The Marathon Diaries #3: 8 weeks to go...February 27, 2017
Two months to go. Two.
Half the training plan done, half the training plan left.
It’s March on Wednesday and I’ll be saying the marathon will be ‘next month’.
Honestly, I don’t even think I was this nervous throughout my job interviews, degree exams, A-levels and GCSEs put together. I’m in a permanent state of anxiety, which is rather ironic considering I’m running for Heads Together and only started running in the first place to calm that damn anxiety.
Despite how ruddy chuffed I look in the above photo, I’m permanently exhausted, bored of talking about how my training is going, bored of that being the ONLY THING I ever talk about regardless, and gagging for a holiday.
But, aside from the constant moaning, some nice this have happened in the last fortnight and I have discovered more… I’m trying to be positive… really…
I finally have my Heads Together vest!
It took a good few weeks of back and forth with emails and trying different sizes, but I finally have it! I have the vest I’ll be running the marathon in! Yesterday’s long run was the first time I wore it out (and the first shoulder display of 2017 - you're welcome) and I found it super comfortable. It’ll feel more real and special once I’ve got my name ironed on, but for now I’m just happy to be training in it.
The salt sheen of 2017
I’m a serial sweater, I knew this already. It doesn’t matter if I don’t necessarily feel like I’m working, I will go bright red and start sweating within minutes of a run, long or short, fast or slow. But I never realised that I would produce enough salt on my skin during this training to season the UK’s dinners for a year. I’m shiny and crystallised like a shit vampire. Seriously, God forbid I rub my eyes before I’ve showered. THE STINGING. JFC.
Long run nutrition
I can’t help the salty sweat, and I’m doing all I can to soothe long run-induced blisters (I have blisters in-between my toes, under my toes, on my toes, deep within my toes…), but I am starting to pretty much nail my nutrition while running. I felt clueless when I read up on gels to use during long runs, the benefits of Lucozade, and the necessity of carrying jelly babies, but thankfully I had a fairy godmother in the form of a long-time marathon runner friend who sent me a little care package of running essentials, including Bloks. They’re berry flavoured cubes of energy that taste and feel a bit like wine gums, and I take a cube every hour to give me a boost. They fit nicely into my zipped pocket in my leggings. I never liked the sound of gels, and with IBS there was a strong chance they would give me the shits, so these Bloks are a much better shout. Now I just need to buy a good water bottle to carry to practise hydration…
Care package essentials: Bloks, chafing lube, and proper running socks to soothe the blisters...
I run on roads now!
After being worried about getting bored, I knew I needed to switch up my running routes. I hate running around roads on principle, and hate even more not planning my routes, but this marathon is bringing out new sides of me… so I’ve started running around roads and having adventures with it. Yesterday’s 10 mile long run saw us running from Greenwich to Tower Bridge and back (early morning to beat the tourists). Yes, there aren’t many roads to contend with along The Thames, but there are when you get lost… which we did… but slowing down to check Google maps meant I got myself back on track pretty easily with no panicking. I actually felt emotional when I reached Tower Bridge, probably because that's the halfway point on marathon day. I’m just practising my crying as well as everything else, I guess.
I’ve become cocky during the week…
This is something I didn’t predict. Often I have really good short runs during the week, but I have started to get a bit too big for my boots (trainers) too. I start off too fast. I can’t help it. I think, “FORTY MINUTES? PISS EASY, LOOK AT ME GO,” and speed off. Not only will that naturally mean my breathing goes out of whack pretty quickly, I’ll tire myself out within 10 minutes, and my pacing won’t be even, but I’m more likely to injure myself too. For me, running at speed after a weekend long run is a REALLY SILLY IDEA because I’m QUITE SORE. I’m not great with discipline and if Shout Out To My Ex starts my playlist, I’m fucked.
My post-long run mood is… interesting
Ah, this is a good one. After a long run I either want to murder everything and cry in a puddle on the ground, or I want to chat chat chat and make plans and spread rainbows and glitter and cake and be generally a super happy bunny. There is no in-between. My endorphins are a mess. But it’s a fun game, especially for my boyfriend.
WHY CAN’T I JUST LIKE PEANUT BUTTER AND EGGS, DAMN IT
I’ve tried. Lord, I have tried. I’ve tried egg in every form and a million types of peanut butter, but I just can’t hack either. Everyday nutrition is something I’ve really struggled with during this training and, in my opinion, put way too much pressure on. I just get so mad and panic when I read up on good foods for runners, buy and try them, and hate them. The red alerts and warning signals blare in my head that I’m destined for failure. Basically I need to fucking chill.
We were photographed for My Weekly magazine!
A photographer met Ryan and me before last week’s long run in Bromley to snap a few photos for a feature in My Weekly magazine about running, mental heath, and us. Looking forward to my nan turning the page in her copy and being faced with our faces. Hi Nan. Here's me looking gross and awkward, as per:
Credit: Ev Sekkides
I think that’s it. TL;DR: I’m exhausted, emotional, cocky, adventurous, and finally on brand. I’ll have run the Dartford Half Marathon before the next update, so look forward to that rundown. Lol. RUNdown…