Hello and welcome to the next blog. Sorry it’s taken a while to write. There’s been a lot going on and frankly, I didn’t want to write for the sake of writing. So here it is. Stick with it, I think it will appeal to most. It includes failure, running etuqiette and how I got banned from McDonalds, as well as a picture of my dog, who I shaved this week.
Failure. Just what is it? I don’t want this to sound like some kind of philosophical musing but seriously – what is it? If you ask that there interweb what it is, then you get this:
‘The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends’.
I ask, because on Sunday I failed. Or at least I thought I did. I pulled up in a marathon. After 11 miles I gave in. I stopped running, pulled out, did not complete the run. So I failed, I thought. After many great comments from people, though, I realised this might not be the case. Because if my desired end (for this particular goal, anyway) is to complete 52 sub 4 hour marathons this year, then I had only not achieved a component of the challenge as opposed to failing at it.
And so I have gained some perspective this week. Because ultimately, not doing something you hope or not achieving something you desire does not mean you have failed – it means that you have not yet succeeded and reached the desired end. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen – it just means it hasn’t yet. I may not have run that marathon on Sunday, but I will make up for it at some point in the year!
What has affected me, though, is that I am now not as certain as I was before about achieving a PB at the Brighton Marathon. What if it all goes tits up? I guess I won’t know until the day. I may not be confident of beating that time, but I am confident that I will put my entire heart and soul into the run. So long as I feel like I am going to die at the end, then I will have tried my hardest.
Interestingly, I wonder that if you transfer the definition of failure to suicide, does it suggest that suicide itself is not failing in life, as you have achieved the desired end? That is if it is indeed the desired end – and whether the person is of sound mind when they make the choice to die. Because I would say that most people ‘think’ about the act before actually doing it. But that’s just my own opinion. Others may hold others.
Now then, why did I not succeed? Well, my hip flexor was giving me jip. It was pretty agonising and I made a really tough decision to stop. It’s not in my nature to stop, and I toiled from about 7 miles through to 11 trying to think of reasons to keep going, but I now see that I made the right decision to stop because my leg could have become much more painful and have formed into a long term injury. The reason this all happened, I must say, is because I had already run a marathon on Saturday. Yeah yeah yeah, two marathons in two days. I honestly thought I could do it. Turns out I couldn’t! Here are the results for Saturday’s, which was at Dorney Lake. A fast first half marathon (1hour 38minutes) made the wheels come off in the second half!
So that’s the negative stuff out of the way. Well most of it, anyway. I also didn’t run a marathon last week – because I twisted my ankle playing football. But I’m not willing to give up on the football. I can’t – I enjoy playing too much. So I continue to walk on that knife edge.
Before that, on March 13th I did the Surrey Spitfire 20 which was run (brilliantly, by the way) by Events to Live. It was a great day. Loved it. First and foremost, it gave us the opportunity to run around the Top Gear Test Track. Running around ‘Gambon’, I knew I wasn’t the only person in the field who was making a car-tyre screeching noise in my head. Come on, we’re all children at heart. I obviously did an extra 6.2 miles on the end. The first 20 miles were flyers – I finished in 2 hours 30 minutes. Boom! Check the results page here (I came 93rd). That day I did forget my Garmin, though. So I had to use the GPS on my phone. So here’s a link to the Runkeeper data for the last 6.2miles. Apologies that it’s a bit inaccurate. Trust me when I say the straight lines mean they’re gone off track and have taken distance away rather than added it on.
Aside from the physical act of running, it’s been a busy few weeks. I had the absolute privilege to meet Liz Yelling and Richard Whitehead on Saturday. Two incredible marathon runners and generally top people. Here’s me and my new bezzie mate Liz:
I’ve also been given the opportunity to go to New York for the marathon there. It’s not a done deal yet, but I have been donated the flights by two amazing supporters! I won’t name them, as I know one wants to remain anonymous, but the generosity speaks volumes about the kinds of support I have received from people. I really hope that I continue to grab the imagination of people following my progress. I’ll keep you updated on this. Fingers crossed I can get a guaranteed entry, but at the minute it’s falling on deaf ears – if you know anyone who may be able to help me gain a place please please please ask them for me. I’d be ever indebted.
Let’s talk about etiquette. More specifically, the etiquette running per se, as well as the etiquette of the runners themselves.
There’s much debate out there of the dos and don’ts of running. Is it OK, for instance, to stop at a pub for a wee when you are mid run, when you have no intention of also stopping for a pint, for example?
Remember that all I offer here is totally my own opinion – if you agree or disagree then comment below…
First of all – MP3 players. Is it OK to run with these in a race? Many race directors say no and ban them. I say that you have to be an adult to race, so you should be an adult in making the decision yourself. They say it is to keep safe when you are running – but if you’re allowed to dress as a giant rhino and run, then arguably can have potential for you to do damage to yourself, as you don’t have great vision AND your hearing is impaired. So I guess the answer is that if you do run with music, make sure it’s for charity and then it’s OK. But do also know that you need to be aware of what is going on around you. I used to always run with music. Now it is hardly ever – purely down to personal preference. I use it as a reward system if I am finding a particular run quite hard.
Next up it’s greeting other runners. I used to get pretty sick of miserable bastards ignoring me as I said hello when I ran by them. I would prefer it if runners nodded, put up a hand, said hello or even winked at me (which has happened when close to Dukes Mound in Brighton! I also once saw a condom land at my feet from the bush!). But they don’t always do it. However, it must be pointed out that they might be in a personal battle and unable to talk. They might be in the zone or simply too tired. So who am I to break them out of that? They may, of course, be wearing an MP3 player and so unable to hear. So if you’re warning them that they’re about to tread in dog shit, make sure you use actions AND words. Or just let them step in it because they deserve it for wearing an MP3 player.
Acting around other runners and pedestrians. I don’t know whether you should pass other runners down the left or the right. Or whether you should warn them first. I tend to warn people who are walking down the street with their back to me. Otherwise I could be a mugger or a rapist! So I tend to give a “Hi, I’m running towards you, but it’s OK because I’m a runner and not a mugger or a rapist”. I’m obviously a slow runner to say all of that. And then there’s which side you should go if you are running towards other runners. Do you go left or right? Or just straight into them? I always give a point in the direction I’m going to go. That then covers the plebs who might be wearing an MP3 player. Trouble is, they might think you’re indicating that it should be them who moves on that direction!
As for pedestrians, well just be careful. Hold your ground and remember that you are allowed on the path as much as them. A close colleague found this out recently when she was abused by a disabled man when running on the seafront. The fact that he is disabled plays little to no part in the fact that she was abused. As far as I’m aware, disabled people are almost as unlikely to hit a runner as your average Joe. Anyway, I mentioned he was disabled because said darling colleague informed me that the man shouted abuse at her and then hit her with his crotch. Yes, that’s right. His crotch. Now there’s a disability most men would love. To be able to hit someone with your crotch is a hell of a skill.
Talking about running. How much should you talk about running? And what should you talk about? Is it common ground? Do you sound like a knob? I was stood in a queue for the toilet at a race not long ago and the blokes in front of me were chatting. I was listening and not getting involved as a) they were having a proverbial cock measuring and b) I was concentrating on ‘waiting my turn’ and not shitting myself. Those queues are always really long. They were talking about how many miles they run per week. “I only do about 190 a week. I used to do a lot more”.
“Oh yeah, I’ve slowed down this year. I’m only doing seven Ironman and four ultramarathons.” I love the look of the veteran runners around them who invariably cover a shit load of miles per week, but equally don’t measure it and are blatantly well endowed. Not covered here, but to be considered is the fact that apparently not everyone loves running and would prefer not to talk about it. Take this with a pinch of salt, though. Because deep down, they bloody love the idea of running in Five Fingers and without doubt want to hear what every mile split was from your last long run and how brown pasta has a much longer glycaemic index.
Cheating. Or withholding information, at least. I have been involved in two events where this has happened. One was at an event where we ran three marathons in three days. All off road and all self-navigated. It was called a ‘challenge’ as opposed to a race. But some absolute bell ends decided that where they could, they would cut corners. Instead of running around the perimeter of a field, for example, they would cut across it. In one case, I even saw them run across a friggin’ building site. I mean Jeez. That really gets on my tits. There is no first prize you absolute cocknocks. Who’s going to care, really? Well obviously I do, for a start. It’s managed to piss me off enough to write about it in my blog! The other example was when I was running the Chichester Challenge last year. Again, it was off road. As we ran up a track, there was a guy about 50meters ahead who carried on up the track. He missed an arrow that pointed left. The guy running just behind me said “don’t tell him, mate. Let him go on, it’s his own fault”. That guy is a pleb. A twat. A moron and a gimp. Again, there was no way we were going to win the race. So I called him a dick (in my mind as opposed to verbally, as he looked handy) and shouted after the guy. The guy thanked me and then ran off into the distance.
Finally, going back to the question of whether you can stop in a pub for a wee – it depends what pub (or establishment) it is. I must be the only person who has ever been banned from the McDonalds on the A259 to Brighton. Last year, when I was training for the 3 marathons in 3 days thing I would often run home from work. Being quite new to distance running, my guts often took some adjusting and about 11 miles in, ideally situated, was McDonalds. And so I would plod in wearing my tight tights and little vest with woolly hat and gloves. My McShit was well deserved and a hell of a relief. Trouble is, after a few visits I gained notoriety and was met at the door by someone with a number of gold starts on his chest. I guess one of them was awarded for turning people away from using the toilet facilities without buying anything. Shit! Literally! I had to find another plan. Luckily, I always carry money with me. So I told the jobsworth that I would buy something, went to the counter and bought the cheapest item – a hambuger, since you ask – and then threw it into the bin before heading to the john for a McShit with a grin on my face. Best 79p I’ve ever spent. And cheaper than some toilets at London train stations. Trouble is, on leaving the shop, I was asked not to come back – paying or not. Discrimination, that! Good job there are lots of lovely pubs in Shoreham who are more than willing to help me out. They often provide a nice glass of water if needed.
Before I go, please also note that it is important to be nice to race marshals – they give up their own time to help at races!
Things I haven’t yet talked about and will save for another time include meeting the brilliant people at the Sports business Network, the effects of self belief and knowledge of what you can achieve and the mental states achieved when running. All topics for another time, of course.
For now, it’s over and out. But not before showing you a picture of my dog, whom I took the clippers to and shaved mercilessly. Sorry, boy.
Please do remember to spread the word of what I’m doing. Share the blog on Facebook and Twitter, direct people to the website http://www.52marathons.co.uk and give them my email if they want to find out more email@example.com
And finally, don’t forget that I’m raising money for two great charities:
http://is.gd/IyWkpG - Passingiton
http://is.gd/IyWkpG2 - Rethink
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