After I got back from London three weeks ago it didn’t take me long to start thinking about entering another marathon. In fact it took me about as long as uploading the run onto garmin connect. The thing that really got me thinking was looking at my 20 mile time, which on the day in London was nearly 10 minutes slower than pretty much all my training 20 mile runs. That isn’t how it should be. I can get struggling in the last few miles but really I should have been good up to at least 20. I thought about all the training I’d done, all the early starts and long runs and the literally hundreds of miles I’ve run and thought that my time did not represent the work that I had put in.
I also got to thinking that the London marathon is just a total sensory overload. I didn’t feel like there was time or mental space to think, to zone out, to go to that funny sort of run thinking mode I go into. It’s so, well, intense that you just don’t have the ability to take it all in and in the attempt to do so I think I missed the whole enjoyment I get from running. It’s not that I have great big earth shattering thoughts but the feel is very different when the crowd is so loud you can’t hear yourself think for 20 miles. I sort of pined for a little race, like the ironman run in Nottingham where for long periods it’s just you, the geese and the padding footsteps of other worn out people around you (and pilla’s cowbell). I wanted a little race. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy London, it is an amazing experience, it’s just I don’t think I enjoyed it in the same way I normally enjoy my runs.
I thought I’d made some silly mistakes too. Things I should know by now but either forgot or thought I would get away with. Given it was warm and I’ve suffered before, I should have taken salt tablets. I should have run with my gels in a waist band rather than carry them and get annoyed with holding them. I should have worn sunglasses – on sunny warm days I find they give the illusion of it being cooler. I shouldn’t have had a non-carb dinner the night before. I should have sipped my gels and water over a long period rather than gulp them down. They are not major things, just silly little things that all add up. Little things I’d like to correct then have another go.
So I did the silly thing on the day after a marathon of signing up for the next one! And pretty much since then, as anyone that follows me on Twitter will already know, I have had a cold. My running has gone to crap, I feel unprepared, not ready and not very much looking forward to it.
This is crazy because really I have so much to be grateful for:
- I’m fit, injury free and am about to spend a weekend doing something I love
- The weather will be lovely
- I’m going to meet some friends
- I’m going to be paced for the first part of the run by the most handsome man on Twitter
I think in some way I’m trying to re-create what we did in Nottingham last year. A nice hotel, an italian meal the night before and quietly kicking the ass of a nice little run in the morning. When I asked for some positivity off Twitter on Friday I got some lovely responses plus proper actual running legend @sidowski just replied with ‘#outlaw’. This isn’t the first time something he’s said has made me want to do something stupid. I vividly remember reading his blog of the first outlaw he did and thinking ‘I want to do this’. Anyway back to my rambling story, not only have I been through more before but I love doing it. I want to do this and, as I have already paid for the hotel, am flipping well going to do this!
Obviously I couldn’t do it without @pilla_uk who is indulging my fascination with spending large parts of weekends trying to inflict as much pain as possible on my legs again and who I’m rewarding by treating her to a night away in Milton Keynes’ finest hotel (the fact that it’s exactly where the start of the race is has nothing to do with why I booked it of course!). It might not have the crowds of London but it’ll definitely have the noisiest and best spectator.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to have the best support crew on the day as I think she’ll be joined by Loz and Rae. Loz wrote a pretty brutal account of running last weekend (https://ironlozza.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/shoes-will-burn-and-blood-will-bubble/) and if it gets hard on Monday I’ll use some of that to get through it. Running isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun but it almost always ends of being a positive experience whatever happens. If the worst thing that happens is that I plod through a marathon but have a lovely weekend, well that’s a big win in my book.
I’m pretty sure there will be chocolate milk and beer at the end. Both of which I love. Both of which taste at their absolute best after 26.2 miles. So throw your best at me Milton Keynes, I’m coming for you!