26505 minutes

Or 441¾ hours…

With less than three weeks to go I thought it was about time I posted an update of how my Half Marathon training is progressing. When I signed up for the Pumpkin Run 2011 it was waaaaaaay off in the distant future and therefore wasn’t real; but now, through some sort of witchcraft or quantum time-distorting jiggery-pokery, it appears to be sneaking up on me as stealthily as a shadow that’s taken its shoes off and is holding its breath.

Without tempting fate I have to admit that the running’s going pretty well at the moment. My trips to the physio seem to be doing the trick, my distance is creeping up steadily and I’m feeling (slightly) stronger and more comfortable on my shorter runs. All well and good, but is it actual training? Well, no, if I’m honest. The word “training” suggests a certain degree of structure and purpose, whereas my approach is more akin to a toddler throwing his spaghetti at the wall and hoping that the resulting tomato-ey pattern looks like a dinosaur*. On the very day that I signed up for the Pumpkin, a very helpful friend on www.runnersforum.co.uk sent me a five week training plan, and a quick glance was enough for me to see that the carefully formulated timetable of LSRs, interval sessions, speed sessions and cross-training was guaranteed to not only help me make the distance in one piece, but also in a respectable (by my standards) time.

Unfortunately that very same quick glance told me that the carefully formulated timetable of LSRs, interval sessions, speed sessions and cross-training was also guaranteed to be extremely demanding, both physically and to my attention span. I’d like to claim that such structured training plan goes against my free-spirit nature and would have disrupted my connection with the cosmos, but I can’t. It’s simply that I’m just a bit lazy and disorganised when it comes to things like that.

So in recent weeks my training has consisted of pushing up the distance of my long runs to make sure I stand a chance of actually completing all 13.1 miles of the course, interspersed with shorter runs when I don’t have time for long ones and the occasional (brief and unpleasant) treadmill interval session when I fancy a change from the other two. Although I’d love to crack 2:15 for my first HM I think it’s more likely to be around the 2:30 mark, which would still be fine by me, as I’m just keen to prove to myself that I can finish the course. A year ago if you’d told me I was about to run 13.1 miles, I’d have assumed that you were Dutch, and that in your wonderfully quaint and expressive dialect “run” actually meant “sing”. I’d have then been confused for a moment before realising that “13.1 miles” is actually the title of a rousing traditional Dutch folk song about a peasant girl who falls in love with a duck and spends the entire autumn following it around.


Could probably have put that a bit more succinctly.

Anyway, back to the Half Marathon…

My main concern at the moment isn’t the physical side of running the entire distance; I seem to have pretty much nailed that, albeit at my trademark “ponderously awkward” pace. No, the thing that’s bothering me is the mental aspect, with my main concern being the fact that the route actually consists of two laps. Put a single lap 13-and-a-bit miler in front of me and I’ll take to it like a labrador to a slice of ham that’s been dropped down the side of the fridge**. But two laps? Seriously?  If I close my eyes and picture the race, I can imagine  with perfect clarity how I’ll feel when I cross the line after the first lap. A big part of me will be thinking “You’ve done it. Fantastic. Let’s have a nice lie down and some scones”. I can see myself feeling utterly deflated at the thought of running the same 6.55 arduous miles all over again. I used to have to park my car a mile or two from the  place I worked, and a couple of times after enduring the (uphill) walk in torrential rain after a gruelling day I’d realise that I’d left my car keys back at the office. I imagine it’ll feel a lot like that.

To be honest, I know I’m just fretting for the sake of it. As I’ve said, the runs are going well, so (me being me) I have to try and find something to grumble about. Besides which, I have a cunning plan. I can’t remember which of my friends suggested this but it’s absolute gold. Ready? Here goes…

What I intend to do is… run the first lap with my left eye closed. Then the second with my right eye closed. This will then make it seem like I’m running two entirely different laps.

I’ve tried to think of a word that sums this up better than “genius” but I think that’s clearly what we’re dealing with here.



*That’s not my actual training strategy by the way, although it made the top three.
**By which I mean that it’ll take me a while but I’ll get there in the end, and may even enjoy the challenge.

I was going to make some flippant throwaway comment about this being me by the time I finished the HM. However, there's a fairly good chance that the spry old devil is actually a damn sight quicker than me, so I shall keep a respectful silence.


5 thoughts on “26505 minutes

  1. Dammit, Jenny got in first with the suggestion I was going to make. Was then going to suggest doing 2nd lap on a spacehopper, but that may class as cheating.
    How about do the second lap in a chafing sports bra, with fringe falling in eyes and in pink edged running tights (because apparently all women want pink clothing and therefore its impossible to find any other sort) so that you run as a woman and get a different perspective. ooh, sorry – that started as an attempt at humour and turned into a rant. Going to the corner of room now to breathe and rock gently!!

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