The hardest thing about training for a half marathon is the fact that people you know see you at your worst.
I’d rather my children saw me drunk than in some of the states I’ve found myself in during long runs around south Lancaster over the last nine weeks.
Exhaustion does funny things to the brain.
During a particularly gruelling session a few weeks ago I found myself out past Lancaster University on the way to Galgate and I’d convinced myself I’d had a conversation at a set of traffic lights with a lady I used to work with a few years ago.
Honestly, I was that knackered I thought I’d imagined it.
It was only when her husband, who was driving the car, contacted me on Facebook the following day to say how nice it was to see me again after all these years that convinced me I hadn’t made the whole thing up.
There’s no trick to running. The more you do it, the fitter you get. Of course, diet and rest help but unless you put in the hellish miles during training then you’ll look forward to the day itself as much as a prostate examination by a doctor with fingers as thick as cricket stumps or root canal work at the dentists – and it’ll hurt a lot, lot more.
It’s funny how when out training you never bump into people you know when you’ve just set off and look like a poster boy for running shoes.
No, you get a cheery wave some time around mile eight when you’ve sweat so much you look like you’ve fallen in the sea and your face is so red your head might burst.
Training is lonely and it is boring.
So very boring. Sure, you get superfit and the weight drops off you like nobody’s business.
Your eyes sparkle, your skin looks fresh and your concentration levels improve a thousand per cent. But apart from that there’s nothing to be said for it. Nothing at all.
To be honest, I’ll be glad when it’s all over, which it will be a week on Sunday when I (hopefully) cross the finish line at the Great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields via Gateshead and a long, relentlessly uphill dual carriageway I’ve started dreaming about recently.