I've been plodding happily along for the past 3-4 years going through the motions. Train and race for my club at 5k, 10k, 10 mile, cross country, do the odd half marathon or even a marathon at a push (against others' advice). The next year begins and the same routine kicks in. The only variety being some fantastic fell races in Borrowdale, Nevis and the Chevy chase to name but a few.
This year has been a nightmare with regards injury starting around April time and been ongoing since. I always seem to find myself trying to catch up and get back to fitness then something happens and I'm back to square one. Confidence is low...
My weekend up in Fort William for the Nevis race gave me the time and space I needed to clear my head. One question from a running perspective - What do I want to do? Do I want to remain floating in between the bread and butter club races and the long inspiring races or do I want to make a decision and put a plan in place to aim for a particular race/challenge which will make me happy?
Don't get me wrong, representing my club in any race is something I'm proud of. It's the expectation of how I should be performing - "you should do this race", "you should be doing these times", "avoid those fell races if you want to make progress" etc etc. Times are not my motivation, I'm no record breaker nor could I be. There seems to be an obsession about times which is fine if that's your goal. I want to enjoy my running without pressure and without being ruled by a clock. Even if I trained hard specifically for a 10k and came out with sub 34/35 minutes what would that achieve?
So now I'm nearly over my ankle problems (still niggling now and again, peroneal tendonitis I think), and nursing injuries inflicted by coming off my bike last week (own stupid fault), I've decided what I want to do. I have a race in mind to complete before I'm 40. Not divulging yet incase I don't qualify.
Qualification means doing some Ultra marathons. I have entered the Highland Fling (April 2013) which I have been reliably informed is a good entry level race. I have also entered the Lakeland 50 (July 2013). Completion of these will give me enough points to qualify but it does depend on the draw if I get in. The entries open in December 2013 so hopefully by then I'll have accrued the points required by then. If I don't get in then I'll try again until I do.
So, why not? You only live once, why wait?
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." T.S. Eliot