We were all born to run. Even I was born to run, apparently. Well I crawled first, walked, learned to run and occasionally did some more crawling. The crawls of course were not literally with stomach on ground, more like hunching over, drowning in sweat and wearing concrete boots. They seemed to coincide with the last few miles of some of my marathons.
So far I have conquered some 1hr 30min halves and, 11 marathons later, chipped my marathon time down to 3hrs 20min but I still have rarely found nirvana during a race.
I have found utopia a few times during training (and just once or twice during a marathon!) and experienced that floating, glad to be alive, feeling - as my inner Kenyan is released but I haven’t found the elixir of effortless running. I don’t have that magic formula that works every time. I’m hoping that Operation Ultra can give me a few more ingredients to add to my mix.
Born to fly
My job (as an airline pilot) has all the elements needed for an unhealthy lifestyle. Throw in hours of inactivity, copious amounts of food and stir with some stress and nagging fatigue and you have a toxic soup of potential problems.
Running is my antidote to all that.
My running is varied and takes me to some amazing places. Watching the sun's rays painting the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco and exploring thick pine forests in Japan, are just a couple of moments that make my running so rewarding.
My runs are often close to nature as I try to get out the cities and into parks and forests. Even being attacked by concerned raccoon parents near Boston and pecked at by a goose flying alongside me on a coastal track in Sweden ( I pushed him away, and he did a spiral dive into the sea!) are unforgettable experiences.
Operation Ultra, for me, is like a runner’s Christmas come true and I feel incredibly privileged.
The whole atmosphere is a cloud of positivity that envelops you from the start. It comes from Nick and Phoebe’s expert coaching advice, the detailed nutritional tips from Gatorade, the excellent Salomon kit provided and the enthusiasm of the other runners.
I realise how lucky I am to have this once in my lifetime experience. I am determined to dedicate myself to this project, apply some guts and of course enjoy it.
I will also use my race to raise money for DreamFlight, a charity that helps seriously ill children. Please visit: www.justgiving.com/flyingTaff
So far Operation Ultra has convinced me that we can do anything we want to if we apply ourselves. Those 31 miles do not seem as daunting as before.
I will do this. I am a runner and after all, we were all born to run.