I’m sitting at the keyboard with drooping eyelids and tired legs – but I’m happy. As my wife sometimes says, I’m fairly stuck to the chair, but that’s ok too, because I’m wallowing in that sense of achievement the feeling of delicious tiredness that only comes after finishing a really hard training run. A few short hours ago I did my last hard training run before the Dublin Marathon which will take place in just two weeks time, along with some good friends. It was an individual challenge but a collective effort. All five of us ran the same training session, on the same roads, but each of us at a pace that would best prepare us for our individual marathons in two weeks time. It was a real genuine toughie – 2 miles warm-up at 8:00 mins/mile to being with, followed by 14.5 miles at 6:10’s, which is just under my projected marathon pace, and finally a 2.5 miles warm down at 8:00’s. I struggled through some of the early miles – barely hanging onto my training partner – but then came home strongly. I often find that a really strong pace like that is most difficult to hang onto in the early miles, and that, if you manage to fight through those early difficulties, it can become more manageable as the miles progress.
And so, I’m satisfied. I got it done – and so did the four other marathon hopefuls. There’s great satisfaction to be had from looking back at a really hard training run that has gone well. I hope to do one last long run next weekend at a much easier pace. I probably wouldn’t do another long run before Dublin if I was actually targeting the marathon itself. However, as I’ll be training through this race to some degree at least, I’ll take a risk on not recovering completely from the extra long run.
Last week I came across the concept of a ‘Gatha’ which can best be described a kind of poetic phrase or verse, most often written in ancient languages like Pali or Sanskrit. Gathas are particularly associated with the Jain and Buddhist faiths. The Gatha that was described to me was one that Buddhist students chant at the close of each day was as follows;
“Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
These seem like good words for this runner at the close of this day.
Onwards through the fog.