Setting yourself a goal that scares you is something I’ve only just started doing, in fact it’s my second scary goal as aiming for a #sub120 half marathon time which I tried in this years http://www.bathhalf.co.uk/ (need to find out how to do that link thingy?!) was my first.
Goals I’d set in the past have been great goals but these 2 had me really worried, as at times I felt destined for failure but somehow they drove me to train harder, smarter and definitely keep me focussed.
So this goal was to run a marathon in under 3 hours something that seemed feasible with the 5k to half marathon times I’d run in 2012 and I could afford to go about 45 seconds slower per mile…what an incentive!
So the day came and I was set! I’d read my favourite chapters from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Without-Limits-Chrissie-Wellington/dp/1849017131 and was focussed. Yes, the weather was hot…very hot but I couldn’t do anything about that so I got that out of my head as quick as possible. I was prepared with my ‘new finds’, compression socks and gels from GU energy and stood at the start of the elite pen…well if the elite runners weren’t there it would have been.
One final bit of motivation/inspiration by looking at what I’d written on my hands and the gun went off.
“Slow down….slow down” I chanted in my head as the biggest mistake most runners will make is to get carried away with the pace, the atmosphere, how great they’re feeling or all three and go at a far greater speed than they should.
I settled into my pace by checking my garmin 110. Stay just below or at 6.51 pace which is something I did quite well for most of the race. I don’t know if it’s a garmin problem or the mile markers but they never seemed to match up and this had me trying to work out if I should go faster or slower. Anyway there may have been more airing on the side of caution by going a little quicker than planned but nothing stupid.
The miles came and went and even though it was hot, I was loving the sea breeze which was present until the 17-18 mile marker where we turned and it seemed to disappear. What was strange was that from that point I heard my breathing…and my feet pounding. Might sound obvious as I was breathing and feet were pounding but it made the run less relaxing. I felt I was in a race and trying to keep with my new acquired running buddies.
Mile 21 seemed to be the point where my Scottish legs said “Nah, too hot!”. My garmin read 7 minute mile pace for the first time and I tried to push….but nope, it was survival time! For anyone that has been in this position, you’ll know what I’m talking about, for those who don’t this is the point where every part of your body says “STOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPP!!!”. Now, I knew this may happen and had lots of mind tricks to keep me going. First of all #FitTeam12! The way some of you guys have pushed yourself in 2012 really motivates me, I imagine that horrible things will happen to my family if I was to ever walk, nevermind quit. Images with motivational sayings that I post on twitter are for my benefit as well yours and they are stored for times like these!
I clung on until mile 24 where my now 7 minute miles became 8 minute miles…I knew the #sub3marathon was off and to be honest I wasn’t as bothered as I thought I might have been. Maybe it was something to do with the fact I couldn’t occupy my head with any negative thoughts as I had a fight to get to the line! Mile 25 had me doing 10 minute miles…FOUR minutes slower than my planned pace.
I remember chanting “Don’t stop, don’t stop” as the crowd started to try and ‘lift’ me…nope, I was running on empty. The gels hadn’t seemed to do their job or maybe they did but the heat managed to sap my strength and leave me looking like this…
I kept going at a much slower pace and never walked…it simply wasn’t an option. When I turned into the home straight I didn’t have the strength to raise a smile nevermind a wee sprint finish. I just kept plodding until the last few steps where I managed to pull off a strong determined stride length with a steely eyed stare…well I had to have one good photo for my Facebook avatar! The time was 3hrs 8mins 22secs, 8 mins 23 slower than I had hoped but 6 mins 44 secs faster than my original goal.
When I booked my place I had aimed to go sub 3.15 but with the saying “Aim for the moon; even if you miss you‘ll land among the stars” I thought that I should ‘grow some balls’ and try for a sub 3hr. This may have been the reason for my lack of disappointment, I felt so tired but somehow soooo happy!
This was a feeling that erupted about 5 minutes after crossing the line when I burst into tears and tried to be manly and hide them so my vest was taken off and placed on my head in an attempt to not look like a small child who’d lost his parents. I don’t know where this came from…maybe it was simply the joy of finishing or it might have been the relief from all the pressure I’d put myself under was over…well until I plan another scary goal. 😉 I called Kirsty to tell her the news and I couldn’t speak for blubbing…Unbelievable Geoff!
Anyway, my client and now very good friend finished in a time of 4hrs 25mins not bad for a guy who’d been all around the world and only got back to the UK on the Friday before. However, I know what Paul is capable of and due to him not listening to my brief of slowing his pace down to a sub 4hr pace he too went off too fast and set a new half marathon PB something that he’s quite proud of!!! Fool! 😉
I feel the need to mention this as Paul and I will do another marathon and we’ll achieve a sub 3hr and sub 4hr respectively through learning from our mistakes and coming back stronger than a ‘powered up Pacman!’
Talking about the next marathon, I’ve found out that I have a chance of a 2013 London Marathon place due to doing a sub 3.10 marathon so fingers crossed I get it and this will all start again.
I’ve since thought about the possible reasons why I failed on achieving a sub 3hr time and I can put it down to a few things.
- Not getting minor injuries sorted immediately and therefore eating into my training time and missing out on long runs.
- Not adjusting my plan to suit the heat. I stuck to my original plan but I now feel I should’ve went a good 10-15 secs slower per mile and then grown in strength to finish strong.
- I actually planned a 3hr8 marathon and just wanted to delay the suspense until 2013…will he, won’t he!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first blog and take something from it so maybe one day you set a scary goal and achieve something that will be forever etched in your memory as for now, the 2012 Edinburgh marathon becomes one of my greatest achievements until I run a sub 3hr marathon!
Stuart Amory – #FitTeam12