So it’s less than 48 hours until the start of the Marathon. Yes, I am running. Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am bloody terrified.
Since last posting it has been the usual story of ups and downs. Despite my cleaner’s best attempts to cripple me with her shiny floors, it was only a minor setback and the following weekend I took myself off to Tooting Bec Common to attempt a genuinely long run. I knew it was risky, and I knew that I needed to resist the temptation to play catch-up (according to the original plan I should’ve run 20 miles on Easter weekend), but I simply couldn’t bear the thought of tackling the Marathon having only achieved a relatively puny 10 miles. I was hoping that I could manage 12, maybe a bit more. The Boy threw down the gauntlet and told me not to bother coming home until I’d clocked 15.
Well, I did it, and it was brilliant. I ran 6 miles without a break, then adopted the walk/run tactic which I’m going to have to employ on the day itself. This meant taking a 1-2 minute walking (and water) break, then running the rest of the mile, then taking another break. I was flying up to about 10 miles, then I had a minor attack of the wobbles (probably the mental barrier of ‘eeek, I’ve never run further than this’), then had massive elation at 13 when I realised I’d completed a half marathon. My body was telling me to stop at that point (I was having a minor attack of the wobbly legs) but I simply couldn’t face the thought of not hitting the magic 15. For those last two difficult miles I walked 1 minute, ran the rest of the half mile, walked 1 minute, completed the mile. And I did it … also spurred on (weirdly) by the promise to myself of a cup of tea at the cafe on the Common that I kept running past. I don’t even like tea.
I cannot tell you how incredible I felt afterwards. That was the moment when it clicked in my brain that the terrifying distance of 26.2 is actually within my grasp … I couldn’t have run another 11 miles at that point for love nor money, but it felt like an achievable aim rather than an insane delusion. I was fast, too, managing a very respectable 2 hours and 37 minutes, despite the walking. And, for the record, I did indeed have a lovely cup of tea (and a slice of carrot cake) at the cafe, in the sunshine, surrounded by lots of people who were undertaking the more sensible activity of loafing around with their kids on a Sunday afternoon 🙂
The fact that I limped like a woman three times my age until the middle of the following week is neither here nor there.
So, feeling invincible, I went out running later that week and, inexplicably, could only do 2 miles before my leg decided I was going no further. After every high comes a low, eh! The bad thing was that I was 2 miles from home, stupidly without cash or phone, and limping. The good thing was that the long and chilly hobble home saved me from collapsing into a snivelling heap (limping through Clapham in tears with snot bubbles coming out of your nose is not a good look). I simply had to pick myself up again, I told myself, as I re-applied ice packs to my bothersome groin (please forgive the mental picture that may conjure up).
And pick myself up I did. Back to the gym, back to the cardio, back to the relentless tedium of the cross trainer. Last weekend I felt brave enough to run again and went out to face my demons on the Common. This time I clocked a delightful 6 miles in an incredible 1 hour and 25 seconds. Damn those 25 seconds! Team Doman was back in business, and not a moment too soon.
I’ve not run since (discretion being the better part of valour and all that). Instead I’ve been eating enough pasta to sustain a small region of Italy, drinking Ribena like it’s going out of style, and getting increasingly excited about the Big Day. I’ve also, very satisfyingly, raised over £2500 now which is a huge incentive in itself.
Best of luck to anyone reading this who’s also running … I hope you have a great race. I’m off to register this afternoon, and then there will be no stopping runner 34661. If you’re watching on Sunday and see a woman with a very red face and a bright green Barnardo’s vest with ‘JOE’ on the front, that will be me. Give me a wave and a cheer. I’ll need it!