Where the Iron Crosses grow.

I’ve referenced it before but I’ll jog your memory. It’s a war drama film, a German sergeant who has an Iron Cross and his younger, vainglorious officer who desperately wants one. The officer lies to try and get one and tries to get the sergeant killed to cover his lie. In the end, as the allies are closing in and all hell is breaking loose, the sergeant prepares to run out into the fight he says to the officer “Come with me, I’ll show you where the Iron Crosses grow.”


That is where my rather pretentious and somewhat tenuous blog post title came from.

I’m using it to refer to my latest ambition, the sub 3 hour marathon. It’s that special.

I thought, now I’ve broken the 7 minute/mile barrier I’d just trot in at that pace. This training plan I’m trying to follow says: “week 1, run 3 miles in 18 minutes.”

You have to remember it’s only a week or so ago I was thrilled to set a new PB of 6.45 m/m. That wasn’t an accident. That was going at it full-on.

Then I tried to the 3 mile sprint (19.43). Not good. I mean, new PB for the mile and 3 miles, but not up to scratch. In the week one of the training days was 10 minutes (easy) run to warm up, then 4 X 1 mile sprint. It was blowing a gale so the runs into the wind were slower, but none of them were brilliant. (6.45, 6.23, 7.08, 6.22) Again, that was two new PB miles, but PB doesn’t count for shit. It just means my best isn’t good enough. Today I jogged an easy mile to get warmed up then sprinted the 3 miles again.

It is pure hell. I’d prefer to run a full, steady, marathon than sprint 3 miles. This time was even slower (20.15) but that was because I burned out. I seriously can’t get enough air in my lungs to support that much effort. I set another PB for the mile (6.05, so close!) but then dropped to 6.45 and 7.23!


Let’s focus on the positive here, I’ve managed to knock over a minute off my best mile from 3 weeks ago. I think I’ll have to adjust the training plan. I have plenty of time, it’s a 14 week plan and I have just under a year until the Chester marathon. I’ve booked into some races roughly where they should be on the plan though. A 10 mile, a half marathon and a ‘fun’ hilly-as-buggery marathon.

That should keep the momentum up.

I need to train to reach the base standard. I’ve proved to myself that a 6 minute mile is possible. If I run a mile sprint one day, a long, easy paced run the next, a day of rest and repeat it might be a better plan. Get used to doing a single mile in 6 minutes, then 1½,  2 miles, etc. I just can’t strap on my trainers and knock off 3 miles at that pace.

Looking at the training plan, four of the first eight week’s goals I can achieve now. The longer (10, 12, 15 and 18 mile runs) aiming at 7 or slightly less minute miles. It’s the short (3, 5, 6 and 10 mile) runs at 6m/m’s I can’t do.

The theory seems to be; the longer you run the slower you get (as you tire). Therefore be able to put in a 6 m/m half marathon so you can comfortably run the full distance at 6.30-6.45.

Anyway, just so you know to avoid it, I’ll be updating this entry as a record of my progress. I’ll carry on blogging my usual banality in ongoing posts, but keep this one to chart this stupidly ambitious goal.

There’s a reason it’s a kudos mark amongst runners. It’s because it is so very, very hard.

Wendy reminded me, when I was first getting started and was really chuffed with reaching a distance, let alone a pace, I’d been pleased to get my time down to 8 m/m. Someone at her works who was a member of a running club said “tell him to get it down to 7 m/m, that’s a good club pace.”

Ha! 7m/m! 7! We laugh in the face of a 7 m/m!

If I achieve this it will be epic.

Someone noted a T-shirt in the audience at the Ironman finals in Hawaii saying “You run marathons? How cute.”

I think a good English version might be “Bless.”

I may have one done “Yes, I run marathons as well. As a warm-down.”

Heh. One-upmanship.

Crack a decent time first. Don’t want the grannies barging past me on their zimmer frames if I’m wearing such a boastful T-shirt.

To quote from the philosopher Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”


W/E 28.10.12 : 15 miles (up to Frodsham hill top and back) 1.59

1.5 mile sprint:

6:01, 3:15 (9:16)

6:01, 3:15 (9:16)

5:55,  Dammit! I didn’t press the pause button on my stop watch. Not sure if it was 3:17 or 3:07 now.