When I first signed up to do the marathon there were 11 months to go, then somehow when I wasn’t looking that turned into 6 months. Then there was the slight matter of an international move involving 8 weeks of temporary housing in two countries, living out of suitcases and extended periods of school holidays where I was the 24 by 7 sole care giver for a lot of that time (cue tiny violins). After that we moved into our house, unpacked some boxes and all of a sudden there was 3 months to go.
Now there are 2 months left before the first Sunday in November.
All the training planning, weight loss and cross training I did in theory over that time is past. Now is now and very real. Right up until Monday I still had a plan but now what I mostly have is fear and an annoyingly large amount of small pimples all over my face from spending so much time sweating and obviously not effectively washing my face when that sweating had ceased.
On Labor Day Monday I participated in what is strangely called in America a 10km race. Don’t get me wrong, kiliometres are my thing, I like to measure those units but they seem not to use them at all here in the USA. Not in my car’s speedometer, not for speed limits, not for distance to destination – just for one or two foot events. Makes sense to me, if you are going to run in the first place why not make the number of your achievement as large as it can be. It just sounds so much better to say – I ran 10 kms today rather than I ran 6.25 miles. You would also have to agree it definitely sounds better to say I have just run 42kms rather than 26 miles, you know, if you ever happen to do that.
The race was the ‘Y to Y’ fairly self explanatory, from one local YMCA to another conveniently distanced one. Described as a ‘relatively flat’ course (in relation to the hilly roads that abound in our neighbourhood) and was an obviously ploy to get people to sign up as well as a trap for young players, or fools such as myself who didn’t know most of the uphill came after the 8km mark.
Deciding to register on race day morning I briskly walked the 2kms over to the Y (the walking was part of my plan) and was fairly happy with my bib number of 1191 thinking that meant there would be plenty of punters, maybe some walkers, someone who may end up behind me instead of in front. I don’t mind not finishing first but dead last can be a bit disheartening.
Sadly I didn’t read the fine print and it seems that they may have handed out numbers to ‘phantom runners’ who might have nominated to run and paid a fee but didn’t actually have to turn up on the day…… There were significantly less entrants than I was hoping for as the 7.30am start time drew closer, including some very fit and fast looking mothers with running prams.
The plan was
– run my own race, slow and steady
– rest briefly at the end and then run slowly and steadily back home a slightly different route, approximately 13kms which would make it my long run for the week at 25kms
I was perhaps thrown off by worrying the yummy mummies were going to run me down with their prams, or perhaps it was the instant silence and hand on the heart for the national anthem at the 7.30am start time- I hadn’t expected the patriotism so early in the morning.
When the gun went off and the police motorcycles pulled out I had some kind of rush and felt I had to up my pace – which was of course – NOT IN THE PLAN. Still as I had been towards the front of the start the first 500 metres was a wave of people passing me as they surged forward and I anxiously waited for a toddler to lean out, look over his shoulder and blow raspberries at me.
Thankfully that didn’t happen, I finished what my onboard measuring devices said was 10.15kms in 1.12 (remembering the PBM recently ran a hilly 14kms in 1.16) and then turned to jog for home. Its just that I couldn’t make my legs do it, they resisted and instead I ended up walking most of the way. 25kms ticked off for the day, just not with the walk to jog ratio I was looking for. I didn’t do my long run and I spent half an hour in the bath soaking when I got home panicking about being able to finish 42kms when the time comes.
As the week has gone by, the fear grew until I was dreaming and waking in fright of the outcome. Then I woke up today which marks 1 year since we set off up Mt Kilimanjaro and I remembered I had a plan then too, which all came apart on the mountain as these things tend to do, but I still made it to the top. So maybe, just maybe I can do this too.