As I hobbled into the front garden after my cooldown walk with our dog Sushi I just lay down in the foetal position, unable to take the six steps up into the house. Sushi licked my face and I didn’t move. Then the sprinklers came on. I still didn’t move.
The marathon is essentially an arbitrary distance anyway (26 miles, 385 yards). Some dude called Pheidippides ran that distance from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to deliver a victory message…and promptly DIED. Doesn’t that tell you something?
A trip to the US requires me to combine the original purpose of the trip with either a half-marathon, attendance at a baseball game, or both. During April’s trip I went to see the Clearwater Threshers and Palm Beach Cardinals play home games in the Florida State League, and I had a great view for…
This was galling: 15 months previously anything over a few hundred yards was a major achievement, and here I was giving a half-marathon the big shrug. Someone’s really got to lead the charge in changing the name to something energising. Something that sounds like a completion rather than the…y’know…half completion of something.
“I wondered to myself whether any uninjured person on target for their goal time has even stopped at the 20 mile mark. Maybe if lots of people have…there’s probably a Facebook group for those people where everyone congratulations each other on reaching the big 2-0 in miles and fighting back against the lunatic idolising of 26.2.”
One supposedly helpful phrase from a trainer haunted me through much of my marathon training: “After 10 miles you should feel as if you have put in very little effort”, which is to say, ‘if you’re hoping to do 26.2 miles without it killing you, you should still be feeling pretty good after 10, otherwise…yeesh…you don’t wanna know’.
It turns out that American tourists aren’t the only ones who struggle with roundabouts – my dog has no idea what she’s doing either. It may be that both suffer from bewilderment at having to go round something rather than straight over it.
“There were thousands of people lining the route, which was a tremendous lift but had my legs whispering “5K pace, 5K pace” loudly in my ear. I don’t know how my legs were able to whisper in my ear but they did. I told them harshly to get back lower than my butt and do as they were told.”
…1,000 miles, 1.5 million steps and 150 hours in training. An entire swamp of revolting energy gel packs, three pairs of running shoes, half a tub of Vaseline and way too many 4:30am and earlier alarm calls. Not to mention approximately 100 times having a needle stuck into me by my chiropractor.
Today at a water stop, where I made a “Where’s the hot chocolate?!” wisecrack, he took a cup of the almost-freezing water, shouted “Ice cup challenge!!” and poured it over his own head. Genius.