Not quite a running cyborg (yet)
I knew I was unlikely to win, but top five was a possibility. Who else was going to be training like me, with a 3,100-mile race in mind?
When I entered the EnduranceLife South Devon coastal marathon back in October, I had visions of standing on the start line feeling like a supercharged running machine. By then, with the way I was going to train, I’d be crushing the miles, building fitness like I’d never known. I’d take a small marathon like this and chew it up and spit it out. OK, I knew I was unlikely to win, but top five was a possibility. Who else was going to be training like me, with a 3,100-mile race in mind? Top 10 at the very least.
But alas, this running machine image I keep projecting on the horizon continues to be rather elusive. I have, as regular readers will know, been slowly increasing my training, and in January I ran over 200 training miles in a month for the first time. The slowly, slowly build up approach has meant I haven’t got injured, which is crucial, but 100-mile weeks still seem a long way off.
While I haven’t been injured, there have been a couple of bouts of illness in the last few months to slow down my progress. Nothing serious, just a few coughs and colds, but one of them was just this week. In fact, I didn’t run a step the whole week until the race started, and in the van on the way to the start I was still coughing and spluttering. I was hardly a vision of that invincible running cyborg destroyer I’d pictured.
The weather was perfect for running though, cool and still, and the ground was fairly dry, as we lined up in a field behind Beesands beach on the south coast of England. I felt fairly calm as we started the countdown. Often I get quite nervous, but this time I wasn’t thinking ahead, stressing or putting pressure on myself to do well. I’d run this race once before, so my first goal was to beat my previous time (4hrs 44mins) and my second goal was to go under 4hrs 30mins - simply because it was the next round number down.
But with the week of coughing and feeling ill, I didn’t know what would happen. I might get two miles in and have to stop and walk back to the start.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial