It took a couple of days to recover from my first long weekend run. This was helped by plenty of donations towards my total early in the second week, mainly from Saints fans, most of whom I don’t even know. Finally thousands of posts on a football forum pay off. Although if I’d received minimum wage for each hour spent on there….probably best not to think about that. Thanks to all Saintsweb users who have donated though, and those who donate later. It’ll clearly mean promotion by marathon day.
I can blame Saints, and particularly the man below for the fact I never bothered with running when younger. I assumed you could be good at football just by walking, confuse the defenders by standing still. Unfortunately I failed to consider the fact that I was rubbish. I believe the below photo was taken in about the 5th minute when Matt needed a breather. Still, it was more enjoyable to watch football when skill was more important than fitness and pace. Who knows, perhaps actually keeping the ball is better than running around like headless chickens for 90 minutes. Probably why Saints are now better than England.
Although my fundraising ideas remain slightly limited, I did contact every company and organisation I could think of this week to see if they’d donate any raffle prizes or items to auction. I’ll mention any positive responses, but nothing to report yet! Just hoping I don’t have to tattoo a Nike logo on my head or something.
While I managed to run most days this week, it is sometimes hard to find the motivation. It’s not so much the prospect of physical exertion as repetition. The same routes are particularly demoralizing. I swear every direction from Eastleigh is uphill, plus it’s not the most scenic place, unless you’re a fan of pylons and warehouses. I’m doing it a disservice; on a sunny spring morning B&Q can look quite beautiful. So I start each run leaving Eastleigh and finding somewhere more interesting. It’s a good thing I’m started running greater distances, as the constant looping around Chandlers Ford was driving me crazy. Ironically so, given my chosen charity. Now I at least get out to the delights of Southampton, Winchester, Romsey and who knows where next?! In the back of my mind I’m considering attempting a run to Salisbury then getting the train back. Nearly 20 miles I believe, so definitely the furthest I could go before the marathon.
I do miss running in London though, so the marathon will be a welcome change. I’d love to run in some more idyllic locations at some point, maybe abroad, even if it means steep hills. Trail running is generally a lot more fun than roads in my experience, although running in a big city is never dull as there’s always something to look at. It almost helps to get a bit lost on a run, have the challenge of finding your way back and getting to know a wider area, far more than you ever would by car or train. In fact the further you run the smaller places seem to be.
I managed 17 miles on the long Sunday run this week, further than I’d intended although I did stop a couple of times. Once you get to a decent distance there always seems to be the motivation to see how much further you can go. I find extra energy and it feels like better preparation, as keeping going after a few hours with heavy legs is what the marathon is all about. The fact I have extra energy after these distances suggests I’m not pushing it enough. I’ve never been very good at speed training, sprinting even short distances and improving my times. I’m one of the few people that can run 10 miles and feel lazy.
While running I thought that after last week’s photo, it would be nice to take a picture on each long run, although often there isn’t much of great interest! Oddly, about 5 minutes before running by this road below, I’d considered the prospect of finding marathon related road names. Slightly ominous it was a dead-end though.
I see a lot of other runners out at the weekends, often with a smug nod in recognition of our efforts. I particularly enjoyed being overtaken quite easily by a man of at least 70. I’d love to still be able to run in later life, although right now I’m not looking past April. If I get fat and lazy after that I’ll just wear my marathon medal everywhere to avoid criticism. Still, I was reminded of the story of the oldest marathon finisher from last year.
The 100 year-old finished a marathon in Canada, having only taken up running at 89, and runs around 10 miles a day. He said, “The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.” Great advice, and perhaps I could run even further if I was happier! As impressive as a marathon at 100 is, if I fail to beat his time this year then I’m clearly not going to live that long. And please don’t leave it 70 years to sponsor me just on the off chance I might still be running then.
I can see how happy people might live longer though, and running isn’t going to make anyone sadder, so it’s a good step forward. I’ve found it’s important to keep running when not so happy. As with many things, depression can make you want to stop running, it’s draining and exhausting. If you can learn to keep up the running anyway, it’s a huge help. It’s not like you need to be sprinting around with upbeat tunes in your ears. I’ve got through a lot of audiobooks and podcasts on slower, longer runs. Sometimes it becomes easier simply because you switch off and focus on something else. Or even just having some space to think, you don’t focus on the effort you’re putting into running in quite the same way. It probably won’t help you improve your pace, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting out running, and in the long-term it will only be beneficial.
While on the subject of impressive older runners, I remembered this story. I can’t believe a Daily Mail link has made it into my blog, but even the worst publications get it right sometimes. A 70 year old many who has completed 1,000 races while pushing his son. Bewilderingly impressive, and that’s before you discover they somehow finished a marathon in 2 hours 40 minutes! This was supposed to be an inspiring story, but that might just make me feel pathetically slow. It does show just how far people can push any limits though and while I doubt I’ve got a thousand races in me, I’ll definitely be running as long as I can. Maybe we’ll have reached the bionic leg stage by the time I’m 70 anyway and even I can crack a 3 hour marathon.