Made of wet boots and rain
And shiny black ravens
On chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
You’re my firing squad
Wouldn’t it be great if I told you that I wrote those words?
Flexible with the truth? yes, outright liar? no.
No, that was from the pen (or damaged vocal chords) of Tom Waits. Still, it is a good scene setter for the up-date to my running blog.
November is one of those empty months where you reflect on the year gone and dream of the year to come. What was and what might be.
I won’t do the summary of the year (I’d have nothing to talk about in the dead-zone after Christmas day and before New Years Day) just now but I might as well start planning my year for 2013 now.
My plans for next year are moored off the coast of my imagination and are stuck waiting for the fog of indecision to lift. That’s a metaphorical way of saying I haven’t really planned anything yet.
My running year planning is more like a bumbling democracy than the clinical dictatorship I should have in place. If I was a dictatorship I’d have a 5-year plan in place, all the troops wearing the same uniform and a strict zero-tolerance policy on dissent from the ranks. As it is, I’m ideologically lax, financially strapped and don’t like to upset the voters (wife, kids, knees, etc).
What I’ll do is set out a range of things I’d like to do and see how it goes from there.
I’d like to run the Art O’Neill Challenge in January – 53km at night into the Wicklow Mountains. I looks doable and more importantly it will keep me focused for the next two months and will give me valuable experience of running at night.
The problem is it appears to be full (of walkers, no doubt) so if I don’t get a place in the next week or two I don’t know if I’ll do it or not. It’s a bit saucy on the price front – about €110 – but at least there’s not boat/plane/train travel involved. And you get all the free porridge you can eat.
If that went OK I’d like to do either the Wicklow Way Ultra again or the Connemara Ultra in late March/early April.
Both of those would involve plenty of actual training as they require a specific set of skills that I’ve been bluffing – endurance running (Connemara) and hill strength (Wicklow Way).
Now comes the big decision of the year: The main event.
I think (from this far out) it will either be the West Highland Way (95 miles) in June or the Passatore (100km from Florence to Faenza) in late May. They’re too close together to do both and I’m too poor to do both.
Which to do? A 26 hour slog across the hills and bogs of Scotland, surviving on creamed rice and potatoes while being eaten alive by midges and doing permanent damage to my body or a 12 hour jog from Florence to Faenza with Italian food on hand every 5km and the warm night air and the sound of cicadas to ease your way to the finish?
The tight achilles, sore foot and creaky knee are all wondering what I’m going to do; as is the rest of 2013. Being all finished in June isn’t much of a plan really.
The two events are totally different but I’m not sure I have more than one or two of either of them in me. On paper the first one is the one I’d go for but I have so many doubts I’ll have to do a good bit of thinking to get it clear in my head that it’s the right one.
And that’s the problem.
You have to enter the West Highland Way in November.
So, 29 more days of humming and hawing.
I’m off to grow a moustache and sideburns for Movember – maybe they’ll give me a wisdom I currently don’t possess and make the decision easier.