‘Ugh. Well this is just perfect. Is anything else going to go wrong today? I really should just not bother’.
I had just locked the front door about to head out for my last long run before London, leaving my sunglasses on the other side of the same door on a bright day that was rapidly approaching 20 degrees. This was the latest in a series of ‘oh for goodness sake’ moments I was having on Easter Monday.
I’d moved my run to Monday because we’d just got back from Boston on Sunday morning, and I’d had no sleep on the plane and was knackered. Then I’d had to move it to a later start; I’d been due to meet Christina at 10am at the Green but had woken up with such awful cramps that I had to go back to bed with a hot water bottle for two hours so it was now past 11am on a really warm day and I’d just spent two hours deliberately heating up my core. Perfect.
Finally, upon adjusting my new fancy two-band hair thingy before I came downstairs and forgot my sunglasses I had managed to twang myself in the eye with it. An open eye.
This was all going so swimmingly that I nearly had a full blown strop and wavered over not running til Tuesday, but Tuesday would be too close to race day and I’d regret it later, so my sunglasses were retrieved and off I went – too hot, fed up and with a still watering eye, but I went.
It didn’t go spectacularly but it wasn’t awful, which is what always happens to me in taper.
Everything’s fine, I kept up with my planned sessions while I was on holiday and walked loads so it’s not like I was being lazy, but maybe there’s something about not spending all week worrying about the looming 20 miler at the weekend that makes me feel less runnery. Which is the opposite of how a person would wish to feel with less than a week to go before they run the London marathon.
A helpful thing happened halfway through Monday’s run; a nice older gentleman went out of his way to make space for me on the pavement and as I thanked him he replied ‘well I can’t do that’ very kindly. Maybe it was the jet lag, but I was oddly moved by what he said.
That’s a good point, I thought. There will have been so many people looking at runners over the last few weeks as all the Spring races are clogging up their towns thinking how lucky they are to be able to do it, and that will happen again on Sunday. Stop fretting and thank your lucky stars you’re in a position to turn up at the start line.
I ran faster after that.
A short race pace effort on Wednesday helped too, and going to the expo on Thursday really helped. With my number in hand, I accepted that there’s really no point or time left to worry so I might as well just get on with it. I think I’ve decided that my plan is to try to emulate Mr. Duff’s plan for Boston, because it seemed like a good one to me; try to maintain steady race pace til halfway and then take it mile by mile for as long as possible. If I need to slow, I’ll slow, but I’ll damn well do my best to enjoy it.
I heard someone say this week that perfection is the enemy of good. My week, like this whole training block, hasn’t been perfect but it has been good. There’s no reason to expect to run the perfect race on Sunday – most people don’t – but there’s also no reason not to hope for the day to still be good. Good is a perfectly acceptable goal.
After all, life is more often good than perfect. Sometimes life twangs you in the eye with your own headband and you’ve just got to blink furiously and get on with it.
So we’re good? Good. Here we go then.