August 23rd 2016
Today I signed up to run a half marathon. Well, more accurately, I was signed up to do a half marathon. At the end of next month my company is competing in the Cheltenham Corporate Challenge (or something), and so I get to/have to represent my company in a half marathon that is kind of a race. A half-marathon race scares me for two reasons. The first reason is ‘half-marathon’ and the second reason is ‘race’.
I’ve been a semi-serious runner on-and-off for two or three years now, and in that time I’ve done one half marathon, and that was on a treadmill. I took it easy, ran at a 9 minute/mile pace and finished it in two hours and ten minutes. I did that because one day, after not running at all for six weeks, I woke up and decided I wanted to run a half marathon that day. So I did. (read about that day here)
And to be fair, if I managed it then, after zero training or preparation, perhaps the actual running won’t be so bad considering I currently fairly seriously four times a week. But then there’s the second thing that scares me. The race.
I know that, because of who I am as a person, I’ll spend the entire race worrying about letting the team down. I’ll push myself too hard because I want to finish in a respectable time to score points for my team. But that’s bad, because last time I found it easy when I just got up and did it. I didn’t over think it, I just ran. And the running bit is easy. It’s the mental toughness I struggle with.
Like today for example. As I do most days, I headed out at lunchtime to run around 8km. Half-way in, I had a sit down for a minute, then turned around and started running the other way. Another few km into the run I checked my phone to see what kind of pace I was averaging, and realised that my running app had stopped recording when I sat down at the half way point. Demotivated, and to be honest fucking exhausted, I walked the rest of the route back to the office. I tried running in fits and starts, but I’d already talked myself out of it, so although there wasn’t anything really stopping me, I gave up and walked.
So it’s not so much the fitness I have to worry about for my half marathon next month, it’s the mentality. Nail that and it’s a walk in the park. Except instead of a walk it’s a run and instead of the park it’s a 13.1 mile circuit around Cheltenham.
On a side note, linking to that post from my last half-marathon has reminded me of something. At the start of 2016 I set myself two goals for the year.
Run a half marathon? Check.
Write for a living? Check.
That’s me done for the year then. And now I’m going to be running another half marathon. That’s just showing off, really.
Until tomorrow, on to the next challenge.