Learning

USMC Marathon

Image via Wikipedia

I have learned a great deal about myself since I started running around January 2010. Seven marathons and nine half marathons later I feel that I know some things that I didn’t before, particularly since the triple marathon challenge of 3 in 5 weeks in April/May 2011:

  • I prefer to run alone than with a crowd: What I really mean is a crowd of strangers. This is probably why I have never actually joined my local running club. I don’t mind running with a few close friends though.
  • I like the control I have over my own running: I used to play amateur football and am still an avid follower of Manchester United, but there is a certain amount of control relinquished to team-mates in a team sport (not to mention the responsibility when you mess up 🙂 ) but with running you do it for yourself.
  • I have greater determination and inner strength than I first imagined: A marathon is tough, but on the morning of my third in five weeks I felt quite ill and did not think I could go through it all again. That I gathered myself and went out and achieved a PB/PR was one of my greatest running achievements. I had a ‘blow up’ at mile 15 in this race – much earlier than usual, yet I really mustered up enough inner strength to get me back on track! I find that in life – when you are really up against something is when you pull out your best performances…
  • I am a statistics geek: I love recording all my runs on Garmin on tracking my progress – in fact sometimes I wonder if I just run for this reason 🙂
  • I don’t lose weight easily.
  • I don’t like paying for new running shoes every five hundred miles/four months…
  • I rely on various vitamins and elements to keep me going – dodgy ankles from old football injuries have made sure of this!
  • I have good running days and bad days.
  • I don’t have time to stretch…
  • Deep tissue massage is great for run recovery.
  • I perform better in races than in training.
  • I love interval training.
  • You’ll only ever have bleeding nipples once: plasters, plasters, plasters.
  • When you forget to plaster your nipples during a marathon, make sure you do it before you get into the shower!
  • I used to have toe-nails…
  • Vaseline is a necessity!
  • My sweat stings my eyes – seriously it is really sore! Vaseline on the eyebrows helps reduce the flow. An ex-Man United & Scotland goalkeeper, Jim Leighton used to have the same problem.
  • My sweat is very salty – so if I don’t put salt in my energy drinks and then sweat loads, I lose too much sodium and get cramps!!:-(
  • My marathon PB of 3:35 is something I’ll be proud of for life.
  • I still love cycling – it is a much easier mode of transport.

I still don’t know if I am running because I love running or if I am running because I love challenging myself to improve?

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