This draft of this post will have no photographs. Not because I don’t have any but because they aren’t on this computer. Once I get my hands back on the photo computer I’ll up-load it with lots of lovely photographs of 2007.
2007 was the year of my first marathon. I was the classic example of determination over ability. I was chronically injured with knee problems all year. I was spending on my physio like a crack addict to feed his habit.
Y’know when you have an injury the hardest thing to do is to stop running? Well, I was only doing the easy thing – keeping on running – until I could barely walk.
I had to give up on my target marathon 10 days before the race and to quote my brother-in-law on the day of the marathon: ‘I was like the boy Santa forgot’
That was the start of June.
There followed a long summer of physio, 3 mile runs and more physio.
Around about the start of September I went out one Sunday morning and ran a very easy 20 mile run. Great, I thought. I can do a LSR. I’ll enter a marathon.
Only 4 years later did I realise that this was the marathon strategy of a famous South London Blogger and lover of all things Jock.
So, not the most inspired idea I ever had.
I picked the Cologne Marathon as I had a free bed in that city (see motorbike story from 2005). It was on on the 7th October and I flew out with the brother-in-law (my half way gel man). We did everything you shouldn’t do if you’ve read ‘The Lore of Running’ but everything the back markers in the WHW do.
We flew out on a red eye the morning before the marathon, having spent the previous night on a sofa in my sister’s house. We wandered around Cologne eating pretzels and standing on our feet all day long. We got to my friend’s house late in the evening and had a light meal (you know this isn’t going to end well).
The next morning I had a good sign – I left the titanic in my friend’s toilet before I left for the race.This is the only good sign of the day.
I won’t bore you with the race but needless to say I was starting in the wrong starting block (3:00 – 3:30).
The first half of the marathon went well and everything was on target (the first half of a disaster is always good). My first indication of the impending disaster was that the race was in kilometers and I had trained in miles. A mere trifle if you have blood flowing to your brain. Impossible if you have no blood with oxygen in it.
I was passed by a very nice man at about mile 19 who asked me what time I hoped to finish in – I had long ago abandoned plans A and B and was working down the alphabet – so I told him I hoped to finish in 3:45.
He laughed and ran on.
Eventually I hit mile 25 which was around the cathedral in Cologne – Mile 25 when there are cobbles on the street is like purgatory. The germans were urging me on. I wasn’t reacting with anything like gratitude. In fact, nothing like gratitude.
Around mile 26 I glanced at my Lidl stopwatch and realised that if I kept whining like a girl I’d actually pass the 4 hour mark. So, I put my head down and ran like I should have had I taken a HTFU tablet before the race.
I crossed the line in 3:59:27 and was the picture of athletic prowess in the official finish photograph
Until you saw the 3 guys beside me who had run the race dressed as bananas.
Still, you get beer at the end of a german marathon