When I signed up for the London Marathon I had many people stating how amazing it was, how I will love it, how I would feel so amazing upon finishing.
Of all the people I spoke to I don’t remember one person mentioning the will power I would need to get through to the day itself. I did not expect it to be easy, I knew the training would be hard. What I did not expect was the rollercoaster of emotions that comes along for the journey too.
As a woman it is safe to say I am built to deal with all kinds of emotions; but training for a marathon is something that is beyond me. The highs of a great training run, the lows of a bad one and the ugliness of those days were you go into a deep dark place.
I have had all three of these within a seven day period.
The Good Run – Hampton Court Half Marathon. The best I have ever felt running long distance. I was in a good place, I was in the zone and I was thriving. Buzzing with post run happiness I did not notice the injury that was creeping up until the day after.
The bad run came on Sunday. After attempting my 16 mile long run the previous day, I went back out and tried again. I lost my mind, my energy and my will power at mile ten and could not get it back. Admitting defeat after nearly a week with no training I ended the run at 12 miles, only to almost pass out at my local Sainsburys after I just didn’t get the fuelling right. Thankfully I was surrounded by people and not running along the river when it happened.
The ugly run was the day before. Saturday I went out attempting to get back into it. But nothing happened. I started my run and stopped, then decided to cut the run down and stopped again. I ended up crying through the park wondering how the hell I have become such an emotional wreck. It is just running after all.
But that’s just it. Its not just running. It is months and months of building up your training and endurance only to find yourself set back due to injury. It is the emotions you feel when you are trying to push yourself that extra two miles each week to reach the long runs. It is the loneliness you feel whilst training – thinking you are the only one to think this way, only to find out you are not alone. And the relief you feel when you realise it is not just you.
It is supposed to feel like this. It is supposed to feel hard. But are you supposed to cry at the thought of having to go running in the rain and at the same time to cry when you can’t go out running in the rain. Does anyone else cry at the thought of other runners who make it look easy? Or when you see another runner logging 20-30 miles in the week when you have barely reached half of that.
With a little less than eight weeks to go, the whole marathon training plan seems to be going up in smoke. Everything is getting so real, the mileage is getting higher and harder and the whole thing just got a hell of a lot more serious.
Whilst I am pleased with my progress, I am also giving myself a hard time during the lows. Each one brings a fresh wave of self doubt that gets harder to pull myself out of.
Although I don’t want to wish time away, I am looking forward to race day itself. When there will just be me, in a crowd of 38,000 runners, with just 26.2 miles stopping me from getting that medal. And the marathon journey to be complete.