As the great Kurt Cobain once said, “What else should I be. All apologies.” I want to use this post as a form of apology. So, I’m sorry. I am an addict. There, I said it. Why am I sorry? What have I become addicted to?I’m sorry because I know what I have become. I have become a marathon running bore (as opposed to just a regular bore which I know I am normally) and you are having to put up with it. I am addicted to running. And telling people about it.
It is probably no surprise that my marathon training has taken over my social life. It is, after all a pretty time-consuming pursuit. And that is fine. It is my social life. It is my training. The only problem is, I also feel it has begun to take over every other aspect of my life. I think about it all the time. When I lie in bed at night it is going through my thoughts. When I wake up in the morning, I begin to contemplate where I will go, how far I will go, or worse, on a rest day how I am going to stave off the desire to get out and run. And because I think about it all the time, I also want to talk about it all the time. When I am out shopping, I am thinking about how many steps I am doing. When I am at work, I try not to think about it. And when I am running, well you get the picture.
“Oh crap, here he goes again”
Now I can already visualise your eyes rolling at this news – trust me I do not need to visualise my wife and kids’ eyes rolling at this news as I see this for real on a regular basis when I mention the “m” word – and they think, “oh crap, here he goes again. Talking (or writing) about that ruddy race. It’s months away yet, is he ever going to stop going on and on and on and on and on about it. Give me peace!” I should point out that my family are thoroughly supportive of me doing the run – but, unlike me, they are not living it twenty four hours a day.
Now if you are friends with me on Facebook, it is a regular once or twice a week thing where I update my blog or maybe post some pictures from where I have been running that day or so. If you follow me here on WordPress then it is a post a week. But if you follow me on Twitter, then oh my god, it is less a drip, drip, drip of news and more a full on flood, a diatribe, an avalanche of running related comments, posts, likes and retweets of other runners posts.
I post pictures about my latest run, using my Fitbit app to document the distance, the time and the average speed. I go on about my splits – negative splits are the best I can tell you. I moan about the hills around my house. I have begun to follow various online running communities to connect with others also in training for the Spring marathon season (yes, I did not know that was a thing either until the last few weeks). I marvel at the stats of other runners who (inevitably) look faster, leaner and fitter than I am (because they are). I get boosted by people I have never met (nor are ever likely to meet) liking or commenting on my latest post as this makes me realise that I am not the only one with this affliction. But that does not make my addiction any less easy to digest for those in the firing line.
“There is no unsubscribe option on the spam I lob into their mailbox”
On Facebook and Twitter you can regulate a lot of this stuff. You can decide who you friend, or who you follow. You can scroll past it or just not click on the link. It is a minor inconvenience in a timeline dominated by dogs pulling sledges up hills before sliding down or your friends latest cute pictures of their children, or Trump, Brexit and the latest existential crisis to face the political establishment, or irrelevant adverts. So think of my friends who are not on Facebook or Twitter (yes, people like this still exist). Some of them get this stuff emailed to them on a weekly basis – and there is no “unsubscribe” option on the spam I lob into their mailbox every Saturday morning. Though there is, of course, the “straight to trash” rule you can set on any of my incoming messages.
But though I find my own journey fascinating, that does not mean it is anything less than dull to any other normal human being when I keep going on about it. I try to be interesting about it. I try to be amusing – note I said try, I did not say that I am – when I write or talk about it. But like any obsession, it is only of great interest if you are as into it as much as the other person is. If you want another definition of this, find a friend who is really, really into Star Wars, and tell them Star Trek is better and then stand back. Boy, what a fascinating stream of consciousness you are letting yourself into there.
“There is a lot of this stuff to get through yet”
So thank you for your patience, your understanding, your disguise of the eye-rolling, your stifling of the yawns, your patience when I bang on about it (again) or talk about my latest few miles, or how it has been so icy lately and this has impacted my running style, or how I need to keep my head up and my knees up when I am going uphill, or how I went running on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and did I mention that I am training for a marathon? I have not even begun the blizzard of publicity that will start when I launch the fundraising push in a few weeks’ time (I can feel a bunch of mute notification messages being pushed on your phones as you read this), so make sure you steel yourself for the ordeal ahead. Remember, the race is still more than three months away so there is a lot of this stuff to get through yet.
So there, I have said it. I am sorry. I am a bore. A marathon bore. Right, that is out of the way. You still want to be bored? Read on.
It’s been a great training week, kicked off by a run on Sunday where I went further than I had ever run before. I started off with the intention to run between ten and twelve miles but ended up doing fifteen. I am more than halfway there, but I am still very conscious that even this effort still left me more than eleve miles short of where I need to get to by the end of April. That apart, I was so, so happy with this effort, particularly with an average pace of under ten minutes per mile (I did warn you about my split times did I not).
During the week, I built on this run by firstly taking it really easy. I did a couple of miles on Monday night, as much as anything just to get the stiffness out of my legs. Then on Tuesday, I decided that even though the weather was not great – a bit damp and blowy – I should not confine my running only to the days when the weather was benign. So six miles down and up and down and up through the hilly streets of Bridge of Don, again at under ten minutes per mile.
Work intervened so a trip down south resulted in a rest day on Wednesday before an early morning run on the flat, flat roads around the village of Gerrards Cross – oh god, it was sooooo good to do a complete run on the flat I cannot tell you – included a mile or so at sub-nine minute mile pace, which for me is pretty zippy for me I can tell you. Though as it was early morning, and Gerrards Cross is a small place, it was pretty dark on a lot of those little streets. Maybe a head torch is in order. Now there is phrase I never thought I would hear myself say.
I took another rest day on Friday. Deciding not to run is turning out to be as important as deciding when to run I am finding out. Being well rested meant I felt great going out last Sunday, I am aiming for the same this weekend.
Next week involves a trip to Paris, so a run along the Champs Elysee towards the Eiffel Tower is in the offing. When in Paris, why not? And I will try, really I will, not to be boring about it. But have I mentioned I am training for a marathon?