It has often been said that the biggest opponent you face when embarking on a challenge is the one inside your head. Well, today, my challenge was to complete the York Knavesmire Harriers Brass Monkey Half Marathon. I had eagerly entered the event, along with my fellow Jedi Joggers, a while ago and the day had finally come. My training for this event had been OK but I’d missed a few runs due to the recent ice and snow. Despite that, two weeks ago, I had run 13.5 miles along the canal on a training run so I knew it was possible, right?
Some runners are very particular about their pre-race preparation. They need certain events to go like clockwork with precise Swiss timing. All I can say is that its a good job that I don’t. Miraculously, we had managed to pack the car and get the girls ready by 8 o’clock…on time! However, my next move wasn’t very Jedi-like…I pulled the front door shut, the Yale lock closed and the car keys (and house keys) were locked inside 😦
All was not lost, I thought to myself, as a ran up the road to my parents’ house to borrow our spare keys. After a lot of apologising about waking them up so early on a Sunday, I ran back home to my very patient family. On the way back to the house I noticed that my right hip and left leg were a bit sore…mere niggles I thought. I retrieved the car keys from the house and we set off to York Racecourse.
The journey went well and we found the place fine. There was hardly any traffic and ample parking. We organised ourselves and went to meet the others in the Ebor Suite. Darth Vader, Han Solo and Boba Fett had all arrived in good time. As soon as we got there I was advised to join the race number retrieval ‘bun fight’ so off I went. Eventually I got my number (fortunately I remembered my ID), and joined the others. I set about pinning my number on whilst Darth Vader attached my timing chip to my trainer! I was conscious of holding the others up.
Fortunately, they had delayed the start of the race for about 10 minutes due to the ‘bun fight’ so we had enough time to make it to the start and even have our photo taken!
The race started and we all set off, taking just over a minute to run through the start line. I had decided to start slowly, thinking that I would be jogging round in 2:10:00 and ran with Han Solo for a while. After a mile however, I began to speed up and caught up with Darth Vader. Now that I was in the groove I pulled away from the Dark Lord and set a good consistent pace. I had made the decision to run without my Runkeeper app and to go with my instincts. It appears as though they served me well because I felt quite good all the way round.
Well, should I say I felt good until about mile 12 when I could see the Ebor Stand, towering up from the horizon. The Ebor Stand was just next to the finish and it looked a long way away! All of a sudden I began to feel all the niggles and the tiredness but I managed to keep going. As I turned the final corner I was greeted with an almighty cheer from the Jedi Joggers supporters club (and Boba Fett who’d already finished!) and I made it across the finish line.
Once I had crossed the finish line a marshall asked me if I’d broken my PB. I told him that I didn’t know because I didn’t have a watch. Apparently, I’d not noticed the big clock situated at the finish line to greet the runners on their way across the finish line! Later on I found out that I had conquered the Brass Monkey in 1:51:00 which was indeed a new PB, so I was a very chuffed Jedi Jogger. In fact, all the Jedi Joggers did great and I’m sure that at some point their stories will be appearing on here too.
On a personal level, I would like to thank all my fellow Jedi Joggers, our wives and children and friends for their support and kind words. If your biggest opponent really is in your head then it doesn’t seem as daunting when you have friends and family standing by your side.