I was accidentally entered into a Marathon by a friend who thought it was a Half Marathon. When she realized her mistake she said ‘why don’t we do it anyway?’. I was multi-tasking at the time, said ‘oh ok then’ without really thinking. We had put down a ‘likely finish time’ of 2hrs 17mins – up there with the Paul Radcliffe world record – when in reality we’d be lucky to even finish!
Ever since I dropped the egg off the spoon in the egg and spoon race at primary school, I was labelled ‘not athletic’ and it sunk firmly into my brain. Whilst my 3 brothers represented their county at hurdles, pole vault and table tennis, I was battling to swim a width in the murky outdoor pool without drowning. I’m not a natural runner, in fact I didn’t start until I was 40. But it burns more calories than anything else, which means you can continue to indulge. Best of all it’s an easy escape from work into the open air and out of my head.
Having downloaded a marathon plan from the fabulous RunKeeper app, we started our training. We took it day-by-day, never really believing we’d turn up on the actual day. Getting to 10 miles was very very hard but we were determined to enjoy the journey. During one run we stopped at a pub for egg and chips to stock up our energy levels before continuing! Gradually we added 1 mile further each week until we managed to hobble 20 miles.
And last weekend I ran (well I walked up some of the hills) a full marathon. OMG that’s 26.2 miles! Had I stopped to think, I would not have believed it was possible to run for 5hrs and far too stupid an idea to even try. ‘Thinking has become a disease’ said Eckhart Tolle in his superb book ‘The Power of Now’. Not being able to stop thinking and over analyzing everything is a terrible affliction, yet most of us suffer from it. Wandering blindly into this marathon and somehow managing to finish has made me wonder about all the other ways I may have limited what I could do with my life. I sense a few great changes coming…
If you want to try running, and I promise you it doesn’t matter what age you are when you start, try the brilliant NHS From couch to 5k podcasts. It really doesn’t matter what the activity is, take a risk and do something unexpected. I guarantee you will feel amazing afterwards.