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Beat The Clock

Race number? Check.  Safety pins? Check.  Shirt, shorts, shoes? Check.  Gels, jelly babies, jelly-legged jalopy? Check.  

Oh it’s all coming together like a Flaming Pie’d Beatle with a yen for Japan.  Or a Byrne’d out talking head on a road to nowhere.  Or a zimmer man with any number of roads he’s impelled to walk down.  Talking of which, I’m on the low road and she’s on the high road, and many will be in Scotland before wee me.  I start in London, she starts with a Regent, but we both end at Muscle Beach…or something like that.

I’m talking Edinburgh Marathon Blues. Numbers, pins and energy tablets arrived today, so barring limb loss we will be on our way in ten days to the Scottish capital to run 26.2 miles for no other cause than the mere fact we can. Which is enough. I think.

The long runs are behind us, the long run before us. We’re tapering hard (if that’s possible, because frankly tapering is easy, running less has never been a problem for me). Targets have been set, plans and splits discussed, fuel strategies practised.  I’m as prepared as a boy scout with a Prince 2 badge.  So like a moustachioed Mael and his kid brother all I have to do is beat the clock (you gotta beat the clock, you gotta beat the clock).

What can possibly go wrong?


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Tardy or what?

I blame the Easter bunny, that malevolent six foot rabbit with a chocolate fetish, sort of Donnie Darko meets Willy Wonka. Or perhaps it’s all the plodded miles.  Or the return of Dr Who.  Oh, I don’t know, it’s all excuses for not having posted for a while.

Marathon training continues, not quite apace, but definitely at a pace, more tortoise less hare, more Eeyore less Tigger,  more Long and Winding Road less Jet.  The training group has dwindled as others have had their day on the finish line (Paris has gone, London is imminent) or the finish line is fast approaching (Mancunians are tapering).  Meanwhile Edinburgh is still five weeks away.  That’s 2, maybe 3, long runs away.  About another 200 training miles to go, which coincidentally is the distance from here to there.  So I could set off now. Maybe not.

It’s all gone to plan, which if my past marathon experience is anything to go by, means not a thing.  My poorest training programme (longest run 17 miles, 6 weeks before the event) is my second best time.  My best programme (over 600 injury free miles) is my personal worst.   What will be, will be.

I hope to be better than tardy on the day, but at my age and with my reputation, I’ll settle for finishing.

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Not yet halfway

Marathon training is a slog.  In fact it’s a bit like running a marathon. A lot of miles, a long way, a journey where the end is not conceivable, let alone visible, when you are at the start.

I’ve reached Week 6 of 16 (37.5% for all you statisticians).  In marathon terms that means I’m just approaching Mile 10…16.2 to go.  Which still seems like a long way. Probably because it is.

My weekly average is over 44 miles, which is definitely more than I’ve done before.  And whilst part of me thinks that none of this seems to be having any impact on my readiness for a marathon, there is evidence that it is.  I ran the Dentdale 14 at the weekend (which I thoroughly recommend for those of you who like hilly courses in beautiful surroundings topped off by cream teas made by the good lady villagers of Dent) and felt as strong on the last hill (mile 13) as on the first.  And I know that would not have been the case six months ago.

So with 10 more weeks of my training to go, I guess I’m heading in the right direction.  But when I think of having run 10 miles with 16.2 to go I struggle to think anything other than “OH. MY. GOD.”

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Never say never again

They made me do it, your honour.  I said no, I said never, I swore on someone or other’s grave. But they wouldn’t let it lie, the voices in my head and the ones by my side.

And in the end it was easier to give in, go with the flow, let the long runs wash away my sins.

So 26.2 is back on the menu boys (and girls).  For the third time in Edinburgh, the fourth time in Scotland and the sixth time of asking.

And Mrs Bear is doing it too.  Baby Bear isn’t.  She’s far too distracted.

I’ll try and keep you posted.

Just 23 weeks to go.