"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, 17 August 2012

Changing focus and pre-race nerves

It’s the eve of Race the Train, and I’m feeling a tad nervous… A 14 mile stint across rugged Wales farm land vs. a train; what have I signed up for?! Not only that, but the parents are coming along so I’ll have to make sure they’re entertained prior to the race without expending too much energy…

I’m apprehensive about tomorrow for a couple of reasons:
1. I want to beat that damn train! I’m concerned I’m not fit/strong/fast enough, and I'll look like a 'wannabe'
2. It’s my first long distance race since the marathon which royally botched my knee – will my legs be able to take it? I don’t want to undo all the hard work from the last 3 – 4 months of getting back to fitness.

I just want to be on the start line (well, having just crossed the start line to be precise). I always, always, (always!) get nervous before races, particularly ones I haven’t taken part in before.

At running club on Tuesday I was speaking to one of the faster runners, and after telling her about my marathon experience, was given a good 5 minute talk on why folk my age shouldn’t be contemplating a marathon. What we should be doing, it was claimed, is focusing on shorter distances and hence speed. The reason being that when we get older we won’t be able to post those fast times, and that is when we should focus on endurance. (I’m not inserting a joke here about stamina and endurance !)

Of course what she said made total sense, and I did agree with her that focusing on speed now while possible is the logical thing to do. However, I don’t regret running a marathon; it was a massive achievement and meant a lot more to me than simply running 26.2 miles! The marathon was essentially the easy part – the miles and miles of training I put in was the difficult part, and I think unless you have put in that type of dedication (I had less than 10 pints in 6 months, such was my dedication to get my body ready for the marathon) you aren’t going to completely understand the marathon and what it means.

None the less this has got me thinking; is setting a sub 3 hour marathon target before my 30th a realistic target? Should I be putting my energy into something else? Should I just be enjoying my running and not thinking about time and distance? I’m not sure I’ll ever completely be able to do the latter as I am very competitive by nature, and I want to be the best that I can be at anything I do. I do enjoy, no, love, my running, and I work harder when I have a target I am aiming for… Who knows; having come in to running quite late in life I have no comparison to make against other runners, or know that many except for those at my club.

Questions, questions, questions! The only certain thing for the moment is the impending 14 miles I’ll be toddling along tomorrow

1 comment:

  1. Answer to your question: do what makes you happy! You are competitive so why not use that to your advantage and go for your sub-3 marathon. Never mind you age. Some people will never get sub-3, you have a chance. Why not just go for it? :)