Tag Archive: race for life


The setback

Like all good stories the hero/heroine must overcome obstacles and adversity, and at the end it, comes out stronger for the greater good of humanity- hoorah!

Well, not including my general lack of will power, the ‘torrential’ rain, and the ‘blistering’ heat, my greatest challenge, so far, has actually been my leg. To be more precise, my Achilles tendon…I think.

This is apparently the mother of all runners’ injuries, well apparently one of the top five anyway. If Achilles’ heel caused him, a strapping great Greek demi-god, to fall, then what are my chances really, huh? Riddle me that.

So anyway, while I was running one time my leg was starting to hurt. I thought it was the usual screams of pain from my body begging me to stop, so I just ploughed on.

But then I hit a quite a steep gradient and had to stop, like I do now and again anyways. But this time I think that was a bad move.

The next day I limped my way into work. I waited a couple of days to let the pain subside and since it seemed better I decided to go for a run again. Rookie mistake. I then had to rest for a whole week!

I have to admit. I felt lost. I actually missed running. I missed not hearing the funny American dude with his encouraging phrases, like: “drop it like it’s hot and pick it up when it’s cold ‘cos you ran more this week than you did last. I’m proud of you!”

Or “you ran all week! All week? You are on fy-yaaahhh, I’m proud of you!”

Besides, I had a 10-week running plan, remember? This set me back by about a week or so.

You’ll be happy to know I am running again now. I have past the 10-week mark, finally. I’ve researched some good stretching tips for my legs, especially for these pesky Achilles tendons of mine.

“How has this obstacle strengthened me then?”, I hear you ask. To be honest, I don’t know… All I know is that my leg started playing up this week again, but I’m hoping everything will be fine by Sunday, or I will cry and drink a massive strawberry milkshake.

I’m running this Sunday. Please donate, thank you: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/moniquesimpson2011

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“You can do ittttttt!”

“This isn’t so bad,” I tried to tell myself as my blood pumped ferociously around my head causing my gums to throb in pain.

My body screamed in agony and went into panic mode. This isn’t normal, this isn’t normal. At. All. Shut down, shut down noooowwwww, I say- STOOOOPPPPP!!!!!

“You have reached 0.5 miles,” said the American man on my Nike Plus app.

Only? Come on, Monique, come onnn!

My choice of music today wasn’t helping me though. Cinematic Orchestra Monique, really?

It just made me want to get lie down in the foetal position on the pavement and tell my body it would be ok.

“Never again will I hurt you like this.  Never ever,” I wanted to say to myself in a soothing, comforting tone with my arms wrapped around my body, rocking.

I have to admit, my playlist was not the most energetic music to run to. I blame the fact that I haven’t had a chance to transfer my iPod tracks to my new phone yet. Besides, I think the worst album I have listened to while running was 21 by Adele. In my defence, I have been wanting to listen to that album for ages, and that was the first opportunity I got to hear it.

I had no time to feel heartbroken and depressed when I heard it though- I felt way too tired! I just wanted to go home and eat my giant Kinder Surprise Easter egg.

Just to let you know, since my gym induction in January, I only went to the gym one other time. That was also in January.

In light of my triumph the first time I went, I was really cocky during my second visit. I tried to run faster and further than ever before, and failed. Miserably. But you know, I stylishly limped the rest of the way when I couldn’t hack it anymore on the treadmill and I deliberately restricted my breathing so no one could see how out of breath I was. Well, that was my cunning plan anyway.

I didn’t do anything until April.

That’s when the sun came out to play so it was lighter and warmer. I bought a pair of ‘swanky’ new running trainers (as seen in my picture) with the help of a friend. And a work colleague sent me a 10-week beginner’s running plan. Id est (i.e.) I had no more excuses- it was time.

Anyway, I digress.  On this particular run, my aim was to reach the top of this man-made hill in my area, where once you reach the top and you stare out thoughtfully into the distance, if the weather is on your side and you concentrate really hard AND squint your eyes, you can just about make out a couple of central London landmarks.

“Come on Monique, you can do it. YOU CAN DO ITTTT,” I screamed with determination.

“You are approaching your record. Tap the ‘Power’ button now to play your Power Song,” said the American man. Well, he said something like that.

“Yessss,” I thought, “I will, I WILL!!”

“Now I’m the King of the Swingers, ohhhh, the jungle V.I.P,” sang King Louie.

“I really need to sort out this playlist,” I thought to myself, but it did make me want to dance/shuffle/limp the rest of the way with my arms pumping in the air.

And then I reached my destination. “I did it- I actually did it,” I wanted to shout out and jump around, but you know, there were people around so I needed to show a bit of decorum, of course.

Then Lance Armstrong spoke to me: “This is Lance Armstrong. Congratulations, you have just achieved a new personal best for the mile.” Whoo-hoo, yeah, I am on fi-yurrre! (I’ll save the other comments I get from this app for another post- they are hilarious!! God, I do love my phone!)

Then as I walked down the hill a massive bee tried to attack me! My limbs stiffened in fear and I swerved a little off the path. Two women were walking towards me and I walked a little closer towards them hoping they would gather me into their arms and swat the bee away. They didn’t.

All in all, I began running properly on 17th April and I am now finishing off week 7 of my training plan (I should be on week 8, but… yeah lol).

My stats: I’ve been on 21 ‘runs’, covered 43.56 miles in 8 hours 26 minutes and 17 seconds, have an average pace of 11’37 per mile and have burned 3421 calories. So far, my fastest 1k is 5 minutes 26 seconds, fastest mile is 8 minutes 52 seconds, and 5k (this includes me walking it as part of ‘the plan’) is 34 minutes and 34 seconds.

I’ve been attacked by pollen (hi-yah!), I’ve been chased by bees (argh!), and I’ve even seriously contemplated running in the rain…

I’m slowly transforming into, the runner, cue ‘Chariots of Fire’ music.

I’m still finding running a chore though.

Please sponsor me lol: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/moniquesimpson2011

So after the umpteenth phone call from Cancer Research UK asking for a long term donation, a thought suddenly hit me.

“Why don’t I run for charity instead?”

Where in the world did that idea come from?! Get back, get back, I say! Seriously, me? Run? Are you having a bubble?

I’ve had my share of humiliating experiences. A particularly memorable one was in primary school when I passed out whilst on my second lap around the playground.

Then there was the time when I suddenly decided to ‘take one for the team’ at a sports day and ran the 1500m to gain extra points. I trailed behind, way behind, in front of what I’d say thousands.

I only run in the mornings for the bus. Period. I can’t run for 5 minutes without gasping desperately for oxygen.

Look at my bad boy, old school trainers in the picture. I’ve actually had them since high school. Notice my patchwork design. My trainers are a work of art, and as such, should only be observed, not used.

Don’t get me wrong, I love taking part in sports. And the charity is close to my heart, especially since cancer has affected a number of people in my life.

But the idea of running sends shivers down my spine.

Nevertheless, I found myself standing in front of a help desk for a gym induction.

I needed some practice first before I pounded those pavements for the whole world to see my wheezing self.

I really was way out of comfort zone, especially since I was dressed in my high top converses, skinny jeans, and massive headphones because I had no time to change.

That meant I couldn’t try some of the machines for the induction. School boy error.

At the induction, the instructor asked me if I’ve used the gym before.

“Just the once,” I replied.

“Really, just the once?” she said jokingly.

“Yes,” I said in a very serious tone.

…She moved on swiftly to show me all the machines.

I use a certain tactic when someone tries to give me certain directions or instructions. I nod enthusiastically and smile without actually taking anything in. This tactic was well deployed in this instance.

It was the typical gym scene I imagined in my head with men prancing around like peacocks in one of those wildlife courting ritual documentaries.

“Look at me, look at MEEEE,” they seemed to say.

Once I figured out how to use the machine, I eventually found my pace. And as the stale air entered my lungs, I thought, “This is kind of easy. I may just enjoy running.”

After completing 2.5k I thought maybe 5k was too small a target for July.

I was on top of the world and had the eye of the tiger- dun, dun, dun dunnnnnnnnn.

I was so proud of myself that I had to tell my dad as soon as he came home from work with a proud, stupid grin on my face.

“You’re going to hurt tomorrow”, he replied. “What possessed you to cover that distance?”

“I don’t know, I just punched in the numbers on the machine, aren’t you proud?”

“Machine?! Hmpf,” he snorted mockingly.

He has a point. I still have a long way to go.

Please do donate if you can. My birthday is around that time too. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Ha!

You can donate online at: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/moniquesimpson2011

Thanks 🙂