Success, failure, achievement

It was a moderately warm, still day, with a light drizzle. Perfect for running. But I did not run 20 miles. In fact, I only ran just over 10 miles; I just felt low energy for the second half. Now, the question I face is: should I be disappointed with this and call it a failure? I think, not. I had a good run – 10 miles is no short sprint – and I enjoyed the lovely autumn air and atmosphere around the reservoir. Yes, I didn’t ‘achieve’ my plan and will still have to train to 20 miles before mid-September (to accommodate the tapering of my training before the marathon), but overall it was a good run and one that added to my total running this week. My longest run is still around 17 miles. I shan’t be beating myself up.

This is another lesson from running. A target is an aim, and it is good to have them for the purposes of training. But every run is its own event and has its own life. Some time ago I decided to run as I felt in the midst of it, regardless of what I planned. I guess this is another aspect of running in the now, and it works for me.


There has been a long gap since my last post. I cannot remember what I intended to say about Zen when I promised to post about it when writing again. For this, I apologise. I shall have more to say on that topic, but not just now.

The summer is over, and September is already bringing cooler days and evenings. Although the late summer flowers are still in bloom, many are turning to seed, and the super-abundance of verdant July and August has slipped into a yellowing ripeness and fullness. September always feels like both an ending and a beginning, though; the excitement of a new academic year still gets me, even though I do not work in a university anymore. I always feel the start of September is like a mini New Year, an opportunity to renew and refresh commitments and resolutions.

Throughout the summer I continued to run and to increase my distances on the weekend long runs. The fear of being unable to stagger through a half-marathon has faded into memory, although it was only a few weeks ago that I withdrew from the Southport race. Tomorrow, in the rain, I shall attempt twenty miles; this will be the longest distance I will aim for before the marathon on 2nd October, although I might repeat it in a couple of weeks. It will be a new record for me (provided I finish). But it will be a new marker for the future, rather than a completion of something from the past: the point from which I shall be able to call myself a long-distance runner, in my terms at least. From this, I shall have a point to start a ‘new year’ of running.  I hope I can do it. Wish me luck!


UPDATE: it was raining so much today I deferred until tomorrow morning, Sunday. I suppose I’m a wimp, but over long distances there is chafing from wet gear to consider.