You’ve been googling strange things like which lubricant is best, buying new fancy gear and suffering from performance anxiety and paranoia. Your wives, husbands and partners are sick of listening to you. They just want it to end. If you’re running the 40th Dublin marathon this Sunday don’t be nervous, there’s no need, because it’s not like you’re going to win! Standing on the start line you’ll question everything that you were so sure about – from what you’ve eaten, to the clothes your wearing, are your runners tied tightly enough, should you queue for the portaloo or take the chance?
You’ve made it to the start line and bang the gun goes and you’re off. The first few kilometres will fly by, mixed in a big group of squashed runners you’ll get carried along in a wave of euphoria, dodging snot rockets, gel fueled farts and unwanted conversation with overly friendly runners. What was your goal pace? Why are you running so fast? Slow down! The crowd is full of people who were strangers seconds ago but are now fans: your fans, cheering and driving you on …. Is it too quick? Seriously slow down! Marathon running is an emotional business, and its easy to get caught up in the adrenaline surge brought on by a cheering crowd. But remember it’s not a race, or is it? Yes, there is other runners, but remember they’re running their race you are running your own.
So moving towards the halfway mark you’ll settle down and find a rhythm, the runners have spread out. Overly ambitious sprinters that started out too quickly are starting to fall apart. Some nipples are bleeding, inner thighs are chaffing and the portaloos are busy again. People are starting to walk ….. oh you’d love to just walk, just for a second. Remember things only become interesting when they stop being easy. As the race enters the final quarter that runner who was irritating at the start is now your greatest ally, in the silence of the previous 20 miles you’ve now become comrades, sharing the odd word and water bottle. The only competition left is the voice in your head telling you to quit. The race is now as much in your head as in your legs, searching for the finish line you’ll start breaking the remaining distance into miles then kilometres then 400metres. You’ll start making deals with yourself – run until the next water station, keep the pace up for another half mile, JUST KEEP GOING! And just like that, the finish line comes into sight, lap up the cheers and soak it in because you deserve it. The internal struggle fought between running and mental suffering ultimately leads to redemption and liberation through the achievement of finishing the marathon, at some you will smile to yourself and be happy that you invested in good lubricant. Best of Luck!