So I've been back a week now. I've not ran since the race in Lisbon. I seem to do that after big runs.
When I've broken the back of lethargy for so long and been training for something then it's all too easy to fall back out of the habit and for lethargy to kick in. As it is, at the moment, I just don't fancy going for a run. I know I would enjoy it when I got out there, but actually preparing for it? Mentally preparing for it? Putting my kit on? Physically preparing for it? Nah, not at the moment thanks. Maybe tomorrow...
And that right there is when you fall down a notch, people. It's when lethargy beats you.
I'm sat here trying to convince myself that I deserve a bit of time for my body to recover, but I know it's just because I'm lazy at the moment. I reckon later this week my body will react and I'll get out.
Anyway, the Lisbon Half Marathon was ace. I set out to try and run it in under 2 hours. In the end I managed it in 1:47.
I was happy with that because it was hot. I think it was about 23 degrees. It meant that when I finished I was a sweaty mess.
There's a great feeling toward the end of a race. You know you're going to make it. Better than that, you know you're going to make it within your target time. It's quite an emotional moment. On this race, that point for me was with about 2km to go.
My body was knackered. You know you're running like Hunter and Gonzo on ether, but you're willing yourself to get to the end. To achieve your goals - whatever they be. My goals this time were to finish within 2 hours, and not to stop throughout the run. With 2km to go I knew I was going to achieve this. At this point, something magical happened. As I was running alone I had my iPod shuffle on and Won't Get Fooled Again popped on. Magic. I think I actually sped up.
On this course, you double back on yourself and you run past the finish in the wrong direction two thirds of the way round, so it's a real mental battle to keep on going. When you pass that finish you're running further and further away from it and more accomplished runners are running on the other side of the road toward the finish line. The further away from the finish you head, you're hoping that around every bend you'll see the runners in front of you turning around. When you do eventually see that it's a beautiful sight and it lifts your spirits.
When you can see the finish line you put every last ounce of energy and determination into it and you push your body to its limits. Your legs are on fire, your lungs are burning and your jaw starts hurting. (Sounds funny I know but you've been clenching your teeth for so long it actually starts hurting.) You go as fast as your body will take you. You focus on the line. You make sure you get your foot down solidly on the line so the chip on your shoe registers your time. You turn your own watch off... and...
... well, that's it.
For nearly 2 hours you've been focused on a place you're trying to get to, and then you're there. There are no fireworks, no marching bands. Just you, your sweat, your burning lungs and your aching limbs. You've been running for so long that when you stop it's difficult to stand still. Your body doesn't understand that for nearly 2 hours you've been pushing it so hard only for you to stop quickly without giving it any warning. It's a strange feeling that.
So I enjoyed it. I got a sunburnt head, my vertigo wasn't happy at all when I ran over a very high bridge, I inhaled Powerade and the organisation of the race wasn't too good (starting the fun run at the same time as a half marathon is not a good idea) but it was great.
Me and Rory were chatting the other day and we're thinking Amsterdam may be the next one in October. If I can break the back of lethargy again then I'll look forward to that.
Thanks to everyone that sponsored me. It's money that is all going to a very good cause.