And a mystery (or mythtery, as Toyah would say*) it certainly is.
It is an absolute mystery to me that I can spend 10 hours a week, for 3 months, training for an event, do half a dozen really long runs, have a a great warm-up race, a perfect marathon taper, then go into the race that really mattered last Sunday and get horrible*** cramp at 14 miles; so much so that I ended up pleading for salt with those lovely people**** from St John’s, then walking large sections of the rest of the race, feeling very sorry for myself.
Anyway, the whole thing resulted in the slowest I’ve run a marathon for 12 years, and it’s really really really infuriating that I can’t put my finger on the reasoning. I guess if I were to take a world view on this sort of frustration, I would assess it as indicative of our desire these days to capture everything in black and white – everything has a cause and effect, and the simpler the better. And whilst it would be great to be able to do this, I think it’s pretty unlikely in practice – in this case, I might just have to put the whole thing down as a bad day at the office. And in doing so, maybe accept that there’s a bit of ambiguity and mystery in why things happen, and that sometimes all the planning in the world won’t stop some bad luck.
Meanwhile, at the end of the course, Jr Emu #2 was waiting with his mother.
“Well Done”, he said, really meaning it, “You did really well”
“Thanks”, I said, “but I should have finished about 15 minutes quicker than that”
“Yes, but Dad”, he reassured me, “I was watching everyone finish, and noone ahead of you looked nearly as old or as grey as you”
Which I think he meant as a positive.
Must dash now. Got an autumn comeback marathon to plan.
*And this does give me an opportunity to tell you my favourite Toyah story. Some time after her ‘classic’ EP ‘Sheep farming in Barnet’, Toyah shot to the top of the ‘hit parade**’ with an album that included hits like ‘It’s A Mystery’, and, err, some other stuff. A friend of mine was manager of a large record store at the time and took delivery of several boxes of the album. The record bombed, and he was left with boxes and boxes of records that he had to return. Normally, this would involve cutting open a record sleeve, putting a light scratch on it and sending it back damaged, but there were hundreds of these, and a) it would have taken ages and b) it might have been seen as a bit of a scam. So, in a moment of sheer genius, he put a ‘damaged/return’ label on each box, and wrote in big letters: “Singer has lisp”.
** ask your Dad
*** Really horrible
**** I’m sure they really are lovely people. Just wish they knew a bit more about fixing injuries.