Stick or twist? That question has been going through my mind as I have felt in no-man’s-land the past week or so. The Snowdonia Trail Marathon is now less than two weeks away. The foot injury has not got worse, so I guess it’s stick to doing the race as at least I know I can get to the start line, but the soreness felt after running has not gone away either. Given the injury flared up two weeks ago, at just under the 4 weeks to go point, I’m certainly not trying to catch up now and I’ve accepted only running a couple of times a week simply to tick over, with daily gym sessions and the odd swim to fire the metabolism. I’ve already made a significant mental adjustment and got rid of any race targets eg. placings, as it is now simply a challenge of trying to finish the race, hopefully with minimal discomfort and hopefully a smile somewhere near the surface.
I had a conversation with a mate yesterday, who is a seasoned Pacer preparing for a much tougher race in the Alps, who simply commented on the fact that some pain is always part of the mix, so it is therefore aquestion of coping with it. Fortunately my foot hurts less whilst I’m running than afterwards, but it is an unwelcome distraction which I’ve just got to not let it annoy me for 4+ hours, as well as taking some precautions – specialist running insoles, paracetamol in my kit bag etc.
As I’ve written numerous time before, I know marathons are not my forte and I will be coming down in distance once the injury is healed to race over short distances and race more frequently. It’s therefore with a wry smile to myself that I think about my current position as if my body is saying forget about marathons, compared to my mindset last year when I entered this race full of exuberance. (I’ve run 1:58 for 20 miles, hence why the carrot of a decent marathon time remains dangled in front of me, although I’m not interested in taking a nibble for a good few years now.) Back to the present and, as I’ve had to do with my three London marathons, I’m compartmentalising any disappointing aspect so I’m still able to appreciate enjoy and feed off the positives. In the upcoming race, those positives are clear – running in stunning wild scenery, being prepared for any weather given it’s the mountains and finding out a little bit more about myself and my character alongthe way, as well as raising money for two valuable charities – highlighted below. To define any race as a challenge, means there must be an element of difficulty and I’m really looking forward to this challenge as it takes me into a new environment, albeit I have a small degree of trepidation about how my right foot will bear up. The quote in the picture seemed very apt and is from a guy called Richard Parks, an adventurer who trains in Snowdonia before tackling the world's toughest peaks and terrains.
Tom’s 2 Marathons: www.justgiving.com/companyteams/tomkingsnorth raising money for the YMCA Cambridge and Peterborough to support their work providing accommodation for young people who would otherwise be homeless and for the Barbara Bus Fund, who provide specially-adapted transport to enable injured service personnel, including a friend and former runner, and others to get out and about to see friends and family.