13th February 2021 – 232 Days to go

Distance2.19 mi
Duration 00:36:39
Pace16:44 min/mi

Day one of the Runkeeper 5k training plan, today was a mix of a walk for three minutes and then run for one minute accompanied by a commentary from a rather too perky female on my app. She gives you countdowns to when the next session starts which was quite helpful, and does tell you if your pace on the run needs to be upped. At the halfway point she started giving me handy tips on how to place my feet, hold my shoulders and arms as well as how to breathe. I’d never considered how my feet hit the ground before, but she said to land midfoot and I actually took the time to think about how I was doing it and believe I had it right, I’m not hitting the ground with my toes or heel at least.

Today’s route, knowing that it wasn’t going to be a long one, was down to the lake and once around then head back. Not too bad to be honest aside from some tricky icy patches, zero-degree temperature and a fall on the way back that left me with a badly skinned knee, as well as a fair bit of embarrassment. Not the best way to start off but at least I finished!

It feels strange starting from zero again, but having had so many injuries in the past from overdoing it I can see the wisdom in taking the time to do it properly. Knowing I managed London Marathon with an average pace of 12:30, which I’d like to repeat, the 16:44 pace today means that there’s a long way to go, not just in terms of distance.

Monday February 8th, 2021

The first thing I should point out is that I haven’t run since New Years Day 2018, and that was nothing more than a doddering 5k around the lake.

Nothing to brag about, but I’d decided that after a rough time in my personal life in 2017 it was time to pick myself up and dust myself off and get back out there again. It was less of a New Years’ resolution and more of a kick-up the arse. I’d barely run since taking part in London Marathon in 2013 and even then I was lucky to scrape a finish in some charity 10ks. 2018 was going to be my year. Little did I know that less than two months later I’d be saying goodbye to my Mum forever. In just over six weeks my world changed, and not for the better.

In July 2018 I took part in the Macmillan Cancer Mighty Hike around Ullswater in memory of my Mum. Surprisingly I’d been sober when I signed up for it, 26 miles around a stunning lake, how hard could it be. To this day it’s still the toughest challenge I’ve tackled. To put it in context walking London Marathon took me just over six and a half hours thanks to an injury I’d picked up in training. Walking the Mighty Hike took just over eleven and a half in blistering 30 degree heat.

You’d think that having these two less than successful marathon events behind me I would have learned my lesson, but no. Every year between 2013 and 2020 I entered the London marathon ballot only to face rejection.

This lunchtime I opened my inbox to find an email from London Marathon advising me to click on the link for my ballot result. Imagine my shock to have been granted a place. I remember receiving then news back in latte September 2012 that I’d got a ballot place in the 2013 marathon and thinking everyone would tell me I was mad, I hadn’t been running long enough, I wasn’t running far enough,  but they didn’t. They just accepted that I could do it. Apparently that’s what they all think this year as well. Bugger me, I wasn’t expecting that.

I’m sure I read somewhere that this years marathon will be run half and half, that’s to say half the runners in London on the day and the other half running virtually. That puts a different spin on it, making my ballot place even more limited and special. Last time I was probably back down to 5k status and had less time to train, this time I’m definitely at couch status! Let’s be honest with the current lockdown and Netflix I’m lucky if I manage 200 steps on a Saturday.

Still, I’ve booked an apartment in London (they know how to charge marathon weekend don’t they – ouch!) and signed up for Runners World magazine for six months and I reckon all I can do is give it a shot. I’ll be 52 in May, I may be overweight and unfit but who knows when another opportunity like this will come up, and if this pandemic has shown us anything it’s that life is too short. We need to take every opportunity to make memories, embrace challenges and live.

Eight years after the first marathon my life has changed massively, training for this marathon will be a totally different experience. Ill be training through summer, and I’ll have to find a new route as I no longer live in the village. That could be interesting- I think it may end up being four times round the river instead – at least when the flooding and mud have eased off that is. I now work full time so fitting in training sessions is going to require more creativity. Oh, and I now have procrastinating down to a fine art. I think there are going to be some interesting times ahead.

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