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Approaching 40 isn’t necessarily a huge milestone for me. Yes it will be a chance to throw a big party and over indulge but growing older has generally just been about a number. I’ve seen the clichéd depictions of middle aged men in fast cars but for some reason my mid life crisis took the form of a marathon. Having never done one I had no idea but Lycra seemed much more befitting.
Training started at Christmas. Well fuelled from mince pies and mulled wine the first few training runs were a ‘gentle introduction’ to the world of solitude that is the marathon runner. 5k, 6k, 7k slowly the km’s increased but at this stage little did my body or mind realise what was around the corner. Rather as in life or work the early training runs were well within my comfort zone, I knew I could do it without too much blood sweat or tears. There was no real danger of me giving up. Why would I? It’s easy… famous last words.
Month 2 of training was mind-blowingly difficult. 40-50km a week in cold, dark wintery conditions was and is not my idea of a good time. After all shouldn’t we be enjoying our autumn years? The marathon is still 10 weeks away at this stage and leaving the office at 6 for a 2 hour run home is not appealing. This is where ‘instinct’ and character kicks in. Now is the time to really step out of the comfort zone. Mind says no and body says no – so what drives us on?
6 weeks to go and the challenge of the ‘long’ training runs are upon me. 18, 19 and 20 miles. Generally speaking a beer swilling 39 year olds body isn’t designed for this so what takes over is will power (some say blind stupidity) but once your legs don’t want to run anymore what forces them to take the next step? There is always an ‘easy’ option in life and a hot fire and a pizza fresh out of the oven on a cold February evening would definitely be this option. I guess the thing about a mid life crisis is that there is a point to prove. I can do anything I set my mind to. I will not give up.
Finally race day arrives. 4 weeks ‘on the wagon’ and full of energy but to a certain extent it’s not really about the marathon it’s the months of pavement pounding and soul searching. Surely something will drag me over the finish line? Adrenaline, support etc. etc… The 26.2 miles were the toughest 3hr41 mins of my life. Every sinew screaming STOP! However absolute clarity in my mind that I would finish no matter how much it hurt dragged me across the line.
So is the mid life crisis over? Have I proven a point? Not sure really; but one thing is for sure I’ll never say never again.
Next week I will mainly be shopping for Ferrari’s….