A welcome distraction from the stresses and strains of marathon training has been helping my daughter to prepare for her first race, the 1.5k Mini Great Birmingham Run.
I’ve resisted the temptation to draw up a spreadsheet and intricately planned multi-week training programme (not that there’s anything wrong with that, he says thinking about his last four intricately planned marathons), but I did want to get her out there practicing.
So each Saturday we’ve hit the local nature reserve, fired up the Garmin and covered distance with a mix of walking and gentle jogging. Even the dog has come along for the ride, although as a senior canine citizen pushing nine now (yes, I know he still looks like a puppy) he’d rather be snoozing on the sofa, not plodding along the paths.
I wasn’t sure how Izzy would take to this. Learning to ride a bike has been pretty torturous and while she’s definitely getting better in her weekly swimming lessons, there still isn’t much stamina in those little legs.
But I needn’t have worried. First time out she was raring to go. Run to that lamppost Iz – done. OK, now to the bridge – easy. Right, this time we’re carrying on all the way to the end of the path – no problem.
The following week we drove to a nearby reservoir and, by pure coincidence, there was a charity run in full swing. They were blasting out music and had a big inflatable finish marker set up. We ran alongside part of the course and she managed a quarter of a mile without stopping and a full mile in total. Proud Dad moment indeed.
The main event is next weekend, the day before the Birmingham International Marathon. She wants me to run with her and keeps asking if we’re going to win the ‘kiddy run’ as she calls it. Next lesson clearly needs to be based around how it isn’t the winning, but the taking part!
I hope she enjoys it. Taking place in and around Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium it will feel special for them and the promise of some medal bling should see her easily across that finish line.
Who knows where it will lead, but it’s nice to find an outdoor activity we can share. Hopefully it will also give her some appreciation of what Daddy and his fellow runners go through to achieve great things on their respective race days.
Twenty four hours later, I’ll be taking on my own challenge from the very same starting line. Marathon day is approaching and I’m relieved to be tapering. My final long run was a 14 miler last Friday, which went fine despite some atrocious weather for the last 30 minutes or so. I was rocking the ‘drowned rat’ look.
I am worried about my injuries spoiling things though. The ankle remains stubbornly sore, but worse still my adductors are playing up again. That constant dull ache in my thigh that tells me something is wrong and may, or may not, decide to let go under stress.
Truth is I don’t know what will happen during the marathon. In theory, it should hold out. I tore it in April and since then have ran well over 500 miles across 24 weeks of training. There has been plenty of discomfort, but it hasn’t stopped me in my tracks the way it did in Manchester. Not yet anyway.
Just give me 26.2 more miles. That’s all I ask. Then I’ll back off and let you recover properly. Promise…
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