Watch this clip, then read…
The last line in this locker room speech, is the question that came to me in the Salford 10km. I am running neck and neck with training partner, Tom. I am hurting, he is hurting, our watches have both beeped at mile 4 and we have just run a very slow mile. Suddenly, there is no hope left for me to run the kind of time I am striving for. The leaders are far up the road and only getting further away. We are completely alone on the streets of Salford, with 2 miles still to go. This experience couldn’t feel further from the glitz and glamour of London Marathon.
It is all going wrong, I am running badly, my goals have evaporated, it feels like I am on a hiding to nothing, there are no cheering crowds, no friends or family supporting me, that is when I hear Al Pacino ask me;
‘So, what are you going to do?’
Should I just pack it in? Slow it down to where it doesn’t hurt any more? And who will know or even care?
Or, push on through the pain anyway, and fight to the end.
This is why I love racing. I have to love racing, otherwise why the hell am I doing it? Driving for hours through Easter traffic, just to spend time AWAY from my family. The questions that get asked of me in a race, they just aren’t asked in any other sphere of my life. And I love being asked those questions. In the moment, it feels like ‘that’s what living is’.
Tom and I, after recording mile splits of 5.00, 5.06, 5.13 and 5.20, manage to reverse the trend with 2 final miles of 5.14 and 5.09. I pull 6 seconds out of him on the final stretch and get him back for kicking my ass (and stealing my record) in parkrun a few months ago (read post here).
Although my finishing time of 32.00 is not what I wanted, not even close, I feel satisfied and proud that I answered the question as best I could when it came.
Big thankyou to the organisers at Salford Harriers for putting on a fantastic race. Friendly, old school vibe and impeccably run, highly recommend!
There are lots of excuses I could delve into as to why I didn’t run well, certainly not as well as my training has indicated, but I am bored of doing all that. Sometimes you just have a bad race, and it’s a waste of energy to over think the shudawudacuda. Brush yourself off and onto the next one.
In all honesty, even if the race had gone well, like, out of my skin amazing, I might only have run 30-40 seconds quicker, and that is still not really in the region of where I want to be. It is not going to give me the sub 2.20 marathon I am gunning for. This is something I am prepared to pour some thought over.
With the race being on a Friday, a long weekend ahead of me, and 3 weeks still to go before London Marathon; I am in a position where I might just be able to roll the dice and take a gamble.
So, I put in, back to back, double hard days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I know that on Bank Holiday Monday I can have a total rest day, i.e. no work and no training. I could get injured, ill, or fatigued doing this, but I could also boost my fitness if I allow myself time to absorb the workload, eat and sleep well.
Saturday session goes really smooth, I am nervous going into it, but finish feeling like I could have done more. Sunday morning, I am achey, flat and tired. I decide that 6min miling for 20 miles is what I am going to do, and so I do it. I listen to the same song 40 times, and run in beat with it. I break my run up into 4x5mile segments, and imagine getting to see my kids when I complete each segment. I usually reserve imagery of my kids for marathon races, so I know I must be on the edge here. Last few miles are tough. But it is done.
The song, incase you are interested…
Really tired after, takes me 40 minutes to have a shower and get changed. Go for a roast and Easter Egg hunt at a neighbour’s, it runs abit late, I am beat. I start my shake out 6 miler at 8.30pm on Sunday night. I have chafing, terrible heartburn, it is raining, windy and pitch black. I see a frog hopping off the curb into the road. I am lost in my own thoughts and by the time I decide to go back and help it, I can’t find it anywhere by the light of my head torch. I run on. When I return from my ‘out and back’ route, I see it this time, clearly, in the middle of the road, one leg sticking in the air.
100 miles done and just one more week of serious training before taper town.
Non-running related highlight of the week:
My cousin and family visit for the Easter weekend, and after my horrendous drive from Salford back to Wales, I take Jim and his cousin Logan to play in the afternoon sun. We do parkour for half an hour, it is so much fun just jumping around on stuff without a care in the world. Washes away all the stress from the drive.
Best thing on the internet this week:
Fantastic interview with Boston and New York marathon winner, Meb Keflezighi:
Thing I’m digging this week:
I find a nearly finished bottle of shower gel in the gym shower. Hmm, looks nice, nicer than mine, so I try it out, as you do. Game changer! It has taurine in it, makes you feel amazing for about 10 minutes. I have bought my own bottle now, to bribe myself; “Just run this last mile and you can use the magic gel”.
|Monday||REST||10 in 59min|
|bit quick for a Monday, but feel so fresh after mini-break weekend|
|Tuesday||REST||1 mile – 5.07. 20x200m in 30sec (1min rest). 10 miles total|
|struggling to get out of bed after clocks have gone forward. Track feels easy|
|calves tight AM from track. Hard day at work, freezing cold. Tired in evening run.|
|Hard day at work. Drive to 2hrs30 to Salford feeling bluhhh|
|Friday||Salford 10km – 10th. 32.00. 10 miles total||10|
|Don’t sleep well, groggy in warm up, heavy in race. Beautiful run PM|
|Saturday||5x1km in 3min (3min rest). 7 miles total||8tm|
|bit scared I won’t be able to run 3min km pace. Feels good, very happy. Nap 1hr|
|Sunday||20 miles @6min miling. 21 miles total||6|
|achey and tired after hard week, but decide I can’t accept slower than 6min miling|
|TOTAL:||100 miles||tm = treadmill|