As always the week starts with a gym session and a day off from running.
So I thought I'd use today's entry to do one of those swirly flashback scenes to talk about marathons, this is at the request of Jim because the story makes him laugh. It doesn't make me laugh .
London will not be my first marathon, it will actually be my second although I don't count the first one, mainly because I hated every single bloody minute of it.
In 2019 I entered Kielder Dark Skies, I will say there was some bullying here by 'others' who told me I needed to do a marathon. So I entered and I persuaded my coaching partner Graham to enter with me. After a few weeks Graham made the absolute correct decision and decided it wasn't for him and stopped training for it.
I kept slogging away at training. I had no structure to what I was doing, I hate hills and I hate trails and an offroad hilly marathon in the dark was undoubtedly one of the stupidest ideas I've ever had. I hated training for it, on a long run I'd stop constantly to take photos of trees, the ground, anything that gave me a tiny excuse to stop running. I'd run via shops so I could go in and buy a bottle of coke and some haribo and then walk for a bit eating and drinking. The whole process was bloody awful.
On the day of the marathon, I stood on the startline with the 2 Paul's and Paddy, and off we went. A few others from the Poly were there, Colin and I think Ivor but I've buried these memories deep, deep down. So the Paul's, Paddy and me ran together for around 6 miles ticking off 8:00-9:00 min miles. Only problem with this was I hadn't trained to run at that pace, I had trained to run slower and to stop lots and take photos of trees and mud.
So they left me, I had 20 miles to run by myself in the dark around Kielder.
In my head I pictured the whole course being busy with people, but nope it wasn't like that. It was dark, I was alone, I was cold and I didn't want to be there. At one point I phoned my daughter at home to tell her how much I hated it and I wanted to come home, she told me I was doing great and to keep going. I wasn't doing great, I was doing 11 min miles and walking a lot and constantly working out how long I had left to go. I stopped at every drink station and drank 4 or 5 drinks and ate all the sweets they would give me.
At one point you weave up a hill that switches back left and right, a bloke just behind me tried to make a joke about it and engage me in conversation. I turned to him with sweaty salt marks all over my face and the residue of gel on my chin, scowled at him and politely but firmly said 'please don't f'ing talk to me' and then I walked up the hill staring at the floor in absolute silence with him right behind me.
Anyway, I finished after 4:31:21.
That's 4 hours, 31 minutes and 21 seconds of complete and utter misery that I endured. At the end you go into a hut with all the happy marathoners happily chatting and eating the tasty meal they had pre-ordered and it's all lovely and happy and upbeat.
I stood by the coffee urn eating the crumbed remnants of the free biscuits the greedy bastards had all polished off. Didn't even have a quid for a coffee so stole some blokes who turned round to get his pre-ordered meal. I have zero guilt about this.
Went home with the fellas who had all smashed it well over half an hour ahead of me. I got home and I stunk, my running tights and shoes were filthy and dusty, I had sweaty salt marks all over my clothes and face, sticky energy gel remnants on my face and down my top, I was still wearing a sweaty buff on my head, my gloves and my hydration vest.
I trudged upstairs and climbed into bed wearing all of it, I stunk and I lay there in bed next to my wife in that disgusting state. I recall her walking up later and telling me I stunk. She was right, I did and I didn't care.
I titled my Strava run that day as 'marathon 1of1 done & box ticked, you can stick your marathons up your arse'. So, what's the moral of this story?
It's don't be looking to me for life advice.
I'm an idiot.