So, the enormity of my double marathon challenge is starting to hit home. As I was struggling for energy in the latter stages of the 261 Women’s Marathon in Mallorca I was searching for positive thoughts to banish all the negative ones that kept popping into my head. At one point I was thinking, “Keep going, you never have to do this again”, that seemed to help until it dawned on me that I would in fact be repeating the ordeal in 7 weeks time.
Instead I ended up thinking about all the people that inspire me to run. My pre-prepared list of positivity really helped. Chrissie Wellington’s words, “Your limits are not where you think they are” spurred me on to dig deep. I knew sporting heroines like Paula Radcliffe and Jessica Ennis wouldn’t slow down just because their legs ached a bit. I’d sat in my hotel room that morning and written a whole page on why I could succeed and get my personal best time. How I’d trained hard on very hilly routes and how this route was flat. How I was well rested, nourished and well. It focussed my mind and when the running gremlins jumped out in front of me I was ready to stamp on them.
So as you know it worked and I smashed my PB but it really took it out of me. When I returned to the UK I was delayed on the M6, home at midnight and sitting seeing my first patient at 8.30 am the next morning after getting 3 children to school and dropping the dog off at my mum’s en route. The busy week continued and I didn’t really stop. I hadn’t planned to run and just took some gentle walks. My left thigh started hurting after a few days; funny time to start twinging. After a week I felt fine and lead my running group on a 5k with Fartlek intervals, watched the eclipse (it was too cloudy to need the colanders) and coped well.
I wasn’t sure what to do after that really. I’ve been used to following a marathon training plan for so many weeks and I’ve felt a bit adrift. I’ve felt really tired out and permanently hungry so I’ve just been trying to listen to my body. I’ve had heaps of writing work to do and sitting at my desk has been restful but a bit uncomfortable and I’ve had to keep standing up and stretching. I’m seriously considering a standing desk, yes, they do exist! I decided to do lots of short trail runs. My dog loves this plan! It’s been a pleasure to see all the lambs on Spring mornings.
The ground has been soft underfoot which I think is a real bonus for my post marathon joints. I’ve run every day for the last week, just 2 or 3 miles a day but it’s felt good and not worn me out too much.
I’ve made enough cakes to sink a ship in the last couple of weeks as I’ve been fundraising for A Mile In Her Shoes. This is the fantastic charity that I’m supporting with my marathon challenges. They help women affected by issues of homelessness to find their feet through running. I’ve done a night run, a Jumble Sale, 2 cake stalls and a raffle. Lots of lovely pennies will be heading to the team to help them with their work. If you’d like to sponsor me that would be amazing.
This weekend I’m off to Anglesey with the UK Runchat crowd. This is an on-line forum which I’ve followed since it’s very early days. The support, knowledge and inspiration that moves around this group every day on-line is incredible. I’ve met some of them when they were doing their round the UK ultra running challenge and they’re just a lovely group of people. This is their first running training camp weekend and I’m excited to be going and flattered to be asked to do a medical Question and Answer session. I’m looking forward to the yoga sessions, barefoot running on the beach and being able to talk about running for a very long time with people who won’t roll their eyes and switch off! I’ll also get in a longer run which it’s about time I did.
On my return my thoughts will then switch to the epic Virgin Money London Marathon. The magazine with all the instructions arrived yesterday and my running buddy and I have just booked our transport to the start line. It’s getting close. I can’t wait to hear the crowds and the music and enjoy the celebrations. I’m not aiming for a PB, I want to help my friend Nicky get one for herself, I’ve had my moment of glory this year. I know it still won’t be easy, it’s a very long way to run! When I get to the point that I feel I can’t run any more I shall remember this blog post and all the reasons I told you about why I can do it and how the running gremlins won’t beat me. These marathons, they’re tough but I love them!
Featured image from Gratisography