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Hitting the wall

03 April 2014

"I’ve come so far since January and my little five minute run so I’m feeling as positive as I can be…”

Now I’ve heard of people hitting the wall during a marathon, well I’m hitting the wall of going to the gym ie I’m at the stage that if I ever have to go there again I might hit something, maybe a wall? I’m such a regular there right now that I seem to have acquired the nickname of “Marathon Girl” from another regular; every time he sees me he seems to pick the very point at which I’m struggling the most to come over and speak to me. Now, I am a very antisocial gym goer at the best of times, so when I’m trying to achieve what feels like the impossible, it’s not the time to come and speak to me, so while I’m talking of hitting things…he’d better watch out!

So what have I been up to? The gym, obviously – I’m surprised people haven’t started asking me where the toilets are, which classes are running when, and can they have a decaff skinny latte etc etc. I also popped to Los Angeles on a random last minute work trip with my husband and children, leading to jet lag hell and a completely trashed gym routine for a week and a half, but it was worth it to go for a run along the beach there. Well I needed a practice seafront run before the big day in Brighton, so the obvious choice was LA. I ran for eight miles, four in one direction listening to the Beach Boys seminal classic “Everybody was surfing, surfing USA” loving life, imagining I looked like a sun-drenched goddess running along, only for the sun to suddenly become unbearably hot the second I turned round to run back the same four miles! Suddenly I hated the beach, the Beach Boys, the sun, my body, which was dripping with sweat, and just generally all the other runners who suddenly looked like impossibly beautiful sun-drenched goddesses to me with their perfect LA hair.

But hooray I’m now up to an hour and a half of running (with interval training included), fifty minutes of cross training and thirty minutes of rowing, so it’s a lot of exercise and I am cream-crackered and at the point of just wanting to do this marathon now so that I can start enjoying going to the gym again, rather than feeling the pressure of having to do a ginormous work-out every time, but the end is in sight. Just over a week to go, three more small training sessions to grit my teeth through and then the real life event we’ve all been waiting for will be here. Who knows what’s going to happen on the day, my leg still aches, I’ve barely run outside and distance wise I’ve only managed to hit the eleven mile mark. But I’ve come so far since January and my little five minute run so I’m feeling as positive as I can be for the big day. My three year old gave me a much needed boost at the weekend: “You’re the best runner in the whole world” – she’s never seen me run of course but I’ll take the compliment! I think she’s probably got ‘best’ mixed up with ‘slowest, yet very determined but ultimately a bit broken’ runner in the world.

I keep thinking and dreaming about the marathon and crossing the finish line. I keep imagining how I’m going to feel at the start line, will I be nervous, excited, will I be able to sleep the night before? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that there will be several things that will keep me going on the day:

  1. an amazing selection of upbeat music (which reminds me, must get rid of those Christmas tunes which keep popping up annoyingly as running to “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” just doesn’t have the right vibe to spur me on)
  2. my husband and children who will be there on the day and I’ll be imagining their faces waiting for me at the end, but most importantly of all will be...
  3. ...my mum, who has spent the last 15 years of her life caring for my nan. I will remember that every day she has had to do so many things she didn’t want to do, didn’t have the time to do, didn’t have the energy to do but still did them anyway. I might not know exactly how I will feel throughout the Marathon but I do know that there will be times I won’t want to be running, I won’t have the energy and I’ll be cursing the day I ever came up with this grand scheme to make the Brighton Marathon my project, but I’ll also remember that there are over six and a half million brilliant, brave, hard working carers in the UK who need me to keep on running to raise the money I have promised them to ensure they get the help, advice and support they need from Carers UK. So please wish me luck, I’ve got a little hunch I’m going to need it!
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