the state of things

 

The Guy In The Invisible Dinosaur Suit

by Douglas Lindsay - 08:27 on 22 April 2011

Nine days until the marathon. That would be the marathon that I'm running, not the marathon which most people ran which was last weekend. I'm going for the North Dorset Village Marathon starting in Sturminster Newton, entry list capped at 350.


Five years on since I last ran a marathon, training is going all right. (Of course, I'm writing this when I should be running, but didn't Nietzsche say that writing about something is practically the same as doing it?) A few 16 mile runs under my belt, so I at least know that I can get that far. Of course, the deterioration between 16 and 26 miles absolutely knocks the pants of the deterioration between 6 and 16, but I'm reasonably confident that I can get to twenty miles without dying and causing general awkwardness and embarrassment; for the last six miles I'm prepared to mince at a rate that would suggest I was wearing a diplodicus outfit. Even if I visibly won't be. Should I hear this conversation as I run by:


: Look at that guy running in a dinosaur suit!

: You mean, the guy not wearing a dinosaur suit?

: That's the chap.


I'll be quite happy.


Currently thinking long term. Get passed this one without undue injury or death, and then perhaps aim at doing another one in the autumn to speed up a bit, and then another one next spring to try to get a decent time under my belt. You have to think long term in marathon training. Marathon training isn't like training to do something in a movie. In movies people train to do stuff for a fortnight - or the length of a movie montage scene - and suddenly are able to compete against people who have been training, competing and practising eighteen hours a day since the age of five. Such as last year's stupid Karate Kid remake for example. Will Smith's kid turns up in China, gets to know Jackie Chan, and within a couple of months is able to beat the meanest, fastest, most-skilled and naturally talented Kung Fu kid in China.


Surely it wasn't just me watching that and hoping that this was one Hollywood movie that would go rogue and that the Smith kid was going to get an arse whooping? Because that's what would have happened in Real Life.


Marathon running benefits from miles done in training, and when those miles are spread over years. I've been running for about ten years now, but sadly not with the kind of intensity that results in any sort of ability shining through. It was standing in the shower one summer morning in 2001, when there came on the radio a discussion on the composition of Team GB's male athletics team for the World Championships, and how there was no one representing us at 5k, 10k or marathon. I thought, Ah! I could do that. So I started running.


I thought my life would be a movie. My life wasn't a movie. It's still not a movie. (Well, maybe it's one of those art house Iranian or Uzbek movies where nothing happens.) That's why, in nine days time, I won't be running with the thought of getting into Team GB for this year's World Championships, but instead will be concentrating on what remains my primary objective of not feeling really shit at the end of it.


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