June 02, 2010

Macho

Like many people, I regularly buy magazines, wishing, as I soon as I start reading, that I had not wasted money on such nonsense. It goes for female magazines (are we really paying to read ads?) but, to be honest, running ones are not always (read: "almost never") much better.

Sometimes though, you get lucky, and come across very interesting reading. Such as this recent special issue of a French trail running magazine.

That issue focused on training for trails, and I had bought it thinking it may give me million-dollar tips on how not to get frustrated when stuck behind walkers on a single trail, or how not to be such a demotivated wimp.

I was just starting to think that, once again, I would not learn anything new and had rather saved a few euros to go towards a technical T-Shirt for SeaLegsGirl, when, on page 16, came the unexpected, the answer to all questions, even those I never asked myself.  In a nutshell, a pure gem.

The Gem goes under the title of: "Husband and wife, and training partners".

Technically, Martin and I are not strictly speaking training partners:  1. he is not training for anything, 2. he's been stuck at home for two weeks with a lumbago, making it impossible for him to walk, let alone run (and incidentally resulting in me having to deal at home with two boys unable to walk). Still, we are husband and wife, and occasional running partners, so I feel entitled to read on.



-" You married a woman who likes sport, and that may be one of the reasons why you were attracted by her". Oh, Oh... Clearly, as a reader, I am of the wrong gender. Now, that's interesting. Could it be that I have not realised it yet, but am the only female trail runner in the whole country?  Now, that would be cool: it would make it easier to finish first of my category, wouldn't it? Of course, only a few weeks ago, I seem to have seen other women racing against me, but who knows, maybe they were all foreign (hoping for a good place because they may have heard before I did that no French women run on trails).

I carry on reading, hoping that this potential scoop will be either confirmed or denied.

"If you are training together, running at the same pace, you, sir, will be running comfortably below your lactate threshold, whilst your partner will be close to collapsing, because she will be running well above her comfort zone. In the end, you will have done too easy a training session, whilst she will have run at high intensity."

Now, even more interesting:  I never realised when running with Martin that he was having it easy while I was close to dying. Maybe it is because I was not paying attention, focusing on dying at the front, whilst he was having it easy 50 metres behind me. Or because I was not concentrating enough on the fact that I should be feeling like dying, too busy that we were, chatting along while running side to side on a mountain trail.

I read on, hoping that, after having brought me the scoop that I am, have to be, a much weaker and slower runner than my husband, they will tell me what to do about it.  And they do.

Or rather, they tell Martin, who, as The Man, is the true runner, while I am... well, not sure what... a wannabe dirt-road-power-walker, perhaps... So, to carry on doing some real training whilst still running with your wife, they tell Martin, "you must sometimes train by yourself". In bold, because it is damn important he does not jeopardise his potential as a trail runner by feeling he must always run with me. "Then", the article carries on, "when you and your wife run together, you run easy, while she uses that run as her tempo run."

Whoa, what an eye opener that reading was!!! I should be slower than Martin, then. I have to be, since I am a woman. Now, what the article does NOT cover, is what I should  do to address the situation if I am faster than my husband. Because clearly, you don't want that, do you? That would be going against nature, and must be acted on. But, what am I thinking?  Of course the article does not cover that option. I am not a man, therefore can't be a real runner, therefore should not be reading this magazine in the first place. Maybe there was even a warning on the front cover,  a "men only", that I did not see. 

So, as a woman, I have to be slower than my husband. Which makes me wonder: until when do I get away with being faster than my son? Better make the most of the last few months where he is not walking yet, is my guess...

5 comments:

Martin said...

French machos, what can you say...
- Thanks for showing the only running picture ever on which I am not >50m behind you... (And thanks for not telling in your post that it was taken during a race a few weeks after your ankle surgery :-)

Marie-Aline said...

that race was a few weeks BEFORE ankle surgery... The operation resulted in my not running for more than half a year. Knowing what a nightmare I then was, driven mad with frustration, it is a miracle you don't seem to remember.. Ah, love...

sea legs girl said...

Marie-Aline,

Hilarious. If only I could claim to be even close to as fast as my husband. But, alas, everthing stated in that article is exactly true for us. But you are right that there are MANY women who are faster than their husbands and it's kinda sad they missed that point...

Is that really a picture of you two? When is it from? Oh and what was this about a technical T-shirt? Was I dreaming there for a second?

Marie-Aline said...

SLG, I guess I am lucky that Martin's first (sport) love is climbing and not running, which means I am training much more than he does!

The picture is actually quite old (end of 2006), and was taken back in our London days, just before I had to undergo ankle surgery (running too much does that to you, sometimes). My ankle had been feeling awful for months already, I had been off running for most of the year, and managed to convince myself it was stronger enough to allow for a race done at training pace... what a fool I was! A couple of months later, I had the operation, and to that day, my ankle has been reminding me things will never be the same again... Are you crying yet?

As for a technical t-shirt... what technical t-shirt? Have I ever mention a technical t-shirt? OK then...

cherelli said...

cripes, that is a RECENT issue? Not cut and pasted from the 1920s or something? Am i allowed to say "ah, the French" and roll my eyes upward?