So we are into week 2 of the Born to Run psychology module and now 17 weeks away from the Liverpool Rock n Roll marathon. Along the way, and to promote my sense of achievement, I thought it a good idea to sign up for some interim events. So at the end of January when my overdraft was already straining under the weight of Christmas and various family birthdays I signed up for a bunch of races including the Wrexham Village Bakeries half Marathon on the 19th February. I figured that if I am going to have to do long runs at the weekend to train for the marathon I may as well enter events and get something for doing them (I am all about the bling!) I don’t why I signed up to this one – I have never done it before, nor do I know anyone who has. Perhaps there was some subconscious hope that, along side my highly sought after bling, there may be some cakes at the finish line…?
Although my full marathon plan is ticking along nicely I realised I had better get some serious mileage in a few weeks before the half so I adjusted my plan to include a 9 mile run last weekend. All good. And then the juggling began! It turned out that my husband was going to be away all weekend and would therefore not be able to have the kids whilst I indulged in some pavement pounding on Sunday. The length of the run (over an hour and a half plus stretching, recovering, showering and eating!) meant that I couldn’t really impose upon anyone to have them all for me. This unforeseen inconvenience to my plans would, in the past, have given me a perfect excuse not to bother. Not now – now I MUST run 9 miles! No problem, I know what I’ll do, I just swap the Friday 45 minute run with the Sunday long run and leave the kids with their Nana for less than an hour on Sunday. Perfect – I can even leave work a little early and get on with the run on Friday afternoon since I am not on school run that afternoon. Perfect, except it turns out I was supposed to do the school run (oops, sorry school for being a little late) and hubs was stuck in traffic and would be super late home.
Got home, fed the kids a snack, got them ready for rugby training, got myself ready for a run, took the kids to training and stood around freezing cold until gone 7pm. THEN I could go for my run. I had my 9 mile route planned, taking in a few extra paths to increase a previous 8 mile route. It was pitch black outside and I found myself running along a farm track with uneven ground and no streetlamps at all. My trusty Ronhill LED jacket light would have to do. So carefully I jogged along the uneven section until I returned to a nice sturdy pavement. As I ran around various towns/areas I must have gone past at least three pubs. Nice pubs. Warm pubs. Pubs serving Gin and Tonic to people relaxing after a working week. In that moment I acknowledged that Friday nights have changed – I am now a marathoner.
I never used to call myself as runner, and frankly I still struggle to marry up the image of long-limbed lean athletes with my sweaty, wobbly mess of a frame (shop windows do not yield kind reflections!) However, it is moments like these when my running has to come above anything else that I realise I have been bitten by the bug. There is no return. Either that or I have fully lost my mind. But I am not alone. There are tens of thousands of mad fools like me across the country and 22 of them have agreed to do this marathon with me. The joy of Strava means that none of us can hide and all of us know that when we get home from those runs the silent ping of ‘Kudos’ will make it all worthwhile. And just to prove it to myself I did 10 miles that night – and then had a Gin and Tonic whilst checking Strava!