DIARY: Rocky the runner

With the last remnants of injury and illness fading away slowly these days, it is almost time to begin training for my next big event: the Copenhagen marathon 2012. I will cover this journey and the design of the training programme etc. in every detail on the ChampionsEverywhere website (launching tomorrow all going well) but before talking about that I took a moment to reflect on this as a milestone moment.

Whenever I return from injury I do it with a feeling that this is the last-chance saloon in terms of getting it right. While I can retain high fitness for many years to come, I only have three more years remaining as a non-Masters athlete and I cannot keep expecting the body to heal all wounds. Likewise, mentally I feel I have done well to bounce back but with four frustrating years behind me, I should expect to reach a limit where either mind or body just won’t cooperate any more.

In 2008, I thought everything was possible and the sky seemed the limit. Today I am a washed up club-runner, what boxers would call a “ring-wreck” with a punch-drunk body from too many knocks and blows. This sounds depressing but I don’t feel depressed: after all Rocky was a washed-up fighter as well and he made it. (don’t mail me to tell me it’s just a movie).

The lessons learned have been hard ones but it teaches perseverance in the face of adversity. I have a lot of catching up to do over the next few years but I am armed with a better knowledge of the sport than ever before and truth is, I have done very little consistent training the last few years and still had reasonable results. To take a step up I don’t need years and years of training, I just need 1-2 years of consistency and a clean run at my peak races.

I think the programme and resources I am putting in place for the Copenhagen marathon could be the final solution I have been looking for. It is a bit like Rocky getting his one big fight, the one chance to return to glory. I see the race that way. Get it right until May. Bring out that seminal performance I know is in the bones and that I know the Lydiard system can conjure. So the Copenhagen marathon is my Apollo Creed. Can this aging battered body put itself together for one last fight?

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