Wowsers! Bit overwhelmed by the response to my first blog, have had a lot of people reach out to me and I wasn't really expecting anyone to read it to be honest. I am glad I did it, thank you all for your lovely comments and feedback. It's just amazing that something as simple as running can bring people together in such a deep sense, I love my running massive!
So what's been going down in the jog-o-sphere this week? Well I had a 4 day holiday in Poland planned so decided that I needed a few days rest from just....everything really, including training. Before I went though I managed to do one last run and smash my 10k PB, it was nice to switch off on a high and I needed it. The weekend was a mixture of resting, partying and of course a trip to Auschwitz. Won't go too much into that other than it's the most harrowing place on earth and something every human should experience, you will leave with your hands firmly cupped around your inner spark of humanity kindling its flame and resolved to protect it forever from fear and hate.
I thought a lot about running whilst away and interestingly caught the story of Eddie Izzard starting his 27 marathons in 27 days in tribute to Mandela's 27 years in prison. It's just an unimaginable feat. Only a matter of weeks ago I saw him twice doing stand-up, he's always been a hero of mine, politically, comedically and now it seems as a runner. My mind immediately painted a picture of this man stallion runner, jaunting effortlessly like an ostrich across the African backdrop, probably in high heels to boot, mocking us mere mortal runners with his prowess - I strongly urge you to watch his video diaries as the truth is quite opposite! (and I mean that in the most respectful way possible). I took a lot of comfort in his running - he is just like me - annoyed, tired, in too much pain and generally a bit confused as to what he's doing. But he's doing it. He's just carrying on, one foot in front of the other and taking us all with him every step of the way.
I hit 22k yesterday (so just shy of 14 miles) - officially the furthest I've ever ran. High five to myself. I'm really begining to understand the marathon mindset now and the problem that is laid out on the road in front. The first 10 miles of running are about your body. That's why the half mara's such a good distance - you know you've gone far and you've really pushed your body to this extreme place. Something happens though one you start going past that point, I don't know, it was like gravity had suddenly quadrupled and I was walking underwater or something. My body's still going, I'm still moving forward but my brain is starting to be like "eh, ok, enough, come on, let's go to bed". It's like entering the earth's atmosphere - bits of you are flying off, but the only way is down and once you push through, it'll all be ok.
Watching Eddie's videos, what he's saying, how he's feeling - I completely understand now the mental challenge. Post-13 miles, ok so you've got a tough body, now how tough is your mind? I'll add the air of caution that the most vital part of training for me is learning the difference between good & bad pain - don't go on if you're injuring yourself. Unfortunately it's a tricky distinction to make, but learn your body - that's the whole point of preparation, make friends with it and it'll talk back to you "Yeah, you're foot's falling off, let's stop...", "Wow, the muscles are pretty sore, but hey, we're still going and it'll pass". The body's done pretty much most of the work at this point and it's looking to its counterpart, the brain, for support for the next half marathon you're about to do....
I do feel scared, and somewhat naive for thinking that training was going to somehow make this an effortless event, defintitely my key learning this week! It does its job though and prepares you, just not in the way you're expecting. Now I know the truth, this is really, really going to hurt. A lot. It's going to test me. A lot. I'm going to want to give up, every other mile. Yet I will go on, with the chorus of voices around and within me just letting me know, that I've totally got this.
Thanks for reading and if you haven't already, please do sponsor me! Support me as I work me ass off and I'll be eternally grateful! :)
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