The Tricks My Mind Plays When I Think About Running.

Posted on April 12, 2015. Filed under: make a wish foundation, make a wish foundation sponsorship, marathon, virgin london marathon, vlm |

In exactly two weeks time tonight I will probably be asleep.  Or I will slumped over, dribbling beer out of my nostrils, as I have lost control of all my bodily functions.

In two weeks time I will have just run my second London Marathon.

In many ways despite two Ironman finishes and five marathons this one feels like the biggest challenge.  Mainly because I will be out there loitering on the course, getting my money’s worth, for much longer than previous attempts.

To recap, after Ironman Austria last year, I spent several weeks recovering from a broken toe and then contracted a chest infection that lasted pretty much until day one of London Marathon training.  I am always a bit circumspect about run training due to my high propensity to break stuff but the statistics are telling:

Jan 2014 to Jun 2014 (pre IM): 536km

Jul 2014 to Nov 2014 (post IM): 69km

Dec 2014 to Apr 2015 (VLM training): 426km

Basically, post chest infection I started from scratch – no base, no leg strength, no lung capacity.  All I had was experience, blind optimism and bloody mindedness.  Frankly, none of which are of any use 18 miles into a marathon.  If I hadn’t deferred from last year, and it wasn’t London I would have withdrawn a couple of weeks ago.  Not because I have any doubt about finishing; just because I am under no illusions how long this endeavour could take.  But it is London.  And I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to do London again; so I am bloody well doing it.

As things stand I have one 18 mile run under my belt with one more to do this week.  Normally I would like to have a couple of 20 mile runs done by this stage but frankly my legs would disown me.  The objective of this campaign was to get to London without injury or illness and to finish the race without any fresh injuries.  Therefore it is all going to be very cautious.

Well, that is the plan.  However, the brain is a bit of a bugger when it comes to running.

When I started running I read Haruki Marukami’s wonderful “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”.  I love it for many reasons but mainly because he writes like I think – in very short, clipped sentences and he has the most brilliant ideas.  How about “when I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without”?  Or “The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can’t be learned at school”?  Or the sublime “pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”?

However, I digress.  I do actually have a vague point.

If I were to write a book about running it would be a truly messed up book called “What I Think About When I am Running”.  Or more accurately “The Tricks My Mind Plays When I Think About Running”.  Stick with me, my point is imminent.

Every time a first time marathon runner asks my advice I tell them three things – 1 don’t worry about your time – just finish; 2 if you must target a time take the first half easy; and 3 don’t shit yourself.  So, bizarrely, I found my mind wandering on an 18 mile run where I was dragging my feet through gravel like a three year old with brand new shoes.  Dangerously wandering.  Wandering to – “what if I give it welly for the first 10 miles to get some time in the bank for when I run out of steam?”

What. A. Tit!

Suitably rehydrated and sobered up I decided that I would run with the 4:45 pacer.  I would resist the temptation to sprint the first 6 downhill miles yelling “wheeeeeee” and then crashing and burning at the Cutty Sark.  I reckon I can sit comfortably with the 4:45 pacer until Canary Wharf and then the crowd better pick me up and carry me home!  I will need picked up as my leggies will be in uncharted territory once I stagger through mile 18!

I normally stop for a pint around mile 18 anyway so this could work quite well.

19901537Anyway, with one long run to go it is time to prepare you for a favour I will ask of you sometime soon (I didn’t expect that to sound like Don Vito but I’ve decided to leave it with menace anyway).  As it is London I will be running for charity.  Also, as it is London, I won’t harass you for cash along with every other runner in the western world at the same time.  I have a few events that I will do this year and I will blog my way through the year – if you enjoy the blog and want to help the charity then please spare a couple of pounds to help out.  I will be collecting all year so don’t panic if you can’t help right now.

Once again, I will be raising money for the Make A Wish Foundation.  I have raised money for them since 2011 when I was arrested and handcuffed in my office in Fife, transported to Edinburgh in a police van and held prisoner by the Army in Edinburgh Castle until my colleagues raised a small fortune to free me.  Hopefully neither the police or army will be involved in this year’s endeavours.

I came across The Make a Wish Foundation just after I became a dad and realised how important it’s work is.  It has one objective – to grant magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.  So heartbreakingly simple, but so important.  I’ll tell you a bit more about it when I come to ask for some money.

Anyway, two weeks to go and all that jazz.  I’ll leave you with some sights from around Scotland in the past week or so of running.



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4 Responses to “The Tricks My Mind Plays When I Think About Running.”

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Loved your post – best of luck in London!


Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes I forget people actually read “my diary”!


Nice one. All the best on the day 😀


Thanks Lee! I’ll need it!


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