As the year closes, I feel that natural compulsion to mark it somehow. As today goes on, in the many time zones in which there are people I love, I’ve seen this happen in many ways; Nine special photos, announcements of exits from social media, years in review, happy montages, sad posts, happy posts even an expression of good wishes from an old friend taking his last shit. (Thanks Jason.)
I, however, am going to mark it with yet another love letter to running, in the form of the things it has taught me this year:
Not getting PBs all the time is not just OK, it’s better
If you start running and commit to getting better at it, there will come a time when you will ride a crazy wave of smashing the *bleep out of everything. Every race will be a PB, you will be proud of yourself on a regular basis, your head will enlarge, and you will consider yourself to be ‘kind of a big deal.’ That happened to me in 2017. Then, you will move on to your ‘difficult second album’ – you might get injured, have a few races that are not PBs and you will wonder if that’s you done, all washed up, peaked. That happened to me in 2018. Then comes something else. You realise you haven’t actually peaked, but now, you have to really earn and work hard for your glories. In 2019, I got one PB. (It was 11 minutes off my previous marathon in 2017 and qualified me for Boston, case closed.)
All races, if you are racing are really hard, but…
Confession: 10Ks terrify me. There I said it. I haven’t raced one since 2017 (see above). I trained towards one in the summer but didn’t do it in a rather wimpish machavallian way (I didn’t register). I’d rather run a marathon than a 10K. I’d rather run a full marathon than a half. I like a good 5K though, because for 22 – 23 minutes, I can tolerate the beasting I’m putting myself through. I guess this is no grand epiphany, but whatever distance, if you are racing, you are going to your top end and that’s no spa day. So, if you are reading this, if you race, whatever race you race, you are a badass – ESPECIALLY if you race 10Ks, to you I bow down low.
I think marathons, once you’ve got the endurance base, could be the nicest? Maybe?
Moving on from the above, I believe, personally the above to be true – for me. In my vast experience of running 3 marathons (yeah, yeah, I know, barely born). The key to them is pacing. I finished the Flying Pig Marathon this year strong. Some might say, well, maybe you didn’t go fast enough, Jackie? To that I would reply, I probably did not go fast enough for the first 19 miles – which meant that I went EXACTLY fast enough in the last 7. It’s a funny old game to play I reckon. In a totally unqualified way, I offer this advice to new marathoners: Run one, your first, with no time goals – maybe a loose one if you want, but don’t care too much about it. Feel the distance. Get yourself comfortable and confident that you can run for a long time (4/5 hours), then play with it – cautiously. The fact is, your marathon pace – unless you are Elite, will be quite nice and comfortable; sustainable… MUCH nicer than that mean old 10K (coughs).
There are always amazing runners (friends) you’ve yet to meet.
Just when I think I have the most awesome bunch of run friends, that ‘run friend-life’ cannot get better, then someone else turns up on a run and makes me laugh till a little bit of wee comes out (that’s you Gibson), someone amazing will calmly run by your side like an angel on your shoulder and tell you ‘girl, you got this’ when you need it most, (that’s you Trujilo). You’ll meet a runner at your kid’s bus stop who makes you a pot roast (that’s you Fuentes), a runner running marathons in every state will send you dipped fruit that tastes like heaven on your birthday (that’s you Debord) and someone from your running club in another continent will completely understand your need for good chocolate (that’s you Cydney Morgan).
I believe a limitless supply of AMAZING running friends are out there, stay open always.
Oh my gosh, running friends though
And to all the running friends, you people! I just started typing out your names and realized it would take too long. But for every mile I’ve run with every one of you, thank you. You made it better, you make life better, I bloody loves you, I doos.
We’re gonna need a montaaaaage (or six).