A Running Concern

It’s three days to the Causeway Coast Marathon and reality hit home when I received my joining instructions yesterday. These are so long and detailed that I could probably run a marathon in the time it will take me to digest and process them. Cutting to the chase, though, it is 26.2 miles of road, beach, trail and rocks. With a lot of hills thrown in for good measure. Well, what else would I be doing on a Saturday morning?

Now there’s a question. I could be doing a LOT of stuff. Watching Adam play rugby for a start. I knew I’d miss a game by signing up for Causeway Coast but justified it to myself at the time. The nearer I get to Saturday, however, the more I wish I was going to his match. I should be on the touchline supporting him, instead of pandering to my own selfish needs. I feel bad about that and nothing will convince me otherwise.

I could also be working on the book. This week has been a busy one so I’ve barely touched it. I hope to get back to editing this evening, but I’m desperate to complete the latest draft by the end of September. I can ill afford to sacrifice another Saturday when there is still so much work to be done. I bet Tolkien or Rowling didn’t down tools to run 26.2 miles at such crucial points in their writing journeys.

Work is also crazy at present. Deadlines are looming large and there is overtime available if I wished to avail of it. The extra money would be welcome with the expenditure of Christmas on the horizon, but instead I’ll be slogging around the Northern Irish countryside while paying the race organisers a small fortune for the privilege. Not to mention the cost of diesel driving there and back, the weekend before pay day.

There’s also the voice telling me I’m not ready. This will be my ninth marathon but, I go into it feeling less confident than ever. Training runs have been inconsistent and I feel nowhere near the fitness levels I’ve accrued in advance of previous events. I feel sluggish and am filled with trepidation. This isn’t a PB course but I’m anxious of blowing up in spectacular fashion and missing my sub 4:30:00 target.

The hope is that, come race day, experience will kick in and I’ll be dragged to the finish line by a combination of adrenaline and being in the company of my fellow runners. I’m trying to put less pressure on myself for this one and just enjoy the experience. Try telling that, though, to the persistent, nagging voice telling me this will be the day the world will realise what a massive charlatan I’ve been all along.

After Saturday I’ve decided I’ll pull down the curtain on marathon training for 2018. I have so many other competing priorities and the thought of solo 20 mile runs in the dead of winter is an unappealing prospect. My tenth marathon will be next May at Belfast with my now traditional warm up run at the Omagh Half Marathon the previous month. After that, we shall see as to whether or not I call it a day. My body will tell me.

Good, bad or indifferent I’ll publish a post after the race to update you all on how I fared. I know I will be excited come Saturday morning, it’s just there seems so much grown up stuff to wade through between now and then. I’ll worry myself silly over a million and one distractions. Focus and patience are the attributes I need to display. Then, when I reach the finish line I’ll let my feet do the talking.

What are you up to this weekend?

Are you excited? Nervous? Worried?

22 thoughts on “A Running Concern

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  1. You can do this! This is your hobby, yes there are other things going on in family life, there always are but you can’t feel bad for not being in 20 places at the same time. I had a similar thought about choir the other day, if I just stopped going I could save £7 a week for Christmas and that would all help. But It’s the one thing I do for me, I love how happy it makes me feel and my family wouldn’t want me to give that up. I’ll be thinking of you! ✊🏼

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  2. You know when you catch the plane and the instructions always tell you to put your own mask on first before helping others. That’s your run! That’s the time you spend on you to make sure your mask is on. It helps build/maintain the base of you that then helps you to help others. Run and enjoy.

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  3. Everything worth doing requires sacrifice. I have read your blog for a decent amount of time now to feel confident in saying that I know your family is supportive of this for you because they know it is important to you. I know you are sad about missing your son’s game but is there any way you guys can have the game filmed so you can watch highlights later? I know it’s not the same but maybe it would help a little?

    You are going to be amazing! You are going to crush it and sail through that finish line victorious no matter what because of all the effort you have put into this! Good luck my friend!

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  4. You said it yourself, a few weeks ago. Run. Enjoy the scenery that you don’t see daily. Live in that moment. Don’t get enmeshed in the “what if’s, and coulda, shoula, woulda” mindset. This is a reasonable last marathon for the season, and when you come home – you can get back into whatever form of busy suits you best. You’ve got this – and maybe you don’t knock out a Personal Best – it’s still an amazing journey to be on.

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  5. If I feel up to it I’m planning to write a fantasy short story. It’s been in my head for a little while, and I’ve come across a fantasy short story competition that I’m thinking of submitting it to. Generally I never bother with competitions, but as I had the story already forming in my head and saw the competition I thought why not? I’m aiming for about 1500 words. I will probably post the story here on WordPress once the competition is over. It will be a humourous one about a party of adventurers who suddenly realise they are role playing characters. It will be a change from the darker stories I’ve been writing lately.

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