On day 175 I ran a marathon for the first time. Tomorrow I’ll write a geekily detailed account, but for now I’ll say that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Cramp at mile 17 meant I finished nowhere near my hoped for time but I couldn’t give a hoot. London, you were outstanding. Undeterred by Boston, people came out in their hundreds and thousands and bathed runners in love. For now, shower, dinner, bed!
This time tomorrow if all goes to plan, I will have finished my first marathon.
This week has been by far and away the hardest week in my training. A colleague laughed in my face when I told him this ‘Not running and eating more is harder than getting up at ridiculous o’clock and knocking out a gazillion miles before work’. Yes, I’ll take the miles any day. Instead this week I’ve been left with my mind. I’ve been wide awake at 5am every day this week, thinking things through, wondering if I can do it. I had a good chat with Sarah of the Little Pink Kitchen and very much came to the conclusion that as well as boring everyone stupid with details of every twist and turn of the course, I’ve been over-thinking the race. What tomorrow comes down to is running. I’ll start running, I’ll keep running for 26 miles, and then I’ll stop. Take away the negative splits, the carbo-loading and energy gels. Tomorrow I’m going to go for a run. It’s the longest one I’ll have ever done, but I’ve never been fitter or more ready than this very moment.
Today, my new thing was to take myself to a café and just sit and think. No phones, no books, just me and my head. Thinking about my journey to get to this point. Three things have really helped me along the way
1) The Couch to 5K podcast. Who would have known that stumbling across a random podcast would have such a dramatic impact upon my life. Non-patronising and massively motivational, I struggled in the first week to jog 60 seconds. Within nine weeks I was running five kilometres. I remember the first time I had to run 20 minutes non stop – it was such a huge deal I wondered if I could do it. Now that seems like a warm up. I just can’t put into words how good this podcast is. If you have any secret ambitions to run, I would strongly encourage you to give it a go.
2) Ben Does Life.
Ben writes an amazing blog about how he’s transformed from a morbidly obese, depressed young man to a multiple marathoner and double Iron Man completer. He made a video which went viral on YouTube and has to be one of the most inspirational things you could ever hope to see. He went on to start the Do Life Movement which has got thousands of people engaged in sport. I sat down a while ago and read his blog from the very start. The way that he stuck his head down and just kept going has been incredible. I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with Ben and his family when they came to London last Spring and took part in one of his ‘Do Life 5Ks’ the next day. Very cool guy
Again, I stumbled upon this podcast on iTunes and fell in love with it. It’s hosted by husband and wife, Angie & Trevor – two normals who find a way to make an hour talking about running the most absorbing thing you could ever hear. Hearing their listeners talk about things like half marathons made me curious to see if I could maybe do one. A few weeks later on a wet and stormy September night, my cursor hovered over ‘Apply’ to the Brighton Half Marathon for a good half hour. Turns out to be probably the best decision I ever made!
So, now I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. I’ve got Rocky and Chariots of Fire lined up to watch tonight. I’ve said this before – I couldn’t be more excited if I tried – wish me luck!
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I made my way to the Sunday night pub quiz this evening. I’ve been travelling to my friends who live near there the exact same way for the past four years. Today I experimented with a new route which turned out to be much better. Today may not have been the most exciting of The Challenge, but this is exactly why it’s such a good thing to do. It’s amazing how quickly we can fall into ruts and routines which may not always be the best thing for us, yet because it’s familiar we do it again and again for days, weeks, years, a lifetime. So, I’ve a challenge for you dear readers. Tomorrow when you’re making the morning Monday slog into work, do one thing to shake it up a bit. Go a slightly different way. Take a different mode of transport. Buy a different drink on your commute. Do something new
I love doing cheesy things involving music. When I visited New York I had a wonderful time listening to Strawberry Fields Forever in Strawberry Fields in Central Park and walking round The Village with my iPod listening to Bob Dylan songs in the places like Cafe Wha? were he wrote and performed some of his phenomenal early work. Now, I can’t compare Duffy to Dylan or the Beatles, but I thought Warwick Avenue was a pretty sweet little song and I always intended to listen to the song actually when I was at Warwick Avenue. My work found me in the vicinity today, so I thought it was as good a time as any. Turns out Warwick Avenue is stunning – it’s taken over from Belsize Park as the place I aspire to live in London. I also got to wander down the beautiful Little Venice just as the sun was setting. Perfect way to round off a Friday afternoon 🙂
the actual entrance of the Tube
Today I went to an event about values – unfortunately experience number 88 wasn’t great – more of a plug to sell some books and meaningless waffle bearing no relation to actual reality. This is why I’m not a management consultant!
On a more positive note, I’m making a real effort to travel less on the tube and more above ground. As I took my new bus route today, I had a renewed appreciation with how beautiful London is lit at night.