Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Last night we went to the Cavendish 25th Anniversary Ball - a wonderful evening, full of fun and spent with good friends many of whom I haven't seen for too long.

Of course I was singing for my supper to some extent in that I had been invited to speak briefly about my return to the roads and running the London Marathon this year for Cavendish. And I was dressed in my running gear - dinner jacket bow tie cummerbund and all the trimmings.

And I'm running like this to raise funds and have some fun on the day although of course the running will be much more difficult. Because I've got marathon running "form" people think running London must be easy for me - so unless I make it more difficult they won't sponsor me!!

Well it isn't easy!! A marathon is never easy - or rarely. Certainly not for me. It hurts. Those last few miles are rarely a pleasure. And that's just on the day. The training is punishing and there's so much of it. Pushing myself to get out and do the long lonely training miles is difficult. And training for London involves flattish miles which I hate even more.

So last week a long relatively flat run of around 4 hours / 24 miles. And this weekend a flat 10 with Heather who is training for the Sheffield half - Heather is a good runner but needs pushing because she likes to stop for a breather every now and again! That was Saturday .... and today the exact opposite - a brutal 18 miles taking in 5 huge steep long climbs in a howling gale, lashed by rain. But actually quite warm.

Good for strength, plays to my strength - but not as good for London. It's just tough, dogged, lonely miles - and you've got to do them no matter how experienced you are. The only thing my experience brings me is the knowledge that I will get round, I will complete, whatever happens. I know how to get through those difficult miles, how to manage my body when the wheels fall off. But easy - NO!

Except very occasionally - this photo reminds me of when I was in the form of my life, training for and just after Challenge 30 when I was running marathon after marathon and a 30 mile route in training every weekend. Only then was an "ordinary" marathon relatively easy.


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