Let’s face it, sometimes we must seem like a peculiar breed to the uninitiated onlooker…
1/ We wear Lycra
In public. For fun. Enough said.
2/ We brag about lost toenails
If you’ve run hard enough to lose a toenail or two, not only are you in the club, but you’re pretty much leader of the pack. Ditto black toenails/calloused heels/blisters. In fact, the uglier our feet, the prouder we become.
So, I did it! I ran the Virgin Money London Marathon last month, crossing the finish line at exactly 15:05:05 on 23rd April, after being on my feet for 4 hours, 58 minutes and 46 seconds. And it was exhilarating, and exhausting, and loud, and life-affirming, and painful, and uplifting.
The marathon hasn’t just been about those 26.2 miles, though. It’s been about four months of hard work; of winter training runs and hill sessions; of heading out in horizontal rain; of ice baths and early nights; and of fitting it all in around the most important people in my life. Which is why I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way…
With just a day to go until the Virgin Money London Marathon, I’m getting pretty excited… but I’m not a complete novice. I know that tomorrow, it’s going to get tough. Really tough. (Last time I took part, it made me cry a little bit. Damn you, mile 23.)
Which is why I’m dedicating the last seven (point two) miles of the course to some special people, in the hope this will get me through. Because, you guys, I’m not going to give up in your mile. Promise.
Childbirth and marathon training: I have decided the two are a little alike. Not much, obviously – one involves pushing a fully grown human infant out of your lady bits, while the other requires you to put one foot in front of the other, over and over, for 26.2 miles.
Superheroes are featuring heavily in my life at the moment. Or rather, they are featuring heavily in my four-year-old son’s life, and so by default I am having to take an active interest.
I’ll be honest: when it comes to motherhood, I have found even the basics utterly bamboozling: How do you strap a screaming, angry toddler into a car seat when they have perfected planking? How do you persuade them to try a teeny tiny piece of carrot at dinner? Why does it take 17 minutes for them to put on one shoe? Where have their socks gone?
I’ve been working hard to improve my strength, running pace and overall fitness this past month. For over a year, I’ve been plodding along at the same old pace, covering the same old routes, without ever pushing myself too hard (because, frankly, getting out for a run – whatever speed or distance – has felt challenging enough, what with two little ones to run around after all day, one of whom has NEVER slept through the night).