I have just over a week to go until I run London Marathon.
No. No matter how many times I say it, it still doesn’t feel real.
No. Still doesn’t. Probably could be here all day doing this. So I’ll stop.
Okay, that is enough now.
If you would have told 17 year old me, freshly vegetarian, chubby me, too busy discovering the joys of alcohol and other substances. That I was going to be running the London Marathon one day, I’d have scoffed in your face. That’s if I’d have listened, I was too busy being kicked out of my ICT final exam for being stoned. ‘that’ll make your mother proud’ – I didn’t want to do that stupid exam anyway.
17 year old me, was a lot difference to the ripe old age of 29 year old me. I mean I still have no clue what I am doing… *flash back to just over a month ago, my 29th Birthday, head in my hands declaring. ‘I AM A STRONG WOMAN!.. I CAN SMASH LIFE… But what the fuck am I doing with my life. Nothing. NOTHING! I have nothing to show. NOTHING!’*… Oh hi breakdown, didn’t see you coming. I can laugh about it now, kind of.
One of my very dear friends reminded me the day after my breakdown. ‘You do so much, you don’t even realise, you never stop, and then you’re always on to the next thing. Do you think it might be the case of, you have stuff to show, but you don’t actually take the time out to reflect, look back, realise all you have achieved. She was right. I would say Martha is one of my friends that is always right.
So the following two weeks, I decided to take some time out that lasted half a day… A morning, in fact. I’m shit at taking time out. However one of my best friends was visited from Berlin, so I had to, I compromised, everything I normally did, I halved. Then the following week, after he’d gone, I continued. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t much like it. I felt a bit of a spare part. So again I compromised. I decided to give myself a couple of evenings off a week, ‘Hana time’ which yes, I find incredible boring, no matter how much Jessica Jones & Doctor Who I use to fill the time. I find my own company rather boring.
Which lead me to think… When I run, I’m by myself, for hours sometimes! Why am I okay with this? Is it because I am doing something? Then I remembered I don’t actually enjoy running, I kind of just run to get exercise and because I’m kind of good at it.
For some reason, even though I don’t like running, I’m not the greatest runner and this training has taken over my life. I am really looking forward to running the London Marathon, and I still can’t believe I’m doing it. For me, it’s once in a life time, something amazing and so special. It’s not about performance, or time, it’s just doing it.
Anyway, I’ve totally gone off topic. London Marathon… And I have just declared I don’t enjoy running. So let’s get back on track with an update.
So I didn’t get a ballot entry, I went through a charity, Shelter. A charity that is close to my heart. I started fund raising as soon as I found out I’d got a place. With the help of family, friends, and co-workers, I’m currently at £1,900, just £100 off my target. From Christmas parties, pancake nights in, afternoon tea and a 24 hour treadmill run which almost killed Eva & I. Fund raising has been just as challenging as the training itself. But equally as rewarding, the support I have had from friends & family has been wonderful. The money they have donated and helped me raise has not gone unnoticed and with the day itself coming closer I couldn’t have achieved this amount without them.
So training has not gone as smoothly as my previous marathon training. One of the reasons is not my fault. Snow. Bloody snow, I mean, I can just about cope with the cold. But snow, I can barely walk without tripping over, expect me not to slip in snow. You must be joking!! So one of my 20 milers, the first of my longest runs was done in doors, on a treadmill. It wasn’t great; I hurt in all different places from normal. But I did it. Running in the winter months is not ideal.
Secondly, regular readers will know my issues with anxiety and ADHD. And well, for the last month it has been at an all-time state. In fact it all started with my Birthday breakdown, ha. I used to find that running was great for my ADHD, it was a way to clear my mind and use up energy, however sometimes long runs, and that amount of time in your head isn’t always good for a fragile mental state. So I would find myself, 5 miles into a 20 mile run and instead of being physically drained, I was mentally exhausted, and often it’s harder to overcome mental exhaustion.
However I managed to complete all of my long runs, some of them took a second attempt. But it was always beneficial to do it in the right mind-set.
Perkier, Koko Dairy Free, Rolla Granola and So Free all have sponsored. All wonderful brilliant companies (yes I may be bias about Koko) and have all aided me in my marathon training food, snacks and treats. I am so grateful!
What am I even waffling on about? Fuck knows. Honestly I have no clue. This is why I blog, over sharing. I’m a big fan.
So in less than 9 days I’ll be running London Marathon, hopefully at this time, in 9 days’ time I’ll be finished and my best friend Babs will be waiting at the finishing line for me with cookies. I love cookies.
For some people a marathon is a piece of cake. But for me, it’s a huge challenge, not just the day, but from the moment I said yes to running for Shelter. It’s not been smooth, it’s not been easy. However I am prepared, and even though running with anxiety can sometimes be the most challenging part, I have learnt some great coping strategies.
Listening or not listening to whatever you want. You may think a playlist that you listen to every week is great, but sometimes you need to switch it around to a podcast or just your natural surroundings.
Running wherever you feel like, just because you made a route doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. I often make a planned run, then half way through I’ll go ‘No! I don’t want to go down there!’ and turn the other way (very matrix, blue or red pill!). When I have forced myself to go the way I planned I have hated the route, going where I want it much more… Freeing… Not a word I know…
Listen to your body, if you hurt, stop or slow down, or do something about it. If you’re cold, run home, put a jumper on and carry on. You’re not pissing anyone off other than yourself. Make the experience as pleasurable as possible.
Listen to your brain. If you don’t think you can handle it today, and you can fit that run in tomorrow do it tomorrow, and maybe go for a walk, cycle, do a gym class today. As long as you get the run in, you’re doing well!
Get excited about your long run at the weekend. I often found when I was like ‘Oh I have to run 20 miles tomorrow, I cba’ all week, I would hate the run. Whereas if I was like ‘I got 20 miles this weekend, I am going to smash it!’ I would end up doing a much better job. Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes.
Smile as people you run past, especially if you’re in a Vegan Runners vest.
All of these are my little coping strategies, and when I stick to these. Everything works out perfectly.
Overall, I wanted to say thank you before the big day, to everyone that has got involved in this story. For donating, helping me raise money, running with me, or just some supportive words. Thank you so much. I’ll make sure to let you know how it all goes.
Finally if you would like to help me reach my last little bit… Here is the link to my Just Giving page