Updated Spring 2016
It’s started again. In fact it started last autumn. There I was, enjoying the extra hours the school summer holidays give, finding myself running 16, 17 miles and more before the Robin Hood Half, and the voice in my head said “You’re almost marathon fit, you know you could do another one”. For various reasons I decided not to push it. But that voice hasn’t gone away. If I’m honest, I’m not sure it ever will.
So I’m starting this spring with two back-to-back Halfs, and then, maybe… I might just have to pluck up the courage to mention it to Mrs T.
Tin hat on…
Spring 2014 So, to cut a long story short (not easy for me – browse the blog, you’ll see what I mean!) I had hoped that in 2013 I might be able to come back from a long layoff and run a full 26.2 mile marathon, which would have been my sixth. I was also resigned to the fact that age and the accumulation of previous injuries might prevent me… and had accepted that if I failed I would not put my body through that strain again, which gave the plan a much deeper resonance.
In the event, a non-running health problem thwarted me, but this spring (2014) the medics cleared me to try again. So it’s back on. I have always said that while congratulating and even admiring runners on the day, most people generally don’t realise how long is the journey to a marathon start-line. This one is even longer for me.
So my goal remains as it was. Let’s see if I can make it to the start line; and if so I will let the day take care of itself. If not, my promise to my body also remains: this will be my last attempt.
Now then, where did I get to, before I was so rudely interrupted….. ?
[Psst! spoiler-alert: Read to the bottom ; ).]
Updated 18/08/13 – It’s over, read here.
Updated 25/03/13: the Robin Hood Marathon, Nottingham – full 26.2 miles – has been reinstated and my place from last year’s Half has been rolled over. So, Sunday 29th September, which will be my 3rd time at the event, as well as 15 half-marathons there. It’s real now.
I have run for many years, since my teens, mainly for relaxation and to counterbalance a lifestyle of work and travel and stress, and the pleasure of food and alcohol.
But I have also punctuated that relaxation with events each year. My current total is 36 half-marathons, a handful of 10ks, and five full Marathons. Half-marathons are fantastic, because you cannot just go out and knock one off; on the other hand, if you are running ok and ticking over, with a plan and a focus and some reasonable training and care, a Half is eminently do-able, and one or two a year give a real focus to your running.
Marathons are completely different, and infinitely more demanding (and therefore rewarding) than 2-x-a-Half. Maybe that in itself is a topic for a blogpost one day.
My last 26.2 was in Dublin in 2007, held over from the previous year due to injury. The legacy of that injury still lingers, and having finally built up (in my own head – nothing announced in public) to try again in 2012, it flared up again entirely without warning. I had to stop running completely for a spell, and try to repair and rebuild from scratch.
But by then I had got the marathon thing firmly in my head and felt the loss of it.
So this year I have gone public and said that I will try to run a marathon this coming Autumn. Which one I don’t yet know but I have three candidates which all fall around the same time, end-September to October. So I will continue with the repair and rebuild and hopefully by mid-summer I will be adapting my 16- or 12-week programme for the big day.
Part of what makes a full Marathon so special is that the training and the demands on your body in the preparation are quite extreme. Although I am running well at the moment I cannot be entirely sure that I will be able to complete the training this time. If I can bring myself safely to the start-line I will have another wonderful Marathon experience, I know that. But I have resolved something else, in keeping with the principles of TARS:
If I fail this time I will not put my body through that again.
I have always said that a Marathon is a long journey – for the spirit as well as the body – much, much longer than the 26.2 miles on the day. As I write this I do not yet know where this will end, but it will be a journey, for sure, and all the more poignant because it may prove to be my last.