Soon I will be running my first ever half marathon in Bath. I used to know Bath very well, the last time I was in Bath was in June 2007 when I graduated from the abbey. I have done and seen a lot in the last 5 years. Graduation day was a really proud moment when I got to celebrate 3 years of hard work and I return hoping that my 5 years of hard work will pay off.
A number of times I have been asked the question “what time are you aiming for?” and it is a question I have also asked myself. I have asked friends, asked twitter, looked at the statistics of my runs and played with running pace calculators. I have run a 10km (9.7km) race in 53.05 but could I have sustained the same pace for another 10km and then for than final km? I have done one (hilly) 21km run in 2.26, but what affect will the “flat and fast” course have? What affect will the crowds have? What mental affect will returning to Bath have? What affect will not knowing when to use affect and when to use effect have (I am a computer programmer for a reason)?
When I went and saw Garry Palmer back in November 2011 he posed the question to me. My response was that I wanted to run it, from start to finish, no walking any of it. Walking to me meant giving up, that I hadn’t trained enough and was a sign of weakness. Garry quickly poo poo-ed that idea, he stated his PB (personal best) marathon time (which I have forgotten – sorry Garry) and that he had walked part of it. He then outlined 3 times
- good day (2hr30)
- an amazing day (2hr15)
- “everything has gone perfect” day 2hrs.
At the time I thought that he was crazy. At that point I could not envisage run for 2hrs+, let alone run a half marathon in that time. I spoke to him the other day and he reminded me of those times and today they feel achievable, hard but achievable. Right now I have no more training sessions left and to adapt something my mum says to me [the time] will be what it will be and there is no doing anything about it.
Whilst out running I realised that the time taken from start line to finish line isn’t the time that is most important to me. Don’t get me wrong I want to do myself proud and get a “decent” time but what is most important is the time that I have added to my life, and the life that I have added to my life. As the old saying goes “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” There have been many times that running has physically taken my breath away, when I try to discover just where my limits actually are rather than where I think that they are. When I am breathing so hard because my muscles need all the oxygen that they can get. They need the oxygen because I am using them, not letting them atrophy whilst sat just watching other people live life on the tv.
time am I aiming for in the Bath Half?
- To quieten that voice that thinks that I can’t do it and that I am still fat and unfit
- To hold my head high
- Finish with a smile on my face (and probably fighting back the tears)
- Relax, soak up the atmosphere