Hands up all those people who have entered the London Marathon ballot and not got in? I'm up to 8 consecutive entries since 2012 and not once have I got in. I even have 2 Rejection Jackets that I never wear. Fortunately I am a member of a running club and England Athletics registered. For the 2013 race I had entered the ballot, not got in, then heard about my running club's draw for a chance to get one of 3 guaranteed places.
I had my rejection letter and met the criteria for entry, so decided I might give it a go. I got to the club run on a Wednesday night I think, met up with a load of Sandhurst Joggers and got ready to go on a run, that was to be followed later by a curry, skittles and marathon draw in a pub. I had invited a friend from parkrun to come along, but he was late, so I waited while my SJ colleagues ran off to Yateley. Dave turned up and we set of in the general direction of where the others had gone, but never found them. After about 6 miles we got back to Dave's house, then I went home to shower.
Having missed the club run I nearly didn't bother to go out again, but went anyway and just made it as Thai green curry was served and handed in my rejection letter. After curry and skittles, it was time for the draw. First name out of the bag "Richard (shit that's me!) McCready (oh, no it isn't. So it won't be me then), second name out of the bag was not me either, then "Richard - yes you this time!" I think I said both Yay! and Shit! at the same time.
Late 2012 I was having treatment on an achilles injury and was due my last appointment a week after the draw, making it mid-December. I had been running only 20 to 35 miles per month around that time. Then I got the go ahead to resume "light training", got myself a 16 week marathon training plan and the next 3 months saw 101, 113 and 151 miles run. Lightly, obviously.
I was on for my first marathon with a target time of 4:30 and with 2 weeks to go I did a trail half marathon with some quick descents and the next day my foot was really swollen. What the PF!? I managed to get to the start line but with very little running in the taper. My foot was pretty sore for the last 8 miles of the marathon, but then everything was sore not much later. I missed my target finishing in 4:35:55.
There! Another failure that I kind of beat myself up about. I mean, 4:35 for a relatively new runner in their first marathon is OK, but it didn't feel like it to me.
If I had beaten 4:30 I might never have done another marathon, but I had a target that I had missed and now knew that I could do a marathon.
Your life can change on a whim or a chance, like "Oh alright then, I'll go for that curry." Look what that led to: London done, then next marathon in September - Farnham Pilgrim (hilly trail), then Portsmouth in December - flat, windy, raining, had to wade across a beach knee deep with the incoming tide but finished in 4:13:52. Then someone said "You could definitely go below 4 hours."
And that, Dear Readers, is where my grip on reality was lost.
I did 5 marathons the next year and 14 the year after that. Marathon/ultra No.75 is just around the corner. Good grief!