The Robin Hood marathon and half marathon took place yesterday. It’s my local race, with the start within easy walking distance of my house, but I wasn’t there. I was actually entered into the half marathon, but I had other business at Twickenham on Saturday evening (don’t ask), and a lunch in Oxford with a friend making a return visit from Montreal, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to run.
Well, I say unfortunately, but actually I was pretty pleased not to be running. Although I’m clearly not doing the mileage that I was doing when training for the marathon in April, I’m still running four or five times a week and getting through seventy or so miles a month. Over the last few weeks it’s been a bit of a struggle: I’m still doing the miles, but I’m finding them much harder to do and I’m running about a minute a mile slower than I want to be. I thought initially this was down to a week off running when we were on holiday in August, and then I thought it might be down to a lingering cold that left me with a nagging cough. Maybe it’s a combination of both. What I do know is that I’m left feeling as though I have no power when I run; I have a tightness across my shoulders and arms, numbness in my feet and a feeling of weakness and sluggishness in my legs.
Perhaps in the broader scheme of things, I shouldn’t be worrying about running nine minute miles rather than eight minute miles…. But I do worry. Who knows what it might be or if my form will return?
As you might expect, I knew loads of people running yesterday. There were a bunch of colleagues from the office running to raise money for a local cancer respite home we’re supporting this year (I would have been proudly wearing this vest) and, of course, there were loads of people from my running club taking part. The marathon is a landmark distance for most runners, and I’ve found over the last few months since I ran my first at London in April that other runners tend to view you as a “serious” runner if you’ve completed the 26.2 miles of a full marathon. It’s not that you’re not treated with respect if you haven’t done one, it’s just that most runners understand what an undertaking the marathon is and how much time and energy the training takes up. Whatever your finishing time, it’s an achievement that definitely isn’t to be sniffed at. A bunch of guys in the club were running their first full marathon yesterday, and as I run with them a fair bit, they’ve been picking my brains over the last few months. It’s been fun listening to their worries and their ambitions, and yesterday I had a very keen eye out on Facebook to see how they did and to vicariously enjoy their success. It's also been quite funny to see those, adamant that they would only be running one marathon ever, change their minds almost as soon as they crossed the line. Well, we've all been there.....
I am glad that I didn’t run yesterday (and had a lovely Sunday lunch in the pub with friends instead), but I won’t lie to you: seeing the camaraderie amongst the runners and seeing how justifiably proud they are of what they’ve achieved, it’s renewed my hunger to get back into form and to push on with training for the London Marathon next year.
There’s miles to go yet before I sleep. Miles to go before I sleep.