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One Step At A Time, Remaining Focused

Coming up to 22.00, Wednesday night, and whilst I had every intention of leaving work today at a time which would allow for even the shortest of runs through the heath, yet another evening of “wish I had” passes me by. With less than….much less than two weeks to go before the big day, I find myself with that pre race day mindset creeping in – could I, should I, what if…..and all with little weight behind any and all shortfalls that I may have let pass me by until it is almost to late to do anything about them.

And then, as I cast my mind back to school days past, and how there were all too many instances when things would be left to the last-minute – a rushed project, everyday homework – and remembering at the time, just how eager I would be to finish all of the work well within the allotted time given and free from last-minute stresses, but to no avail. I guess some things never change.

So what now, and how best to ensure that come next Sunday I make it round the 26 mile course without running out of steam?

I tell myself that come the race my legs will remember what to do, and a less intense training regime this time around will be made up for in positive mental thinking. Of course the additional training itself would have been of more use, and cycling to work every day for the past six months is no substitute (even though through January I told myself it was). Where the Marathon is won or lost mentally is for sure in and around miles 14-22, the hard slog off the bend at Tower Bridge, as you see the runners on the other side of the road pass you by, and you think to yourself that a short time later you will simply turn the corner and come back on yourself. Said corner however, takes in the Isle of Dogs, Canary Wharf and several miles of road, and by the time you and I are coming back up the road, there isn’t anyone left going the other way.

It is at that time of the day when a Rocky song on the ipod does wonders.

The songs aside, and this really can not come across in any other way than cheesy, the things that really drive you to the end are the crowd and then remembering why you are putting yourself through it in the first place. The crowd – thousands of nameless faces, there to cheer you on, and call out a name they can’t always pronounce (I did toy with putting Bob on my shirt), handing out sweets and making you feel that pain is just a state of mind. A personal favourite for a good Jewish boy is the vicar who is always spraying his holy water at about mile 4 – although early in the game, I will take any kind of divine intervention to then get me through the remaining slog.

More so though, rarely do you speak to someone who is running the Marathon, and find that they are not doing so for an extremely worthy cause. in my case, and as before in a previous blog, I would implore you to take two minutes and read up on my charity of choice for this years marathon – Emunah (emunah.org.uk). As you pass a Joseph’s coat of coloured shirts on the day, every one has an indication of just how many causes are out there which need everyone’s support – and whilst not trying to sound as though this is just a plea to support, I do simply want to highlight that there will always be people who have less than us in the world and rely on our giving in order to survive. Lofty words I know, and little in the way of comfort as our own commitments take centre stage on a day to day basis – but still, no amount of explanation can do justice to the difference your giving can make.

And so, how do I think I will fair?, I reckon I will be fine. Come Monday, the water and pasta diet commences, and I switch my mindset to “one foot in front of the other” thoughts, that although simple, do help in such circumstances. I don’t have a particular regime for race day, but I will wear the same shorts and top I have done for the previous two Marathon’s and my finish feast of Mars Bars and peanut butter rolls will travel with me too. I walk around the start trying to suss out who is a pro and who only dresses as such, and make every effort not to set off like Usain Bolt when the flag drops, whilst also trying to keep out of everyone’s way who is.

Last year I chuckled when I realised I had stopped for the loo at exactly the same point as the Marathon before, and thankfully last time around I didn’t get passed on mile 26 by a man dressed as a womble as I had done on my first outing – then I had nothing left in the legs, and I told myself he deserved the big finish given how damn hot he must have been.

For now then, I leave you with the link once more to my just giving page http://www.justgiving.com/Aron-Schlagman2012, and thank you in advance for any and all support – and ask too, for your stories, as I would love to hear occasions on which you set, managed, and reached a goal that when you first set out, you never thought you would accomplish….?

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