"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Friday, 30 April 2010

You actually are in better shape than you think you are…

On Kevin Sayers’s website, UltRunR.com there is a link to a humorous list under “You know you’re an ultra runner if…” I love this list and two of my favorite entries are:

28. People at work think you’re in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.
29. You actually are in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.

I thought about number 29 a lot during our recent visit to the Sterkfontein caves after my last race. I was absolutely shocked to see how people battled to do the bit of walking, crawling and stair climbing during the tour of the caves. I finished my second half marathon in three days 90 minutes before the tour and was a bit worried that my legs might feel the stairs more than I would like. I didn’t feel a thing as we walked and climbed very slow, waiting for people who couldn’t get up and down the stairs because they were too tired. I realized, 29 is absolutely true, us runners actually are in better shape than we think we are.

There were 116 stairs down into the cave and 119 up to the exit with some small staircases between this inside the cave. There were a few places where we had to crouch, crawl or whatever was best for you and this also got the people down on their knees, literally.

Apart from running 6 days a week I also climb these stairs (7 flights) up and down at least once every day and some days two or three times.

It seems that all of this actually has me in much better shape than I realize. I think we feel out of shape for a specific race or distance very quickly, but we forget that our base fitness or readiness for shorter distances put us in far better shape than the average person is.

So next time someone at work tells you how great you look and in what perfect shape you are, you can agree and know that you really are in great shape.

I promised a few more photo’s of the caves and placed them here.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone and good luck to those running races. I’ll be training this weekend, 6.2km Saturday and 25.5km on Sunday.


misszippy said...

I'm quite sure you are on to something here. I am usually surrounded by lots of active people. When I venture out into the "real world" however, I discover that yes, I am in better shape than I realized. Case in point--a recent trip to the zoo--seeing lots of overweight people taking trams around the grounds rather than walking. It wouldn't even cross my mind to do that! Rather sad, really.

Giorgio said...

Hi Johann,
I absolutely agree with everything you say! We don't think that we are in better shape than we realized. The website http://ultrunr.com/ is very interesting.

Molly said...

I recently ran a course that I haven't done all winter, and I sailed right up a hill that used to wear me out. It was a great indicator of how far I've come fitness wise in just a few months!

Have a great weekend!

Julie said...

Hi Johann,
Those stairs scare me:) The last time I did a stair workout it was terrible! Can you say...sucking air and burning calves?? Funny about how people think we are in better shape than we think we are! Actually, it is kind of flattering:) Have a fantastic weekend Johann!

Sherri said...

I do think your right about the majority of the people on here...but me ...I think I am in worse shape than I think I am! =) Oh Well! I will press forward! I love stairs!

Meg said...

Some days I feel in better shape than others...must be age?! I hope you have some great training runs this weekend!

Rad Runner said...

We are awesome! and we are so aware of our selves that we dont even take credit for how great we are!-lets pat our selves on the back!-

ajh said...

99% of the time when possible I take the stairs rather than elevator. This was a good post to think about.

Anne said...

Great post! Being a new runner and not being surrounded by tons of athletes, I do feel pretty good about my physical fitness level. However, when I compare myself to many fellow bloggers...not so much :) ...you guys are in such amazing shape!!

Colin Hayes said...

I often compare myself to faster runners than me, which motivates me, but also makes me feel slower than I probably really am. But even after a "bad" run, I remind myself that I couldn't even run that poorly a couple of years ago when I wasn't running at all. Perspectives certainly change!

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