Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Norse proverbs for the run

For a while there I was a big fan of Norse literature. There's still a bunch on my bookshelves downstairs. I'm amazed that Hollywood hasn't appropriated them into a blood and guts bastardization of the literary tradition. Unfortunately for them, trying to do anything else after failing at filming comic books is a huge step up. Besides, Egil could eat today's comic "superhero's" for breakfast and not even belch after.

The Norse had lots of proverbs, all reflecting a very practical, if somewhat grim outlook on life. My favourites are:
Praise day at evening,
a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried,
a maid when married,
ice when crossed,
and ale when drunk.

The foolish man lies awake at night thinking of his many problems. When the morning comes he is worn out, and his trouble is just as it was.

The man that walks his own road, walks alone.

Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and give no truce to those enemies.

With his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes; thus each wise man spies out the way.

And last, one of the best - Deceit often sleeps with greed.

What has this to do with running, you ask? (The Norse have one about that too.) I was planning to run after work, even though my legs weren't sure about the whole darn thing. Not cranky, maybe a bit tired. It was just cool enough to wear tights and a long sleeved tech shirt. Limbered up inside, to the sounds of lots of leg complaints. They were positive they had read something about reading and drinking wine being on the agenda for tonight.

When I started it was a bit of a slog. It felt like my feet had ground magnets on them, and there was no stretch to any of my leg muscles. I didn't mind. I figured give it a couple K to come around and see then. I was taking a slightly different route than usual so I didn't really know how far I'd run. Imagine my surprise, expecting a 7:many pace, or even 8:xx for the first K, and hearing 6:45. My first thought was that the GPS was buggered, that I wasn't running that well. At 2K the time was just over 13 minutes, and my legs were feeling much better. My feet were light. I was still dubious, but just carried on.

After 5 K I could feel my hams starting to tire a bit and my stride was getting a bit uneven, and after 6 it was getting so sloppy I called it a run. I was completely expecting to see a zig zag line all over the map, but even looking in detail it's quite close to what I actually ran, so I'm believing that pace. The 5 K in the middle works out to 32 minutes almost exactly at 6:24 pace, easy and relaxed.

It was odd that I was thinking of the Norse proverbs before the run, and used them to get out and actually do it, as opposed to thinking it would be a terrible run and avoid it. Then during the run I was getting these great numbers from my phone. Occasionally the numbers have been so good (like a 4:30 per K pace) that they are totally unbelievable. But for me a 6:30 K pace is believable some of the time, if much better than what I was expecting tonight. So I was taking it with a grain of salt, trying to enjoy a nice evening run, but intending to look carefully at the map to validate my internal feelings.

And what do you know? The map is good. My feelings were misleading. Which is nice to have them wrong this way for once. Usually it's been that I feel I had a good run, then the watch tells me I was slower than I thought. This time it tells me I was faster than I thought.

The other learning is that I've now had several rides and runs, and swims too, where I wasn't sure about how it was going to go. Or if it was going to go at all. But I got into it, and it turned out to be not just better than expected, but much better.

Laziness and excuses don't just sleep together, they go everywhere together.

A workout started then ended early, is better than no workout.

Judge no workout before you've showered, and checked your electronics. It might feel good, and that's fine, but verify before gloating.

Here's the Runmeter stuff. Because I know you all love it.


  1. They were positive they had read something about reading and drinking wine being on the agenda for tonight.

    Love that line - my body always has a different agenda from what my brain is thinking!!

    Great proverbs - must remember them as I try to get back into some kind of running schedule after being away and not running for almost 2 weeks (and the PEI half is just around the corner)!!!

    1. Two weeks is just about perfect to get all rested up, all those nigglies to go away, and have a great run in PEI!

  2. Love those running proverbs! Glad you had a great run. I often find it very hard to tell how fast I'm going - especially in the evening if I've had a long day already.

    1. I passed over including some of the really grim ones. The actual Norse running one is, Every man is a runner when the need is there. In their case, I'm pretty sure "need" means either a polar bear, or a mob of angry men.

    2. Ha! Yes, they're a cheerful lot, aren't they?


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