Editor Paul Larkins always looks on the bright side
Years ago my college coach would always greet us every morning with the same question; “How ya doin’,” he’d ask in his thick New York drawl, always much harsher it seemed at 6am, the time he insisted the team met up. The answer, we quickly learned, whatever the weather, however we felt always had to be the same: “Super good, but I’ll get better.”
To us Brits that may seem a little too American, a bit over the top and definitely it was tough for a teenaged Brit like me to come to terms with, but do you know what, more than three decades later that’s still my answer whenever anyone asks how I’m doing. Even if I’m injured, my last race was rubbish and as it currently stands, that 1000-mile total looks like a tall order!
The year started perfectly well; 1000 miles? Tcch, not a problem. I’ll do that by May. Well, May has come and gone and following 8 weeks of half running, half hobbling because of a calf niggle, so has that early hope I’ll hit the target comfortably. I’m running comfortably again, so I reckon I’ll do it, but it did, for those eight weeks get me asking Why did we set such a tough total? Well, you know the answer. Because it’s a fabulous achievement and anyone who gets even halfway close is doing superb. Super good in fact.
That’s my point and coach’s thinking. There will be days when everything seems like an uphill struggle. Running, for all its amazing benefits, is like that. Motivation will wane, real life will get in the way and sadly, for a few of us, injuries will slow progress. But coach knew that. He used that simple philosophy that you should always look on the bright side; if you do, well then things will indeed get easier, you will hit those goals you dreamed about and if you don’t, well then you’ve had a great time getting close!
Talking of hitting goals, here’s one I failed to achieve but actually feel rather pleased with myself that I got close. I went to run in the Hawkshead 17km recently and despite endless warnings about a notorious hill aptly named ‘The Coffin’ and its kick in the tail, I attempted to run all the way up. ‘Hah, I've conquered you,” I thought as I ran across a plateau after about 10min of climbing this killer, obviously forgetting those words of warning. I had duelled my way up with a couple of other runners and had boldly pulled away in those final few minutes. Of course, you know what’s coming, I hadn’t reached the top. There was another climb to conquer, which promptly reduced me to a crawl and my two mid-race rivals disappeared into the distance.
The final few miles were terrible; a mixture of jogging and walking rather than the picture I had in my mind of flying across the finishing line. 'How did you do,” asked one runner, answering the question herself as I had beaten her by a couple of minutes. “You were great. You must have been fantastic to be so high up.”
Smiling, I replied. “It was super good, but I most definitely will get better.”
Have fun! And remember, in our eyes 200, 400, 723, or 1045 miles for 2018 mean just one thing - there’s more to come in 2019.