So much information and observations backlogged in my mind right now, and that’s before I even get to the pedagogical theory and primary school paperwork for my School Direct PGCE – fair to say I have been more than a little bit preoccupied. The other week, I was roughly averaging 3 ½ hours of sleep a night. As I type, I remain pretty preoccupied in the university library, but I cannot currently think of anything useful to write here with regards to my practises in the classroom, so I thought I would procrastinate and empty my mind of recent running exploits.
Chester Marathon – Sunday, 4th October
I can hardly believe that it’s been 4 years since I did my 100th marathon. This year’s race was my 160th…not an awful lot run in the last 4 years, when you consider that I did my 100th within two years. However, I have completed lots of long ones since then, so I have to remember that.
I do Chester because it is my home race. It’s local and it’s friendly. However, I also find it extremely overpriced. Yet, I’m not just moaning at Chester here, I’m moaning at pretty much all city marathons out there. They are so expensive for what they are and the medal is always overshadowed by corporate sponsors. I need to put a picture on here, but the original medal for Chester Marathon was all about Chester’s famous clock. The newer medals are much more stylistic and feature a massive sponsor slogan. I guess that is the way it is. So, this would be my first grievance.
Other grievances: I guess that I also really hate the endless country roads. It almost feels that the marathon runners are banished from the city, out towards Wrexham and then they’re finally allowed back into Chester at the end. Consequently, the middle bit is really boring for me. I tend to get a bit lazy around the 14-20 mile mark of boring country-road running. And because it’s a city marathon, you get the endless barrage of runners asking if you’re okay and telling you, ‘you can do this/ well done/ not long now/’ etc. They all mean well, but I’m there in my 100 Club vest, thinking that I have run a lot and I have run far tougher….not meaning to sound arsy, but I just always hear the same stuff. I was thinking about it and there is always that same small talk at city marathons. I don’t hate them, I really don’t, but, sometimes I just don’t know what to say. I think I was just especially sleepy at this marathon, because of my course. I want to do my best, but I'm finding it tricky to be my best at the moment.
And even though I am sounding like a very Negative Nancy here, I couldn’t help but spot the Negative Nancys during the race. By this I mean, those runners who just give up and don’t carry on or moan a lot (not just to themselves) during the race. I came upon a couple of guys who were still going and they were telling me how they had expected to finish in 3hrs 15 mins, but how they had injured themselves and were going to drop out at the aid station just up ahead. We were approximately 18 miles in. I couldn’t contemplate dropping out, even if I had to crawl, I’d do it. And I have felt like I have had to crawl in the past, in much longer races than a marathon. I guess my key point is that I often feel safer and more comfortable amongst ultra runners or at least marathon maniacs who somehow seem that little bit grittier and determined. I like the madness and the irrationality that even if you have a niggle, the possibility of carrying on is still there for the taking, because the impossible is a lot more possible when you dream bigger. [Got a bit philosophical there, but you get my gist...]