Chester Marathon: 14th Marathon, but this is like the first time

I’m so excited to run Chester Marathon on Sunday.

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 I’ve been a bit nervous about it, wondering if I’ll get round, whether I’ll hate it, whether the effort will beat me. But yesterday the Doc gave the ok to run it and I had my pre-race powwow with BenFP and today I had one of those “oh wow I get to run a marathon this weekend – yey!” moments. I guess maybe I’ve been holding back the excitement a bit in case I couldn’t run it.

It’s weird though. I’m really looking forward to the no-pressure aspect of the race, but I do really love the challenge of hitting the time. There’s nothing like the roller-coaster of managing your emotions and effort as you run and try to keep pace and then the flood of feelings at the end of the race as you finish. I discovered at Boston that being too loose in my aims actually takes away some of the fun for me, so I’ll be giving my self a range of aims, if only to make more of a game of it.

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I’m a little bit (ok a lot) jealous of Mr B who has had some storming training sessions lately and will be doing his first Marathon since we ran our first ever one together in 2011. I’m not sure if he’d mind me telling you his target so I won’t this time, but I really think he should hit it and the only thing that will stop him is the mental side. He’s still saying he’s not convinced I won’t beat him, partly on the basis that I have more experience.

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Experienced Marathon runner? Yes, in one way. But in another way this feels like I’m starting from scratch. In marathons experience is a massive advantage, you know when you need to give yourself and mental slap and when you need to give yourself a break and relax. This is one though, this is a new game. I have no idea how my changing body shape and gait will cope with the experience. I also don’t know how my brain will handle it. Will the fact that I have an excuse and that I need to be sensible mean I check-out when I don’t need to? Will the fact that this will be my last one for at least a year mean that I can push through (sensibly)?

Yes I’m not going to be going into the depth of effort in the same way, but I fully intend to give it a good bash. However this pans out, I’m itching to get on with it. This only running two marathons in a year thing is not good for addicts like me!

On top of that, it’s a new kind of excitement when both Blands are running it. I can’t wait for Mr B to get that experience of the twitchy nervous excitement in the pens, the way that time seems to stand still until 5 mins before and then suddenly accelerateso that it’s mere seconds before the gun goes. The way you check out the people around you as you set off, make some nervous chat, wonder when you’re going to need to knuckle down. The moments when you lift your eyes and see what’s happening around you and take in the sights, the patter of feet and the calm concentration, the internal conversations and debates, the smiles of the marshals, the cheers from onlookers, the scenes of pure elation at the finish line.

Yep, I can’t wait. And this time I get to share it with the entire Bland family. 

So, get your predictions in - what do you think or times will be. No offence taken at anything, just intrigued!  (if it helps, I did 1:32:53 at harrow half a few weeks ago and he ran 1:31:46 and a sub 20 5k on the track last week) 

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