Marathon number six is only five weeks away for me now and it will be swiftly followed by number seven, five weeks after that. What I’ve learnt from my past marathons and current training is that me running a marathon is NOT just about me. Yes, I’m the one who has to put one foot in front of the other but this wouldn’t be possible without an enormous number of other people. It really is a team event. Here are some of the members of my team and how they’re helping me. I really wanted to give them a shout out and thank them because without them I wouldn’t be able to do this.
My husband. When you work and have three kids and a dog and then you try to add in marathon training, it all gets a bit busy! I have an amazing husband who totally understands why I run and why this is so important to me. He doesn’t see my running time as selfish, rather as necessary for my health and wellbeing and he goes out of his way to free up time for me to get out there. When the long runs get really long there’s often a big roast dinner waiting for me when I get back and a complete understanding of why I hit a wall around 7pm and am incapable of holding a conversation or helping get the kids into bed!
My kids. When they were smaller, logistically, my three children were more of a hindrance than a help when it came to actual training! Now however, it’s a completely different story. Not only do I use the thought of their smiling faces at the finish line to get me through the miles, but they’re actually training me. My two sons are turning into strong runners; they’re speedy and determined and keeping up with them is really making me up my game. My middle son has taken on the role of coach. I won’t let him run the long runs (he’s only 11) but the sprint sessions are perfect. He’s really good at pacing me when we do 200, 400 and 800m repeats. We have a chat on the recoveries and then he’s pushing me again. He loves it and I honestly don’t think he knows how much it’s helping me.
My friends. Where would I be without my friends? Two in particular; Nicky and Tamsin. Tamsin is my long run partner. wind, rain, early, late, she’ll be there. She knows the roads round here like the back of her hand, so, as well as coming with me and chatting to me, she’s been planning the routes too. Secretly I think she’s trying to break me as the 17 miles we did the other day were ridiculously hilly. Mind you, she did cook me lunch afterwards and pick my daughter up from school! My pal Nicky is a partner in crime. We ran our first three marathons together. However ridiculous my suggestion, she’s always up for it. I think if I said, “Let’s run to the moon next year” she’d be back to me the next day with costings of the tickets, accommodation and moon boots with the best discount. She’s awesome, makes me laugh and is my favourite person to have a post-race celebration with.
My Mum. To be honest I know my mum has absolutely no idea at all why I run. She can’t understand it. Why on earth would I put myself through it, especially when it isn’t a balmy 22 degrees outside? However, despite that, she’s learnt that it’s part of me and it makes me happy. She doesn’t moan when I ask her to look after the kids while I nip off to a race. I think she probably thinks if I spent as much time doing the ironing as I do pounding the streets, then she wouldn’t have to give up hours of her life wading her way through the family’s shirts. In a family of five, I’m the only one who doesn’t wear a shirt everyday; obviously, I just wear Lycra most of the time! Anyway, she doesn’t bat an eyelid at the creaking washing basket, I keep her well stocked with coat hangers and white wine and am endlessly grateful.
My running club. 261 Club Wray are the most amazing ladies. They motivate and inspire me every Friday when we meet for our session and most days in-between when they’re posting their runs on social media. To them it may seem odd that their leader doubts herself sometimes. I’ve run five marathons after all, why would I think I couldn’t do the next one? I know that there are many dark spells during that 26.2 miles and to be honest, they scare me, every single time. The glory and exhilaration at the end are always worth it but marathons are tough, strip you back and push you to your limits. That’s unnerving, makes you feel vulnerable and the whole situation is potentially unpredictable; so much can go wrong. Having the unwavering belief that I can do it and will do it, from all these women means so much. Knowing that by succeeding I will be helping them have belief in their own capabilities drives me on.
261 Fearless. This next marathon is going to be a little different as I really will be running in a team in Boston. I’ll be lining up at the start alongside Kathrine Switzer (who made my marathon possible) and 124 other fearless team members from all over the world. We’ve been communicating on a private forum right from the moment we were selected for the team. Knowing that others are sharing this journey has made a massive difference. I feel part of something huge, important and powerful. Talking to, learning from and being inspired by the other members of the team has been humbling. They’re all running for their own reasons but we have a common goal, to run Boston and spread the news about this new amazing global movement 261 Fearless.
My social media friends. Yes, you! Those who read my blogs, favourite my tweets, share my Facebook posts, like my sweaty Insta pics and send me awesome messages of encouragement and support. It makes such a difference. Your stories and posts make me want to run more and faster and achieve greater things than I ever thought I could. I love that you’re on my side. You’re all part of my team and I want to thank you.
Boston 2017 is going to be such a special event, I really want to be well prepared for it. I want to be able to enjoy it and feel strong. I’m training hard. I’m aiming for a Personal Best, I’m not sure if I can do it on a hilly course but I’m told the crowds in Boston are sensational and will help me along. To get a PB would be the icing on what I know is going to be a triple layer, cream filled, totally decadent cake! With a team like this behind me, anything is possible!
I’m so lucky to have all these wonderful people with me. Who are the members in your team?
Photo credits. Featured image: Gratisography. 261 Fearless image: Horst von Bohlen