Berlin Marathon Cancelled

So my plans to blitz this race are now kaput! It was supposed to have been my final race of the year, but its cancellation is not a complete shock in the current zeitgeist. Still, no less disappointing. September seemed so far away, and the hope was that Covid-19 would be firmly in the rear view mirror by then. Apparently not. Nein!

I wasn’t that bothered about the Paris marathon cancellation, or my sprint triathlon, or my Olympic triathlon, or even the 24 hour Spitfire Scramble…but Berlin has hit me. Like a wall.

Go ahead, you athlete-haters – you have my full permission to feel all of the schadenfreude you can muster. I am gutted.

It’s not just the cost of the flights and hotel, or letting down Prostate Cancer UK, the charity I would have been running for. It’s not even all of the training I’ve put in – because in all honesty, I hadn’t done more than my usual mileage yet. It’s more about the fact that this was supposed to be my final marathon, coinciding with my 40th birthday – a sensible age to say aufweidersein to marathon running.

I know lots of marathon runners talk about quitting straight after they’ve crossed the line (“NEVER AGAIN KAREN!”…signs up the following week for the next race), but the London marathon was a year ago and my decision still stands.

I want to swap some running time, for some writing time – so marathons are out. I’m also not convinced that marathon running is the healthiest of past times, and as much as I enjoy running long distances, I’m no spring chicken. Dr James O’Keefe’s TED Talk was also a serious wake up call.

The Original Plan

All going well with my training, I was going to break the 3-hour barrier and hang up my marathon running shoes content with a 2:59.

Achieving a 2:55 wouldn’t make me feel any better. Any faster just doesn’t excite or inspire me, so I wouldn’t enjoy the process of working towards it. For such a slight improvement, that would require far too much time and effort, I’m of the opinion that life is too short.

So on one hand, I’m looking forward to “retirement”.

No more 16 week training plans, or running too many days a week and feeling guilty if I missed a day. No more trying to stay as close to my racing weight (70 kg) as possible. For my height, you can’t even call me overweight until I hit 77 kg! POW! Bring on the bratwurst and sauerkraut! No more of those gels or glucose blocks…yuck! No more extra-early Sunday morning runs. Cosiness calls.

Retirement Plan

My retirement is by no means going to be sedentary. Yes, I want to spend more time writing, but I ‘m also planning on doing the following:

  • 30 – 60 mins of Maffetone-style, aerobic training, 3 or 4 mornings a week. Either running or on the bike, with an occasional swim.
  • Body weight strength training (air squats, push ups, pull ups, planks), 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Occasional, shorter distance races. Saturday morning Parkruns, 10km races or sprint triathlons.
  • Eat a low-carb high-fat, primarily plant-based diet, with some intermittent fasting thrown in. (SUGAR is my only weakness. I can take or leave alcohol and meat – blog post pending – the struggle is real).
  • Sleep as much as my body needs, and monkey mind will allow (INSOMNIA blog post pending), generally 6-8 hours a night.

I’ll Be Back? (F*** it, Austria’s close enough)

I feel a certain amount of angst about calling it a day with regards to marathon running. Forty is the new thirty after all and the following facts still remain:

Still stuff in the basement – I’m 99.8% certain I could go sub-3 to qualify for the Boston marathon and 99.9% certain that I’d regret not having tried.

Gene Dykes – 70 years old and still setting PBs!?! Who says it’s all downhill at 40 years old?!

Family and friends – I know too many people still involved in racing, and I have rubber arms. It doesn’t take much to convince me to enter a race or take on a challenge.

We shall see.

This by the way is the 2nd blog post of the “10 in 10 days, blog post challenge”. If I make it to number 10, I’ll go back to a weekly blog post! Hopefully the next blog will be on Step 4 of the Snowflake Method, I’ve been sidetracked with trying to convince readers to like, comment, share and follow the blog! The fact that anyone is reading this is still something I’m grateful for, so I’m indebted to all of you going the extra mile.

Danke shon. Aufweidersein!