|2013 started well with 18th place overall|
(out of 309) in the Boney Mt Trail Half
Marathon, outside LA in the USA, on
I've been reviewing my objective to run another sub-3:00 hour marathon, and how long such a quest should be pursued. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I still believe that, if things go well, I can do it. On the other hand, I made three attempts over three years to break the record for the quickest circumnavigation of Australia by bike, solo and unsupported, and each failed for different reasons at about the half-way mark. Even now, in my heart, I still believe I could achieve that feat if everything went my way, but accept that the risks are significant, and maybe I should leave it alone.
Running a sub-3:00 hour marathon at the age of 62 (or 63), is less risky and less challenging. For example, in last month's Gold Coast Marathon, the 60-64 Age Group winner ran 2:46! And, I only have to worry about my body, not road trains or bicycle mechanics.
An old friend, whose opinion I respect, recently told me that there was something a little sad about pursuit of these goals where the chance of success is small. His view is that I should focus on my running longevity, since I enjoy the sport so much, and not increase the risk of injury by chasing likely futile objectives . There's certainly some logic to that argument. For whatever reason, I can't help trying to see how far or fast I can go; to find the edge of the "envelope". Maybe it's a pursuit of celebrity, and I don't mind the limelight. My brother says, that since childhood, I've had a "Look at me, look at me!" complex, and I can't deny it.
I accept that pursuing such goals may bring a career-ending injury closer. However, I just wouldn't be happy if I wasn't running as much as I think my body can reasonably sustain. That's what I've been doing most of the last 45 years, and its ingrained. I also know from observation, that at my age (and younger), there are many other things that could unexpectedly bring my running career (and life) to an early halt, so why save myself.
Having said all of that, a sub-3:00 hour marathon is not my only mission in life. Since retiring ten years ago, I have tried to have one big adventure each year, generally cycling or hiking. If I haven't managed a sub-3:00 hour marathon by July next year, I will give up on the quest and get back to my usual adventures. There are many things still on my bucket list.
I don't believe it's feasible to run marathons (and ultras) too frequently if you want to achieve your potential. My rule of thumb is that such events should be three or four months apart, if you are focused on doing your absolute best. With this in mind, I have ear-marked the Hobart Marathon (January), Canberra Marathon (April) and Gold Coast Marathon (July) as events I will train for specifically with the goal of a sub-3:00. I still intend to run the Melbourne Marathon in October, but don't expect to be fit enough to run my best. As soon as I get back into full training, hopefully, by the end of this month, I will work out a detailed training and race plan to target the Hobart Marathon in January 2014.