The Marathon Diaries #6: 2 weeks to go...April 10, 2017
Beautiful calligraphy note from Ashley!
There is now a fortnight to go until the Virgin London Marathon 2017 and I keep violently switching between four different moods:
- !!!!!!! FUUUUUUUCK !!!!!!!
- I am a badass, this is going to be fucking awesome, I’m going to SMASH IT and cannot wait.
- I am terrible, why did I think I could do this, I have not trained enough, I am an embarrassment.
- What if I shit myself?
The fear of shitting myself is ever present. And so are my thoughts, which never shut up, so here we are with THIRTEEN days to go.
My last long run was a disaster
Let’s get this one out of the way. Last weekend was my last long run and my plan said 18 - 20 miles. I wanted to do 20. Imagine how cool that would be to say? “I ran 20 miles.” NO BIG DEAL. I was psyched. We were going to get up at 05:30, drive to Greenwich, and run from there to Vauxhall and back. Done by lunchtime. Bish bash bosh.
*look to camera*
Ryan’s alarm didn’t go off. We woke up at 06:30. FINE, we’d just be a bit later. Drove to Greenwich Park for 07:15. Couldn’t use the pay and display until 9am. OK, we’ll find another car park. That car park didn’t take card. COOL, we’ll get cash back from Sainsbury’s over the road. Couldn’t use the pay and display until 8am. WE’LL WAIT IN THE CAR THEN!!!
Needless to say, I was tetchy. My anxiety had skyrocketed. I like plans and order and had now convinced myself that this run was going to be a monumental shitfest. But I took some deep breaths, told myself it will not affect me, and started off.
And, long story short, everything was ok until 12 miles when I had to stop. I was exhausted and the shooting pains in both legs and hips told me that my body was officially battered. It had had enough. I was so upset and angry (and my phone battery died so “I CAN’T EVEN RECORD THIS ON STRAVA!!!”), and ended up mostly walking the next 7 miles until I gave up at 19. It took 04hrs30. I was not happy.
BUT, I’m allowed a bad long run. It was inevitable and I have come SO MUCH FURTHER and done SO MUCH BETTER during this training than I predicted, so fuck it. My body is magic and this tapering (ALL HAIL TAPERING) lark will sort me out. (Right? Right…)
Slowly realising my fate at 10 miles on Albert Embankment
Where the fuck has my pelvic floor gone?
I need a wee every five seconds lately. My bladder has no control. My insides clearly have no idea what’s happening anymore and have lost it. As soon as I start running my bladder decides I need a wee, DESPITE me trying to go before I left the flat. It’s like living with a toddler.
Also, during that He Who Shall Not Be Named 19 miler we had to sneak into the McDonald’s toilets by the London Eye for an emergency horrible poo. Runner’s tummy is real. Absolutely no dignity left at this point.
IT’S REALLY NOT HELPING MY EVERLASTING FEAR OF SHITTING MYSELF DURING THE MARATHON.
I am terrified of getting ill
Speaking of fears, this is right up there too. Now I’m tapering (ALL HAIL TAPERING) I’m worried my body will release all this training stress and make me ill. Experience tells me this will happen. There is illness lingering, I feel it in my waters. My sensitive, weak waters. If it could hold out until Monday 24th April, that would be swell.
Let’s talk about my legs
They are like concrete. Rock hard. I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing, so there will be a lot of stretching, rollering, and bathing during this taper (ALL HAIL TAPERING). But it is pretty impressive and I’m probably spending too much time at work telling my colleagues to “FEEL MY LEGS!!!”.
Also, they are well hairy. I honestly think training has increased my blood flow so much that it’s causing my hair to grow at an alarming rate. I’m constantly shaving. It’s mad. But it’s soft hair, not thick. Seriously, FEEL MY LEGS.
I’m a fan of the runner’s tan
Kind of. I’m sure there’s some science behind runners getting more tanned than others because of the sweat and salt (idk) but now the heat has arrived, hello, I am glowing. All this being outside shit while it’s sunny has, funnily enough, given me a tan but I look ridiculous. Look at my arm. LOOK AT IT. THE RUNNING CREASE. I LOOK SO SILLY.
The amount I am sweating now is astonishing - I thought as I got fitter I would sweat less but LOL NO - and I found a fly swimming in my cleavage after a run last week. Alive. Just chilling between my tits. Magical.
But, speaking of the heat, massive props to anyone who did the Brighton Marathon yesterday (cough Lizzie cough). That heat was unforgiving. PRAYING it’s cloudy for London. Give me that overcast nonsense, please God.
WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO RUN FAST AGAIN?!
My kind of fast, for clarity. I am not a fast runner. My body is, at the moment, not built for speed. Girl got hips, tits, and arse to carry. But, compared to my standard pace now, I was lightning. I was proud of my 10 minute miles. Now my body shuts that shit down within seconds. It’s amazing how your body adapts. Going back to parkrun when this is all over will be hard work.
I need to quit the pressure
I’m very good at picking holes at myself. Aren’t we all? I’m good at beating myself up and drumming my confidence into the ground, which isn’t helped by being a notorious overachiever. I want to be the best. I want to be better than the best. If I’m not, what’s the point? This marathon training has taught me a lot, and it really has helped me get better at rationalising this attitude, but the closer we get to race day, the more anxiety I have.
Have I trained enough? Did I pick the best plan? Am I eating the best things? Will all that brie fuck me over? Am I well hydrated? What about those cocktails I had last week, will they still be in my system? What if I can’t sleep well? What if the alarm doesn’t go off again? What if the train breaks down on the way? I might get ill, I should eat one kiwi every hour for them vitamins. I could fall over walking, shall I just stay inside until the day? That runner’s wearing shorts, should I be wearing shorts?! I’ve spent a lot of money during this training, what if I can never save enough to buy a house and have kids and I’ll end up on the streets and get rabies and DIE.
You know the drill.
But, without wanting to sound especially gross, look how fucking far I’ve come. Gee whizz and oh boy. In four months I’ve managed to train myself to run 17 miles full stop, and 19 with some walking. I’ve stuck to an intense training plan while being at work AND keeping to freelance deadlines, blogged once a week, helped Ryan raise over £2,000 for Against Breast Cancer, consciously eaten well, slept a decent amount, seen friends and family as much as I physically can, REMEMBERED BIRTHDAYS AND MOTHER’S DAY, and changed my bedsheets once a week. I’ve also lost a stone in weight but I don’t want to talk about that right now, that’s for another blog. I am a fucking machine and just getting to that start line on race day is one hell of an achievement.
This is the greatest, most challenging thing I have ever done and if I can do this, I can do anything.
BRING IT ON, LONDON, YOU BASTARD.