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Thursday, October 25, 2007

The elusive goal is reached

At the weekend we were in Amsterdam for the marathon, John's 16th and the penultimate marathon in his world's top 10. This is a list compiled by Runner's World and now he has only Chicago to run, next year.

John has been training hard to reach a particular goal. He runs five days a week and his schedule includes runs and races with the Orion Harriers, half marathons, a training week in the Algarve and losing a stone.

He didn't achieve his goal in Boston, back in May, although he came close. In fact the weather conditons were so bad that the elite runners were all slower than their normal times.

But in Amsterdam, the goal was achieved. It was a great moment sitting in the Olympic stadium and receiving his excited phone call as he crossed the finish, and then seeing him jumping for joy among the thousands of plastic clad finishers as they milled around in a haze of embrocation.

It's a huge personal success for him because he's had to change his mindset and the way he runs a marathon, plus he's getting older. The training he did in the Algarve this year was instrumental in the change. He learnt how to monitor his pace instead of his heart rate.

I've followed him around the world running various marathons - Berlin, Stockholm, New York, Honolulu, Rotterdam, Paris to name a few. I've seen him at quite a low ebb after poor performances in Stockholm, where he ran although he was unwell, and Berlin, where it was very hot. So it was great to see him jubilant and joyful. He seemed to recover much faster too. I've seen him walk down staircases backwards in the past, and limp at the airport, but after Amsterdam he was even quite chipper when we had to walk back to the hotel (30 mins).

Now the goal is achieved I don't think he will stop running for one minute, and I wouldn't want him to because running keeps him fit and stress-free, but at least the pressure is off in terms of personal bests. Next up is London, hopefully, if he gets a place, followed by Chicago in the autumn. And I'm trying to talk him into Tokyo.

Have I ever thought about taking up marathon running? No chance --- the runners are generally small and wiry, built for speed (which is another reason why it's harder for John as he is tall and well built). Plus I couldn't contemplate dragging myself out on a cold or rainy dark night. No, it's the swimming pool for me and my beloved aqua sessions!

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