This year I had one clear goal: run a sub four and a half hour marathon. I missed it by eleven minutes. I failed.
It was one of the reasons it took me so long to put the Queenstown Marathon story up on the blog because it was my final marathon of the year and I missed 4:30 by over twenty minutes. It has been a very hard pill to swallow because the only person to blame for this failure is me.
My lacklustre training and my inability to shake my unwavering love of crisps has resulted in only minor improvements in time despite some great runs. I shaved off over fifteen minutes in the marathon from last year which should have resulted in a very chuffed James but in falling short of my ambitions I can only see lost opportunities.
BUT, if you do not learn from your mistakes then you are destined to repeat them. So if 2018 is going to be a faster, fitter year I have to make changes. I’m signing up with a personal trainer (first session this week), going to bulk cook more healthy meals, create and stick to a training plan and try as hard as I can to cut out my incessant need for snacks. Crucially, I have also signed up for my first ever 50 mile race; a gruelling trail run through the beautiful Lake District in England. My fear of failing come race day in July will be a huge motivator going in to 2018.
I know from the outside it seems ridiculous to feel demoralised in a year where I ran seven marathons around the world. I’ve run with amazing people in perfect places; on the ancient cobbled stones of Rome and in the shadow of Chicago’s modern skyscrapers. I’ve run marathons in Tolkien’s Middle Earth and through the awe inspiring trails of Snowdonia. When I step back and look at it logically with that kaleidoscope of memories I see the stupidity in seeing only the shard of dark in a year so full of light. Yet, there’s a part of me, the illogical and competitive crevice within, that mourns regardless.
The failure at Queenstown destroyed my running mojo and with the winter darkness closing in around my usual training times I hadn’t been for a run since December 1st. This weekend, however, I laced those shoes back up and went for my first run in over two weeks. This run, albeit slow and with pangs of pain from my IT Band injury (from the Queenstown Marathon), marks the start of training. Day 0.
2018 promises to be full to bursting with new challenges that I’ll be sharing over the coming weeks on social media and this is filling my glass back up to half full and with renewed motivation to crack that 4:30 barrier. The grass is greener on the other side and I intend to run on it, faster and farther than ever before.
Next Race: Gloucester Winter Half Marathon