Dreaming Of A Better Future As A Winter Runner
Our angry jogger blogger, Matt reports on how his marathon training for Paris is going.Thursday 24 January 2013
This week I managed to miss my long run due to the ice and had to be content with a 7 mile jog around town. I was followed by a group of children who were amusing themselves by emulating my ostrich trot. I assumed that they would naturally get bored after 50 metres. They tailed me for a quarter of a mile. After a barrage of seemingly innocent questions from the group, I decided to go all Mo Farah on the speediest of the contenders and accelerated to top speed without saying anything to any of them.
A disembodied voice in my head hissed "watch this" as my legs powered up and I raced ahead of them.
I checked my GPS watch at a safe distance and found that I'd been keeping a 9:30 min/mile pace. My feet are firmly on the ground.
Getting up at 5am seems to be next to impossible of late. The only way to motivate myself is with the daily reminder on my phone that the Paris Marathon is now less than 8 weeks away.
Sometimes it's proximity still doesn't register except at the most inconvenient of moments.
Like now at 5am on a cold Monday morning where I would love to run but I have no dry running gear left. Still I know that this is just a blip. I try to keep positive by reminding myself of the following 5 things about winter running.
- Running will get easier from here on in. It might still be pitch dark on my 6am runs around town, but if I keep with it then the black skies will eventually give way to blue. Hope begins when night fades.
- The icy weather will soon thaw. I'm petrified of running in these conditions. It all comes back to my first childhood memory where I slid and fell on the way to primary school and lay stranded on my back like a clumsy mountain goat for what seemed like an hour. Several schoolchildren passed-by without helping and even mocked my attempts to right myself. Sod the lot of them.
- The nights are beginning to stay brighter for longer. This will make it much easier to run after work. It's as invigorating for me to run at sunset as it is to jog at sunrise.
- The race season begins very shortly. From November right through to January I found it hard to focus on any of my race goals as the next event seemed so far away. With the Brighton Half Marathon only 4 weeks away I feel that my runs finally have purpose.
- I still have the power to dictate how my first few races will go. I won't go into Brighton or Liverpool feeling sluggish like last year. I still have to time to improve before everyone notices just how slow I am.
A positive dream of Paris.
On Saturday morning I had a dream that everything went well in Paris and that I finished in 4 hours 39 minutes. A positive dream is unprecedented for me. Most of my running dreams are nightmares.
I'll be faced with any of the following scenarios when I'm asleep.
- I'll forget my race number when over on the mainland but only remember that it's missing on the finish line.
- I will lose my race chip on the starting line like I did at the Great North Run 2012.
- I will dream that I can only run in slow motion whilst everyone around me is running at normal speed.
- I'll take a wrong turn, get lost and find myself in a Wetherspoon.
- I will sleep in for the race, feel lost and find myself in a Wetherspoon.
The season starts here and it will be a success as long as I keep thinking back to the wild energy of the Paris dream.