When I first discovered that I had successfully received a much sought after ballot place for the London Marathon, my emotions were all over the place. I was immediately filled with immense joy and also deep fear; fear of the unknown distance and I was brought right back to the time before I ran my first half marathon. I was confident that I at least had the ability to reach 16, maybe 17 miles from half marathon training alone and a good fitness base, but that still left 9 – 10 miles of unknown territory.
Fast forward several months and my long, steady runs have dramatically increased in distance. I’m now regularly churning out efforts of 18+ miles and my body feels fine afterwards, with only hunger as a sign that I had been out running at all. I am quietly confident that I will arrive at the start line in London, ready to go toe to toe with the 26.2 mile challenge ahead.
Now, just because my body is ready doesn’t mean it’s all been sunshine and daisies along the way. The long runs have been a huge tax on my time, especially on Sundays. Often taking more than 3 hours to complete, they leave little room for other things on Sundays and I’ve had to turn down invites to a number of things so that I can train. Friends and family have been very understanding of this, for which I am grateful. Having a strong support network is a huge boost to any runner; they’re there to humour our inane discussions about pacing strategies, nutrition merits and all the other facts that non-runners really have no benefit for. They come to support and cheer us on at our races, no matter how big or small. Most importantly, they understand that a superb performance on race day doesn’t just happen on race day; it’s down to all the lonely miles logged, come rain or shine, that gets us to where we are atthe start line. I do believe this upcoming London Marathon will be my first and potentially last for a long time because of the huge time-sink that it is. In many ways, this reinforces my thoughts that I’m geared more towards traning for and racing in half marathons, where the longest run you may complete to really perform well is 14, maybe 15 miles, taking just over 2 hours. Perhaps one day, I will return to the 26.2 mile distance, but for now London will be my only marathon.
So, with that out of the way, what else have I been up to in the world of running?
I failed to get a place in the Royal Parks Half Marathon ballot. Dom wrote a really good post about the flaws of the system here and is spot on about potentially paying twice for an entry place. I shall run in the Cardiff Half Marathon instead and finally slay the demon that nearly made me DNF back in 2011.
I’m strangely calm about the Bath Half Marathon, mainly because it is part of the bigger picture of London Marathon training. I’m looking forward to racing again and the target in Dave and my sights is a sub 1:40 finish, preferably sub 1:38 if at all possible. All signs are pointing to “yes” and all the variables I can control have been controlled. All that’s left is for race day to be cool and overcast, with impeccable pacing and we should be set.
Lastly, my longest period of going without a PB at Cannon Hill Parkrun came to an end on Saturday with a new course PB of 20:37, down from 20:53 way back in early December. I should really treat this as my official 5k PB because whilst I ran Cardiff Parkrun in 20:26, I’m dubious of the distance measurement on the day where my GPS logged only 3.04 miles.
Plenty of Spring events are coming up, so I wish everybody luck with the remaining training planned.