready when the pack passed. I wasn’t at the finish line, but Kenyan runner Jemima Sumgong arrived first in only 2 hours 22 minutes and 58 seconds despite a bad fall, that’s seven minutes slower than Paula‘s record on the same race but it’s still massively impressive (especially when you see her running for real). I managed to be ready for the men and I saw a glimpse of Dennis Kimetto, the current world-record holder. Unfortunately he didn’t win and finished 9th, more than seven minutes after Eliud Kipchoge who finished first in 2 hours 3 minutes and 5 seconds and won this marathon for the second consecutive year.
London Marathon 2016 – Elite runners Kasia Kowalska [POL] and a pacer Dennis Kimetto [KEN], Stanley Biwott [KEN], Ghirmay Ghebreslassie [ERI], Eliud Kipchoge [KEN], Wilson Kipsang [KEN] and few pacers
After that, it was all fun! But very quickly I could see recurring themes. For example, there were a lot of running flowers (and I couldn’t take them all):
London Marathon 2016 – Flowers
There were also a lot of soldiers, boy scouts, pilots, and other military related costumes:
London Marathon 2016 – Soldiers
An easy and obvious one was the wig, coming in all colours, shapes and forms:
London Marathon 2016 – Wigs
But the most popular was undoubtedly the tutu:
London Marathon 2016 – Tutus
It was also quite often mixed with some of the above. I love the soldier wearing a pink tutu:
London Marathon 2016 – More tutus A dude overdoing it – A soldier with a tutu – Wig and tutu combo
Stay tuned for more costumes during this 2016 edition of the London Marathon!
I took on running to lose weight. And it worked. OK, I went on a low calorie diet for a couple of months, but after that I went back to my old habits of eating lots of burgers and cakes but I still continued to lose weight (it’s a good motivation to keep on running). So basically, I took on running to eat (or to continue eating). But I have noticed that running has an even stronger connexion to drinking. Sure, you should definitely drink water before and after running (not too much though, overhydration is potentially deadly), but it seems the link is stronger than that, more particularly with drinking alcohol and specifically beer.
First of all, there is this persistent legend that drinking beer is good for recovery after intense efforts and helps avoiding muscle ache. I’ve made some research and it turns out this is utter and complete BS. The legend comes from the fact that Emil Zátopek supposedly used to drink beer not only after running, but also during competition. This too is dubious at best, but the guy was certainly not averse to this beverage and it is said that he drank a glass of Pilsner Urquell every day. He also reportedly drank a whole bottle of Becherovka (the Czech version of Jägermeister) and still beat Hungarian olympian József Kovács in a running duel right after. I like this guy more and more.
Also, in my experience, runners are thorough drinkers. Lanky Pole and the Quiet Roman are obvious examples of beer loving runners, but Lanky Pole pretends there are even bigger drinkers in his running club. I myself am tempted to join the Mikkeller Running Club, created by one of my favourite breweries: Mikkeller the Dane (you ought to try their sour beers and their barley wines).
Another obvious connexion between drinking and running is the Beer Mile, a race for which you must run four 400m laps and drink a beer before each lap. A challenge I intend to take up one day, although I certainly won’t come close to the current World Record of 4 minutes and 47 seconds. Will anyone ever break the four minutes barrier and will there be an epic race like when Roger Bannister was paced by Chris Chataway (you must remember him for his historic faceplant)? I doubt we’ll ever see that.
To conclude, it seems that “I run to drink” is a more common motto than “I run to eat”. By the way, you should follow the eponym Facebook page or Instagram feed, I find it quite funny (and very true).
In this blog, I always talk about running like this perfect sport with daily unicorn encounters and rainbows and pots of gold. It’s true that running is a great feeling and has great benefits, but I had a conversation with Mad Cook the other day, and it made me realise that I sometimes hide to myself some pretty ugly things about running. We made a list, and be prepared: it’s getting uglier and uglier! Disclaimer: some links are not for the faint-hearted, and some of them are even NSFW, so be prepared. But the video is perfectly fine, it’s actually a must-see!
Problem: Well, this is the most obvious, running long distances can make the next day a bit hard to handle and walking can become a big challenge.
Solution: Warm-up before a race or a hard run and stretch (a lot) after the run. After a hard run, massage your legs with a muscle pain relief cream or gel. Also, train more and be patient! If you run a marathon but you’ve only ran 10 km per week for 4 weeks, you’re setting yourself up for a very hard week after the marathon, if you ever finish it. Think for the long term, begin with less ambitious races (5K & 10K are great distances to start with) and find yourself a good training plan for these distances. They’re all over the Web. Then slowly build up your weekly mileage and find training plans for the longer races.
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Watch this video, it’s super funny ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ Watch this video, it’s super funny ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
2. Nipple chafing
Problem: Running long distances can lead to a lot of chafing, and it can get pretty ugly and bloody in places where the skin is fragile like between the thighs or around the nipples. Don’t search Google Images for that: it hurts.
Solution: To avoid chafing between the thighs and blisters on the feet, I recommend a good anti-chafing cream, the best one is probably Akileïne Sports NOK.
To avoid nipple chafing: don’t run with cotton t-shirts! Run with good running tops: the Tribesports running gear is my favourite. If you know you’re running for a long distance, you may as well go directly for nipple guards. No it’s not a joke! If you need convincing, search for it on Google Images (Ouch!), but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!
Problem: Yes, this too is a real thing! It even has a scientific name: it’s called onychoptosis and it happened to me. It can be caused by repeated toe-banging inside the shoe. Don’t worry, the nail eventually grows back. Click here for the gross picture (not my foot).
Solution: You can go for the extreme solution like Marshall Ulrich in Born to run who had all his toenails surgically removed (apparently it’s a common thing with ultra runners). You can also run barefoot. Otherwise, you should buy well-fitted shoes that give your toes plenty of room. Make sure to try them and check that your toes are not banging inside the shoe at each stride. Shoes that have a wide toe box (like the Altra One 2) come highly recommended. Oh, and trim your toenails!
A barefoot runner, happy because he’s got all his toenails – Photo by Chris Hunkeler
4. Troubled digestion
Problem: Puking happens. Yes it does. Because your body simply cannot produce the effort required for running and digesting at the same time, you see many runner’s stomachs giving back generously what they’ve been fed for breakfast or at the food/drink stations during the race. No pictures here. No, don’t ask, I said no. OK, there you go.
Solution: Have a light breakfast before the race: don’t drink milk because it is very hard to digest, you can replace it by oat milk or any kind of vegan milk you like best (except soy milk, soy milk is disgusting). Yes, you should carb-load before the race, but give it at least several hours for digesting properly: some runners get up in the middle of the night before the race to eat a big plate of spaghetti and then go back to bed. During the race, you can also have some energy gels. They’re less hard to swallow and to digest than anything you usually find at the food stations such as bananas or energy bars. It doesn’t mean they’re super easy to ingest either: if your stomach still can’t manage them, just try and swallow little by little, over the course of several minutes.
Problem: Runners pissing and shitting themselves are not a rare sight in long distances races and especially during marathons and ultra-marathons. For some disgusting pictures, just follow the link, you’re welcome!
Less extreme than that, it is very frequent for average runners like you and me to have to stop during races (even short races like 10K) to piss while everyone around is looking, which can be even more embarrassing for women.
Solution: Part of your pre-race routine should always include a stop at the loo to empty stomach and bladder, even if you feel you don’t need to. Also, it’s important to hydrate yourself, but try not to drink too much before a race either, and sip slowly during the race. If despite this, you still need to pee during the race, I recommend all the women reading this blog to buy a Shewee, that should avoid you the embarrassment of having to show your pretty buttocks to the general public.
I hope you’re properly disgusted by now and you’re welcome for that. If you’re not, just go visit 4chan or something, you sicko!