Monday, 12 November 2012

Marathon Motivation

Despite always saying that I didn't want to “go long” – I signed up for my first marathon. It was a combination of wanting a winter goal and a good excuse to get lots of miles loaded up into the legs for next year. I was even very, very sensible about my approach; I took a few weeks off running completely to rest and refresh the muscles (and the mind), then intricately formulated a 16 week training plan leading me up to race day, with rest weeks and everything!

As week 1 approached, a knee injury was plaguing me and as experience has taught me, I knew not to try to run through it. Huge amounts of massage, stretching and exercises ensued as I tried to fast track my legs back to ones that could run. Unfortunately there was not a lot of fast track about it and before I knew it, almost a month had passed.

Once the super duper 16 week plan had gone to pot, I started to assess if a marathon was really do-able on 12 weeks training. I wasn't very convinced, and was more than aware of the injury risk. However, google reckoned it was a goer so I was sold. A 12 week plan was written and I started to get back into it, very slowly and very gently.

For the first couple of weeks I wondered if I would actually ever be able to run fast ever again. Getting back into running after a break is such an effort! I did start losing the will to live a little bit after one particularly slow morning run and did wonder if this challenge was going to be a step too far.

Then, I went to support my sister at the Great South Run. I'm sure she won't mind me saying that it was quite a formidable challenge for her. She had suffered years of serious back problems and was finally on the mend when she decided that she would take on the GSR. A whole year of training went into the race, a year of building herself up, a year of overcoming setbacks and always coming back stronger, even if it she didn't feel like she would at the time. Her progress over the year was incredible and when it came to race day she absolutely smashed it. Emotions were running high afterwards and I was filled with a dizzying array of pride, respect, glee and amazement at the transformation she had made and the determination that had gotten her to the finish line.

The excitement of the day and seeing her doing so well and being so happy provoked something in me. I got home that evening, stuck my plan on the wall next to my bed and laid out my running kit ready for the morning. The whole experience changed my focus; it wasn't just about "miles in the legs" any more. So I'm going to stop pretending that I am not really that bothered and that it'll be something I "just get through". This is about taking on something that pushes me to my limit, and caring about it enough to train hard (but sensibly) and stay focussed with less than six weeks to go!

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