I feel a little stunned. Something really amazing happened the other weekend and I’m still slowly digesting it. I know I was part of something very special and I’m hoping that blogging about it will help me to really define exactly what occurred.
I’m keen on self-reflection. I wrote a diary for years as a child and I dip in again from time to time now. I find it very therapeutic and I just LOVE reading it back. It helps me to be grateful for all I have and to set targets for the year ahead. It’s amazing how much you forget, even in the space of a year. I guess blogging and vlogging kind of replaces a diary in some ways but I’ll still be making my yearly entry looking back on the year I’ve had and making plans for 2016.
I recently posted a silly photo of me on Twitter wearing a surgical mask and bubble wrap as protection against germs and knocks during the week before my marathon. I won’t actually be sporting that outfit (!) but I will be taking some extra care of myself. You spend weeks religiously following a training programme, pushing yourself, making sacrifices and it’s a real shame if it all goes wrong at the final hurdle. I always say the hardest part of running a marathon is getting to the start line healthy, uninjured and ready to run. Here’s my advice for what to do in those last few days.
When I became a runner I found my eyes drawn to people’s feet to check out their trainers. A similar thing happened when I was shopping for my first pushchair. Suddenly they’re everywhere and you become acutely aware of the diversity; the colours, the models and the matching accessories. The choice can feel overwhelming.
I lined up for my first marathon in London in 2013, nervous but excited. I was well prepared and I was confident I could finish. I was very well aware however that my journey to the start line did not begin at week 1 on my training plan 16 weeks previously. No, it began in 1967 when a lady called Kathrine Switzer shivered on the start line in Boston in her baggy grey tracksuit.
There are so many blogs celebrating the benefits of running. Pages of declarations of love for the sport, claims of super powers and life-changing experiences. I could probably fill a book with what running means to me and how it has shaped my life. Rather than subject you to that I thought it would be more powerful to explain it in pictures. Pictures, do after all, speak louder than words. I always run with my phone and therefore I always have a camera. This is why I run: