I remember watching the first London Marathon on the TV as a kid in 1981.
It was a big deal.
This was back when we only had 3 channels on the TV. The BBC gave it rolling coverage for well into the afternoon. It was like the Olympics or a royal wedding.
It made for compelling viewing and we watched it all day.
The people running were clearly insane, but also heroes. They were super-fit athletes, people who had trained for years. This wasn’t something a mere mortal like me would ever conceive of doing.
Well, in your face younger me. Tomorrow I’ll be running the 36th London Marathon.
The furthest I’ve run is 20 miles in training. Whilst it didn’t kill me, running for over 3 hours non-stop wasn’t exactly easy either.
‘They’ say that you get pulled along by the crowd, that as long as you can do 20 miles then you’ll be fine. So, nothing to worry about, right?
I was feeling confident up to about 4 weeks ago. Then I had to stop training due to a stress point appearing on one of my ankles. I’d been overdoing the training.
Left unchecked this would almost certainly have resulted in a stress fracture occurring. When he discovered it my physio immediately banned me from running, at the most important part of my training plan.
This means I’m unsure of my fitness. This leads to doubt; how ‘unfit’ have I become?
Tuesday I ran an illicit 5K – don’t tell my physio! – at race-pace and my legs held out fine. I didn’t get out of breath and there was only the faintest twinge in the shins around mile 3. Nothing to worry about, I hope.
The biggest doubt is the time I’ll do it in. I keep telling myself that time doesn’t matter and finishing is all that counts.
But I’m kidding myself.
That person who trained throughout the winter. Up and out on sub-zero, pitch dark January mornings at 6am is the same person who wants to finish in a particular time.
Luckily I’m not a fool. I was injured, I can’t help that. I have to adapt and work with what I have. So I have given myself two target times; the second one I’ll manage if I have to crawl.
I’ve spoken to two people who have had to pull out because of injury, one with a stress fracture!
After all their training!
Sure, it could be worse, but that’s harsh. I really feel for them.
Thank you Merfyn the physio for taking this newbie runner with a locked up pelvis, shins and calves at Christmas time and getting me moving. For keeping me supple and for spotting the early warning signs.
Thank you body for taking the intense pounding and dealing with it so well.
Thank you to all my supporters who have sponsored me, it is much appreciated.
Thank you Cathie for stoically putting up with being a marathon widow those winter Sundays.
I have run a few races now and they are great fun. The atmosphere is electrifying and it’s true that you do get a boost from the crowds.
It’s also the first race I’ll be doing with my family spectating. I’m running for The Outward Bound Trust – hint: it’s not too late to sponsor me – and they have a couple of places en-route where they’ll be waiting to cheer me on. I know this will be a big boost on the day.
Also, the weird thing I’ve discovered about us runners is that we like to ‘do’ a place we know well. I spent 10 years living in London and it feels like my second home. I was married there. My first two kids were born there and I owned my first home there.
I can’t wait to run around it.
I get to have my life back.
I’ll continue to run as I’m hooked. But gone will be the Sundays where I get up early and run for three hours. Then eat the equivalent of two meals and sleep until late afternoon.
Gone will be the constant fear that a small bash on my shins when playing with the kids or doing simple jobs in the garden might ruin 6 months of training.
I’ll be able to accept social engagements again. No more “Sorry, that doesn’t fit my training schedule”.
My life has been on hold.
I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
Can I pull this off?
Are we there yet?
Word count: 736.
Time taken: about 90 minutes, including editing.
This post is one of 30 I wrote daily during April 2016 as part of the 30 Day Writing Challenge.