So, in a little more than four weeks’ time I will be laying down, probably unable to move, but (hopefully) feeling an enormous sense of achievement of having completed, not just my first one ever, but The London Marathon.
Having never actually entered any running events in my not-quite-45-years until about 10 months ago it has been an amazing journey. Having never written a blog until 3 minutes ago, this is a dual first!
Whilst out running recently with far too much time to let my mind meander around what I am doing it has led to four themes. They are typically the three questions people ask when they find out you are training for a marathon; firstly WHY?! Not why am I doing it although I will cover that, but why I thought I COULD do it! This is usually followed by ‘Which charity are you running for?’ And lastly what runners never fail to ramble on about ‘How is the training going?’.
For those keen-eyed, I said four themes but only three questions, I thought for those that stay with me, a breakdown of the actual 26.2 miles (ever noticed how the 0.2 is always mentioned, although it only represents 0.76% of the total it always features, I think I will find out why on the day!).
So then, why? What made me think, having never entered a 5K let alone any further, that I could run a marathon? Well it all started with a cheesy sweatshirt. As a fan of ‘Walk this way’ by RUN DMC many years ago, I had seen some locals wearing a RUN GMC hoodie and wanted one. To explain, I live in Godmanchester which is too long to write on forms and often shortened to GMC. There is an annual 24 hour relay race for McMillan charity called RUN GMC organised by Godmanchester Running Club. I felt a fraud just getting the hoodie so signed up for the 4 mile route.
A friend and I chose a slot in the middle of the night, thinking no one would actually see us should the 4 mile route become too much and we had to walk it. We clearly did not think it through as the route is round a local common so pitch black, no street lights and a very bumpy mud track. You have 40 mins to get around to tag the next group in so we had to achieve 10 min/mile pace. We had to charge down the final stretch but made the time slot to high-fives at the end and a sense of achievement started to build. There was a sense of belonging to something as well, a community that is out there and open to anyone who wants to join, a running community. And of course there was a medal. This was my first adult medal and I liked it!
This led to my first 10K the following month and at the 2 miles mark I remember regretting doing it and promising never to enter anything ever again and stick to my plodding around the village. But then came the medal…
In turn, my first half marathon was The Great Eastern in October (which is a big medal!) and although I found it exceptionally hard at times and at one point did actually stop, thankfully a fellow runner caught me in the second and urged me on for the last 3 miles. The jubilation at getting over the finish line with family and complete strangers cheering you on is so motivational. You actually begin to believe that you can, you can do more than you ever thought, you can do exactly what you think you can, you have complete control.
Running was giving me a bizarre belief that I could do anything I put my mind to. Previously I thought I was stuck at a certain weight, lost that; thought I could not run more than 7 miles, ran a half marathon; thought 10 min/mile was my limit, I ran a 5K at 8:33 last month. It was after that first half when I did not ache the following days that I made the decision, this 26.2 miles, could very well be possible. So why do I think I can get around it? Put simply it is more, Why not?