Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sub 3 & Marathon Ambitions

Marathon ambitions fall into three categories:

The “I just hope I can finish” category:

While this category to those unfamiliar with running might at first appear strangely under-ambitious, when you consider the first person to run a marathon actually died (while that blog entry will come later, for the moment don’t worry - he hadn’t done any training, didn’t hydrate and went off too fast) then finishing a marathon is an exceptional achievement in itself.

You will know those who fall into this category from comments such as: ‘Jesus!’ ‘26.2 miles!’ ‘What was I thinking?!’, ‘Do many people die running these things?’, ‘I just hope I finish’ and an internet search history that includes ‘how long is a marathon?’, ‘marathon deaths 2010 - 2016’ and ‘marathons gone wrong’.

The “enjoying the event/city” category:

26.2 miles and some people run it just to ‘enjoy’ the event and scenery!? The answer is yes. These individuals tend to have already ran several marathons and due to either age, injury or an absence of hard training this time around, are not chasing a personal best time. Instead, they are happy to take it easier than they might normally do and enjoy what is a wonderfully amiable occasion, except for the final few miles because no matter how easy you take it, the final few miles always sting.

You will know those who fall into this category from comments such as: ‘What am I doing this weekend? Oh, just heading to Rome. Want to see the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum and run a marathon’, ‘I’ll just take it easy’, ‘I wonder what Athens is like in November?’, ‘that’s a beautiful bridge’, and an internet search history that includes ‘’, ‘Helsinki weather July’ and ‘restaurants in Dublin’.

The “personal best” category: While there is an overlap with the first category to create a special “I hope I finish and under 4 and a half hours” category of first or second time runners, the “personal best” category generally consists of people who have ran at least one marathon and are chasing a time. It doesn’t matter where on the spectrum that time is from a world record 2 hours 2 minutes to somewhere slightly over 5, the desire, dreams, hopes and fears are all very similar.

This is the category I fall under and my ambition is sub 3. I wrote 2.59.59 on a runner’s board in Berlin back in 2008 in my second marathon and fell short at 3.15. I’ve (usually) gotten closer in the half dozen marathons I’ve ran since but at 3.03.20 I am still 200 seconds short of it. This year though I am going to break it. At least that’s the plan. That’s always the plan.

You will know those who fall into this category from comments such as: ‘I’ve just done three days on so it’s a rest day tomorrow’, ‘Sorry, I can’t make it out this weekend, I’m breaking my new runners in’, ‘I heard that beetroot juice is good with couscous?’, ‘Ice with a dash of water please’, and an internet search history that includes ‘kale and quinoa recipes’, ‘carb loading’ and ‘how long should you spend in an ice-bath before you can forget ever having children’.

 20.4 K - 1 hr 42 - Long Run
With Tom & James we did a long leisurely loop around the Trim 10 mile course with the town field to finish. Weather ideal, weren’t slaves to the watch and I came across the nicest athletic neighbour who leaves water out for runners-by! Class.

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