In three weeks and five minute’s time I will be standing at the start of the Stirling marathon course (probably cacking myself and curled up in a ball of nervous excitement and dread).
How did race day creep up on me with so much stealth and cunning? Last time I looked it was 5 months away!!!
Last Sunday I completed my first run as a 40-year-old and it happened to be the longest long run on the training plan. However, I had been suffering with a grim flu-type-bug for over a week (which had led to my first ever DNS the weekend before at the Coniston 14 mile race), so I only covered 16 miles while struggling to breathe and producing inordinate amounts of snot (so glamorous). It was the furthest distance I have ‘run’ (there was a bit of walking involved too) and, although I was struggling and feeling unwell, I was pleased to be far fitter than I was for my last 10 birthdays and beyond.
The DNS (did not start) at Coniston really knocked my confidence and I felt genuinely sad to watch the runners heading off along the road away from the start, following the shore of the lake. I cheered my father-in-law off and then sat in the car and e-mailed Liz McColgan for advice about how to avoid losing fitness and train when the lurgy had floored me (I was extremely lucky and won an opportunity to be coached by Liz McColgan through the Great Run Company and she is available to help remotely when we need advice). She replied almost immediately and, with some ideas and reassurance that my fitness would not dip after just a week or two of compromised training, I felt a bit better and wandered down to the lake with my mega pack of tissues to watch the runners on their way to the finish along the opposite shore.
My father in law finished 4th in his age group in a time of 2hrs01. He was disgruntled at being beaten by two runners in his 70+ age group from Fenland Runners. “Fenland is flat!!!”. The Coniston14 course was definitely not flat.
This week I have been experiencing the Marathon Doubts… the slow 16 miles seemed like a very long way and my body was creaking like an ancient Austin Metro with fingers swollen like fat sausages by the end of it. How will I manage another 10.2 miles (that 0.2 is very important)?!?!
I suspect that the maranoia will only become more pronounced as the tapering begins.
Think of the cake. Just think of the cake. Keep going.
Now that the Big Day is so close please help me to fight my self doubt and just get on with it by donating anything you can to Care of Police Survivors: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/erica-gilchrist1 Thank you!