Monday, 15 April 2013

Marathon Madness

My Marathon Madness - from being chased by dogs to the start line

"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon." Katherine Switzer, New York City Marathon winner

Do you know one of the worst ways to wake up? By your mother after she has run 20 miles and you are in bed. There is now nothing you can say or do to make up for the fact she has ‘made the most of‘ the morning and you feel groggy at midday.

It must have been a post-Christmas blowout cry of desperation. But, I saw the charity email at work asking if we would advertise to our readers for a last space to run the London Marathon. And I thought, why not?

Well in hindsight, there are plenty of reasons why not. But, hindsight is a fabulous thing I guess.

I rang my marathon-pro mother asking if she thought I could train for a marathon in 16 weeks.

“Of course” she replied.

I should have known that mum is nothing but a fitness anomaly and thinks nothing of running 15 miles before breakfast so really, I should have gone for a second opinion.

Training began in the snow. I shall add that I have done a few 10km races, but I feel that marathon running is a rather big step up. I was dropped off somewhere in the countryside in Cheshire, I put on the ‘The Trap’ theme tune and I started jogging – with my hat, gloves and fleece as obviously the weatherman failed to consider Laura was training for a marathon.

Then I got ‘marathon training packs’ thrown at me. I soon realised what I had let myself in for - A seven day 24 hour endurance test. I simply do not understand how people can work and stick rigidly to one of these plans. What we really need is 'marathon leave' from work. I stuck to my plan loosely.

I tried to run a few times in the week for around 6 miles and then a long run at the weekends.

I purchased one of those pro rucksacks. I felt a bit like one of those people at school who would have six tennis rackets and came across all threatening, but could barely hit the ball.

Anyway, the pro rucksack was important to carry water.

Running has actually been a good way to see the London sights. From Sunday afternoons in Battersea park to the bridges and Kensington Gardens.

I got lost in Wapping one day and was rather close to using my emergency money to get a cab home. And another time I rang my sister in tears as I fell over and some dogs were chasing me. Whatever you are meant to do in these situations, I am pretty sure what I did was not it - panic, scream and cry.

I ran a half marathon in Milton Keynes in the snow.

And then my Virgin London Marathon number came through the door. I can honestly say that my heart sank. I mean, the administration details seemed to be beyond my capabiltiies for my French coursework deadline at university, so why did this one work? How did I manage not to mess up the bureaucracy, when for once, it would have been pretty handy?

I definitely do not have the Paula Radcliffe type body. But, running just seems to be about self- belief. And I do think that if you think you can do it, it helps you in other parts of your life too. Obviously, I am talking about getting round the marathon unscathed for the most part, I am not talking to you people out there who do sub four hour marathons.

Everyone talks about the amazing feeling of camaraderie there is at a marathon. However, will this be enough when I meet the 20-mile wall? Doubtful.

And five days to go.

Just giving page