Lord help me, I can’t believe I’m about to write this.
I never thought I’d become this kind of guy. The kind of guy who sets hard-core running goals. Who spends more time staring at his Garmin watch than at the passing scenery. Who pays attention to dreary things like splits, heart rate, lactate threshold.
Lord help me. Ten days from now, I’m going to try to run a marathon in less than 3 hours.
Fun fact: To complete a marathon in less than 3 hours you must run at an average speed of 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h) for – you guessed it – three hours. Not one hour. Not two hours. Three hours. That’s longer than the movie Titanic.
How fast is 8.9 mph? Next time you’re at the gym, climb onto the treadmill and find out. Crank that puppy up to 6.0 mph. Brisk pace, ain’t it? Now dial it up to 7. Starting to sweat? Good! Now push that “up” button another 19 times, until the LED display reads 8.9. Hurts, don’t it? Feels like your heart is going to explode. Now keep running like that for 179 more minutes.
Confession: I don’t actually think I’m capable of a 3-hour marathon. I’ve run a 3:04 twice. That may sound close to 3:00, but it’s not even in the same ballpark. Those four minutes might as well be four hours, in terms of training. Realistically, I need to invest in six months of hill climbing in order to shave off that kind of time.
Still… If I don’t attempt this now…will I ever?
The odds aren’t in my favour. Physiologically speaking, I’m running out of time. I love going into classrooms and telling kids that Anything is possible! And while I’m not lying when I say these sorts of things, we need to remember, I’m talking to kids. Young people have plenty of time to develop and improve as athletes. For us seasoned runners, the reality is quite different. At a certain point, our bodies start breaking down. After age 39, they really start breaking down.
All this to say, don’t defer your dreams! In the words of the old folktale: if you will not when you may, you may not when you will.
Still, there’s the little matter of the three stitches in my right shin. And did I mention that I have Shingles? Yeah, that won’t help my cause other.
I’ve got no shortage of excuses. Really, it’d be so easy to put this thing off. To relax until next year, when I’m convinced I’ll be better trained. Statistically speaking, of course, that’s unlikely. The odds suggest I’ll be slower a year from now.
So damn the torpedoes – it’s now or never.
And if I fail? Well, that wouldn’t be so bad either. In my experience, failures are usually more interesting than successes. As this attests.
And I figured that if I made my goal public, i.e. HERE ON THIS BLOG, then the threat of public disgrace would help push me to my limit.
So mark the date – Sunday October 20. The more of you who follow me, the greater the pressure I’ll feel to succeed! I don’t want your money; just your misplaced hopes. I’ll be bib #783, and I promise not to let you down. Unless of course I do. In which case, it’ll be a good story too.