As I have gone along I have now picked up quite a collection of medals, which my girls love to look at, as well as copious amounts of t-shirts to the point I may never have to buy one again. I'm also thinking of wearing them as normal leisure-wear just to get some use out of them, rather than a 'look at me and this wonderful race I have run' statement. With the Endurancelife events you get the same tee every time (not a criticism at all, far from it in fact!) so I have begun to acquire them in different sizes to me to give away to other people who run and can get a use out of them as having an ever increasing stash of them for personal use is a bit of a pointless exercise!
Looking at all of these ill-gotten-gains, and proving to myself that I am a marathon runner and have the right to call myself that - more specifically a cross country, or trail marathon runner, it begs the question of 'Where do I go from here?'... When you tell people you run marathons for fun they give you a fair bit of respect as it is something out of the ordinary and outside of most people's experience… When you say you run them cross country they look at you like you're bat-shit crazy… So where do I go from here? Do I carry on as I am or do I ramp things up to challenge myself harder still and push my body even further outside of its comfort zone?
To be honest, I have found I enjoy these marathons… Not just the runs themselves but the whole adventure of going off and doing them, be it fairly local where I can run meeting people I already know from round this way, or travelling to the opposite end of the country or overseas and seeing new sights and meeting new people. One of the best buzzes I have had is arriving in darkness at an event base and falling asleep to awake somewhere I have never been nor seen before, all ready for me to explore.
As you can guess, the runs are not going to stop and they will be continuing in this kind of frequency, however I will not be obsessive about this (promise!). I will endeavour to keep going at one a month (as long as my knees last), until I qualify to join the 100 marathon club... If it takes me a decade, then so be it, but hey you've got to have a goal!
I will be looking to do new races as well as repeating some of those already done, but if there is a clash, then I will always look to favour a new race over an old one. Also to qualify for the 100 marathon club, then you must have completed at least 10 UK road marathons… So that's 10 I still need to do. Realistically I think I will need to slip in 2 a year! Also my canal marathon will not count for the 100, so I will have run 101 to qualify to wear the blue and yellow shirt. and I am already 12/100 there!
With the initial challenge of 12 in 2012 morphing in to 12 in 12 months and now 13 in 2013, the title of the blog is becoming, or indeed has become, somewhat redundant. Whilst out on the trail running Pilgrim I thought of a new title for the blog:
'Running for the pies'
Because let's face it, I'm still just a pie and a pint away from being a fat bastard even after running 13 marathons!
On the weight front, this is something that needs to be addressed. I am easily around 2 stone overweight - yes I'm 6' tall and have a good level of base fitness and powerful muscle mass in my legs through playing football and cycling since I were a lad, but my diet is letting me down and the gut is expanding, so hopefully over the next 12 months/ 12 marathons I'll be able to work on this, and improving my times in the races as a consequence.
I've come a long way from the Pembroke CTS where I finished 3rd last and on a good day I can get to around 2/3 down the finishers list, and by knocking 30 minutes off my times I would be finishing round about the 50 percentile.
I would also love to run some Ultras - although realistically I need to be able to regularly do sub 4:30 trail marathons to build my speed/ fitness and stamina before embarking on them.
Over this year, with all the people I have met and whose adventures I have heard first hand, or read about second hand I have now started to form a 'bucket list' of races. In no particular order they are:
Ultra Trail Mt. Blanc
Centurion South Downs Way 100
Marathon des Sables
I'm no where near ready to go for any of these just yet, but perhaps in 2015 I'll start to chip away at them?.. Time will tell.
Oh and I'd like to do some proper triathlons as well, maybe even building up to an Iron Man one day, but that my friends is something else entirely different!