I was going to write a race report about last weekend’s Amsterdam Marathon and Half Marathon. My achilles injury prevented me from running but I went out anyway to support my friends and clubmates because I’d paid for the trip already. I had a tremendous time and everyone had a stonker. There were amazing marathon debuts and PBs galore.
I may have got carried away with it all. When my friends do well, I want to do well too. It’s partly a result of having heroes for friends. My running heroes are not only Mo, Galen, Haile and the untterably beautiful David Rudisha. Nor are they Cram, Coe and Ovett. I’ve been inspired by all of them, of course but it’s what my club mates do which drives me on more than anything.
ChrisHurk set his new PB in Amsterdam and it’s only three seconds slower than mine. I have no doubt that he could have gone faster on a less congested course and a small, embittered, obsidian-dark part of me is glad he didn’t manage it. We’re going to have a bit of a smackdown at the Cambridge Half as a result. It’s a pancake flat course and while it might be a bit congested in places the atmosphere is such that we’ll have lots of support to cane it. I joked that I’ll just sit on his shoulder until the final 100m then outsprint him to the finish. I think it would be more accurate to say that we’ll pace each other round and really go for it only when we know that we’re going to get home in PBs. If things go well over the winter then we’ll go faster than 1:40 but I was so carried away with things that I had visions of 1:35. While it’s good to have ambitious targets, there are practical limits to ambitions.
We were talking about the Marathon Talk Magic Mile on the Saturday night. I was really impressed with Tom Williams’ improvement from 6:07 last year to 5:00.3 this year. My mile PB is 6:03 and I rashly said that with Marathon Talk’s six months of perfect training, I could match that. It was only when I remembered that Uffish’s mile PB is 5:07 and brotherjohn’s best is 5:10 that I worked out just how ridiculous I sounded. I wasn’t even drunk but I was as high as a kite on friendship. My friends’ enthusiasm wound me up like one of those old chattering clockwork teeth toys and set me off across the table. I was only embarrassed later and that is embarrassing too.
This entire post was partly inspired by Simon Freeman’s post on his blog. He says that what we need are heroes and he’s right. I like knowing that elite athletes are out and doing great things. I do want to emulate them in small ways. I’m more driven by the great things my friends do with a fraction of the time to train available to them in comparison to the elites. Just because they have 20% of the training time doesn’t mean that they give anything less than 100% in the time they have.