The Returning Run

sweets1

source // youtube

Monday, 2 November, 2015

Taipei, Taiwan

I joined a running club back in January with the intention of participation in a half marathon this December, unfortunately though, things don’t always go according to plan – ask a person who noticed that there was no toilet roll left after they’d finished.

Annoyingly the proposed marathon rejected me – apparently, I didn’t get ‘selected’ via their lucky draw. However, many reliable sources have since confirmed that the officials observed me in training, decided that I must be taking performance enhancing drugs, and didn’t want to risk the controversy. Oh well, screw ’em!

So, my status was this – seven months of preparation, the endurance levels of a pronghorn antelope and nowhere to showcase it. Naturally, I looked to alternatives. I did a little research and found various different options, most being called ‘The [insert city name] Half Marathon’ – which were all fine, in regards to me completing the mission.

Well, until I stumbled upon the ‘Sweets Run’ that is – keep your generic marathons, Taiwan, I’d much rather simultaneously run and scoff my face, cheers.

This is a direct quote from the description on their website:

“Our ideal is to reward every runner with bite-size sweets (Finger Sweets) when they arrive at the supply station upon completion of each interval. Those who reach the finish line, will be welcomed by the ‘Sweets Crazy Party.’”

I signed up immediately. Come on; is there anything more motivating than knowing you have a ‘Sweets Crazy Party’ waiting for you at the end of your run? I’ve needed one of those things ever since the year my mum stopped buying me advent calendars.

My gummy bear scoffing run will occur on 21st November – three week from now.

So, on to the next problem; am I ready? When I put my name down I was – at that point I had the 2016 Olympics Games on my mind. However, since then my training pattern has changed drastically. I’ve gone from running every other night to not even attempting a jog for two months.

About a week after signing up to the only marathon on the planet that could entice fat people, my body started deteriorating. I have had problems with my eye, back and joints. There was a point when it seemed like all of my free time was spent with doctors and nurses; in fact, it got so bad that they were even talking about adding my name to the hospital staffs’ Secret Santa this year.

Things appear to be getting better now – touch wood – but, that tough few months of pain has knocked me back a great deal regarding the half marathon. I essentially have only three weeks to try and, not only get to the level I was previously at, but also surpass it – after all, the routine was progressive. I was reaching my week by week goals before my set back, but my training was by no means complete.

That said, the end reward is a ‘Sweet Crazy Party’ – that should be all the inspiration I need.

If I intended to compete, I knew I would really need to get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later. So, I popped the old trusty knee pads and helmet back on before heading down to the park this weekend. I didn’t set any direct goals, as truthfully, I had no awareness of my body’s capabilities – but, I planned to go for as long as I could physically handle.

I put up a decent fight, managing a respectable fifty minutes. That is a pretty solid jog after two months out, but as satisfying as it was, it can’t be denied that I’m still left with a lot of catching up to do. I guess if it is really disastrous, I can just write the summary blog as if I’m the person that won it – I’m pretty sure studying Taiwanese half marathon results is not a hobby of any of my readers, so you’ll all be none the wiser.

One minor downfall about the big return was the seventy-year-old fitness freak I was forced to compete against – he was like no human I had ever seen before. Anyway, this ancient bloke must have lapped me about three times – it was like watching the real life version of the tortoise and the hare story. Only, I don’t want to be the flipping tortoise when the hare has great-grandkids and false teeth!

Credit to him though, I hope I’m that fighting fit at his age – still, he’s clearly a man that knows how to time his peacock strut. I didn’t see him showing off in quite the same manner two months ago when I was the unbeatable pronghorn antelope deemed too good for Taipei’s International Marathon. Needless to say, my ego is praying that my newest and greatest ever rival doesn’t have a sweet tooth.

sweets 22

source // sweetsrun

It was nice to see a lot of the old regulars again, you could say it was somewhat of a reunion, well, as close to a reunion as you can have with strangers. They were all still at it – Same Clothes, Flappy Arms, The Girl With The Dog and Jolly Bloke – each giving their signature nod or smile whenever we crossed paths.

I have a funny story about Jolly Bloke actually – he’d probably kill me if he knew that I was about to share this. Around four months ago, he tripped over a stone and went knee first into a big pile of dog crap. When he realised that I saw everything – the overly cheerful chap was instantly very red, much like Father Christmas. He probably had smellier knees than Santa in that moment though.

Regardless, the guy’s an absolute trooper; he just went to the bathroom, gave his knee a wipe and then finished his set. While I’ve only known the man for five months or so, and we don’t really talk, I can confirm this – there is very little that could break the spirits of Jolly Bloke.

However, I did notice that he suddenly had a different running schedule and was no longer exercising at the same time as The Girl With The Dog. He certainly wasn’t very subtle in letting the whole park know exactly where he was placing the blame. It’s just nice to see that they could be adults and look beyond their personal issues for my big comeback.

Anyway, I’m back in the swing of things. The first run is the toughest (I hope), and that has now been and gone with no real concerns. Sure, my legs ached a little the next day, but so what? I’m currently partaking in the greatest underdog story that ever occurred. I’m Hollywood’s dream script.

For now – wish me luck!

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