When I signed up to run the London Marathon, I didn’t know exactly what I was committing myself to. In fact, there are many things that I still don’t know what to expect. This is my first time attempting to run anywhere near this kind of distance.
Surely this is true for many things we face in life – we make the best decision we can based on what we know at the time. I wanted to see if I could run a marathon and figured that I’d work the rest out along the way. There are generally lots of people willing to help and share their knowledge and experiences.
I did know that I’d need to train, and my regime began back in August when I got confirmation of my place. There was that moment when I got the email confirming my place, when I suddenly thought “oh, ****” and I realised the work I’d have to put in.
I gradually built up the distance each week. Or that was the plan. It was going quite well when I started to have problems with my left achilles tendon. It was probably brought on by playing hockey but bizarrely the tipping point seemed to be a new pair of shoes!
So I had to do more stretching and reduce the distance and frequency of running to allow myself the chance to recover. Again, just part of life – adapt your plans to the circumstances; do what you need to do to give yourself a chance.
It then seemed especially cruel when my running shoes were stolen while we were in Namibia. Deb and I lost everything we had with us when our bags were taken from our hire car on the way to the airport. We were left with just the clothes we were wearing + a wallet and a phone each. Getting new passports became the priority so that we could get home, but new running shoes were high on the list once we were back. Its funny how your priorities change!
So I’m a little behind where I’d hoped to be – but hey, it is what it is. My longest run is now 17 miles and I’m hoping to increase that slightly – maybe one run close to 20 miles. Then I’m told to take it easier (or taper, as I’m now learning). And we’ll see on the day. I’m told the crowds get you through the last few miles.
I have enjoyed the training more than I’d expected. I have never run for the fun of it, only ever to get fit for something more interesting and I did wonder how I’d manage on the longer runs. As I’ve found before, committing to raise money for the Foundation certainly helps. I have a wall in my office with photos of many of the children we’ve sponsored, and it reminds me of the progress that many of them have made and the opportunities that an education gives them.
I’ve often been asked if I have target time in mind – and initially I didn’t. My aim was (and still is) to complete the course. If I can complete the 26.2 miles having run all or the vast majority of it, then I’ll be happy. Or rather, I’ll be shattered. Happy might come later.
My guess is that I’ll run somewhere between 4 and 5 hours. If you happen to be in London and see number 54177, give me a cheer.
Thank you everyone who has offered advice, those who’ve wished me luck, to all who have donated, and even everyone who thinks I’m mad – you’re probably right.
The London Marathon takes place on Sunday 22 April. If you’d like to donate towards The Red Rubber Ball Foundation and provide an education to kids in Kenya, then click on my Virgin Money page here.