13th June 2015
About the author : I am a dog. I spend my days training my huminions, ridding the world of birdies 1 bite at a time and looking for blankets to lie on. My struggle is real.
My huminions left the house – for a weekend away, I thought. I was wrong. I was abandoned; left to the ministrations of the Small and Weak huminions. I’m quite capable of controlling the Furry Beasts, but this has been a harrowing experience. The Small and Weak huminions are poorly trained and I would have been on the verge of starvation, had I not taken matters into my own paws. As the what-I-previously-believed-to-be-well-trained huminion is now back, I have interrogated her about her whereabouts. A full discourse is detailed here:
LO: Where have you been, Huminion?
We went on holiday to South Africa, which is a different country a long way away. We flew on an aeroplane.
LO: A long way away? I’ve been to the hospital gardens, which is all the way across 2 roads. And I get back for teatime. What is this aeroplane?
An aeroplane is something that carries people in the sky. A bit like a big metal bird.
LO: Birdies are for biting. I haven’t seen any carrying huminions on their back. [Readers – I’m beginning to think my huminion has suffered a blow to the head. Maybe I should have gone inside the hospital and looked there. Maybe South Africa is what the huminion calls the hospital…?] So what were you doing in “South Africa”?
I was running an ultra marathon called Comrades, and then we had a holiday.
LO: And what is an ultra marathon?
An ultra marathon is where you run a very very long way.
LO: So, like across the road to the hospital. That’s a long way. Where you in the hospital?
Erm, no, I wasn’t in the hospital, and an ultra marathon is a bit further than across the road.
LO: Why would you want to run further than that? Are there extra tasty birdies to bite in Ultramarathon?
No Oscar, there were no birdies. [LO: Lord Oscarmort to you, huminion]. The Comrades Marathon is a really historic race. It’s been going for 90 years. Well, more than 90 years, but this was the 90th time it has been run. And it’s something I wanted to do for quite some time.
LO: What is this “90” you talk of?
It’s a number. A big number.
LO: So, like 10 then?
It’s a number, like 10 is a number, but more than 10.
LO: More than 10? What do you mean “more than 10”. There is 10. That is the number. Once there was 9, but I didn’t like that. 9 was very limiting for cats. So, I have entered the decimal age. Now there is 10.
OK. Let’s not worry about the numbers, Oscar. I know they’re not really your strong suit – I’ve read your blogs.[LO: I am recounting this verbatim, dear Reader, so that you can understand the difficulty I face dealing with huminions. I rose above it, as you’ll see.]
LO: So, what you’re saying is you went to Ultramarathon to run 10 Comrades.
No, I went to South Africa to run Comrades, which is an ultra marathon. Which is just a bit further than from here to the hospital gardens.
LO: Interesting. So, tell me about this run. Did you decide to wear your fur for once, as I’m pretty sure you’d be a lot more comfortable, or did you insist on all your usual brightly coloured huminion wear?
I wore running clothes, Oscar. I wore my fabulous Juno running bra, which I bought from SheScience. That would have been super comfortable, but I managed to put it on inside out. Don’t ask – it was VERY early when I got dressed. And dark. And I was nervous.
Also, I had my bright green OpMove singlet, which was really comfortable. I have to admit that a lot of my other singlets chafe after a while, but the new OpMove tops are not like that. It was very hot on the day of the run, but my top is perforated with lots of tiny holes, so it was very breathable. And I did squirt a lot of water over my head to keep cool.
And I wore Injinji toe socks, which I love, and I didn’t get any blisters. Well, apart from the ones on the tips of my 2nd toes, but they rub no matter what: I was wearing a blister plaster on one of them, and it still blistered. Sadly, I lost one when I got changed. I left it in a portaloo! And I ran in Altra Torin running shoes, which are very light, and suited to my running style, as I tend to land on my forefoot.
LO: You said you poured water on your head. Wouldn’t drinking water have been more sensible? I prefer to drink water than be drenched by it, personally.
I drank some water too. And other things like coke and energade which were provided at water stations along the route. And I ate Endura gels and a couple of salty potatoes.
LO: No birdies?
Oscar, let’s drop the pretence about birdies. I know your tummy has expanded whilst we’ve been away. [LO: I was on the brink of starvation!] But I know it was biscuits, not birdies. I’ve seen the evidence of where you broke into the sack. You have been biting food bags, not birdies, and helping yourself. [LO: Look Reader – it was that or death by starvation. And it was due to a birdy scarcity issue over the last 3 weeks, otherwise I would have obviously been catching my own food.]
LO: So, anyway, you mentioned wearing shoes. And running clothes. And running a very long way. That sounds uncomfortable. So, on a scale of 10 to fox-bitten, how painful was Comrades in Ultramarathon?
Erm, I’m not sure I quite understand how your scale works. Is 10 the most painful, or fox-bitten?
LO: Numbers are not painful, Huminion, but fox bites are. I nearly died! [Sorry Reader – I really do wonder about this one…]
Lucky I was such a great kitty-nurse, then, hey! How painful was it? There were times when it was painful. At about 70 kilometres, I realised my ankle felt sore and probably would have benefited from being strapped, but I didn’t have time to stop and anyway, after a while it stopped hurting and I forgot about it. And there are times when it was hard to go from walking pace to running pace, particularly on the hills. But I wouldn’t say that was particularly painful – just mentally hard. And my tummy was upset, but again, it wasn’t painful – just uncomfortable. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as I’d told myself it could be. And Hubstacle and Herbert couldn’t get parked, so it couldn’t have been that bad, as I managed to walk about a kilometre back to the car. I think the pain came the next day when the aches set in, my ankle swelled up and my toes told me I should have bought shoes in the next size up.
LO: EWW! I don’t want to look at huminion toes! I think we’d better wrap up. My final question is, now that you’re back, are you planning to stay here and not leaving me again?
I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. But I can’t promise that I won’t leave you again. I have a date with a Down Run and 2 medals to bag next year: the one for completing the race and the other for completing the “back to back”.
LO: And my last final most important question: when are you going to buy me some more biscuits? Mine seem to be running low.
PS. This blog is not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned above. Strangely, they seem to work with elite athletes on the whole, rather than those of us inhabiting the back-of-the-pack.