I have spent the last half hour in the bath eating several packets of Monster Munch, because I have just run TWENTY MILES! Twenty actual miles. This was my final long run before the Yorkshire Marathon, which I (really) hope I will have completed by this time in three weeks.
And it was really, really hard. This might be wildly naïve (I’ll let you know in three weeks time when I have an extra six-point-two to go), but I wonder if this run is the toughest of the whole process. Twenty miles is an awful long way completely on your own, with no support, no crowds, carrying all your own supplies. It took all my mental super-powers to keep pushing on, particularly when I miscalculated my route and ended up at home with two miles still left to run! As an aside, if you’ve got a long run to plan try to avoid this: running back and forth past your house (and your bath tub/monster munch) when you’ve already done eighteen miles is literally tear-inducing.
I try not to talk too much about times or paces on here as I don’t think it should matter how fast or slow I am, but I do think it is relevant when you’re talking about marathon training. I was out for over three and a half hours today, and I’m expecting the marathon to take me around five. And whilst I can’t possibly imaging running a marathon in two and a half hours, I suspect many of those runners cannot imagine running at their full effort for five, six, or even seven plus hours! It takes a serious toll on your body running for these kinds of times, let alone the incredible mental effort. Its pretty tough working out your hydration and nutrition for that long, balancing not running out of steam against trying to avoid emergency toilet breaks- because then you’ll take even longer! So this is a big shout-out to all the slower runners out there – you are simply amazing. Mo Farah is also incredible, but he doesn’t do it for seven hours does he (yes, in my book you are basically more impressive than Mo).
So, I plan to spend the rest of my day sofa-bound with all snacks in easy reach. The next few weeks I’ll be carefully tapering, once I’ve looked up how to do that properly and probably panicking about phantom pains and illnesses! I started this marathon quest in December 2017 and since then I have run over six hundred miles, did not make the start line of the London Marathon, entered two more instead, and have raised 10p short of £3,000 for the Guide Dog’s Association. I’ve done a lot of solo miles, but I’ve also done track sessions, fell races, trail runs, organised a special NHS themed parkrun and led a group run for other vets. I’ve had my story featured by This Girl Can, written about miscarriage and running for Runners World, spoken about cartwheels on BBC radio Scotland, and made the paper a couple of times. But mostly I’ve made some amazing new friends and discovered that I can do things I never imagined I could. And for the first time I feel like I’m actually going to finish this thing! 26.2 miles? Bring it on.