1. Your legs will only go as far as your brain will let them

I’ll let you in to a secret. This blog, it was never meant to happen. I always said I wouldn’t start a blog as I don’t have time to write and it’ll just turn into another phase I go through for a few weeks and then get bored of. Except I now have a reason (albeit selfish) to write.

I had been contemplating the idea of starting a blog for a few months but just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it, until I received some very unexpected post. My housemate texted me one afternoon saying an exciting letter had arrived for me. I had no idea what it was – I hadn’t ordered anything online, mum had only recently sent me another packet of pine nuts (my fave, thanks mum) and it wasn’t my birthday. I had no idea what it could be. Thursday 26th September 2013 is a day I will never forget. I rushed home to find ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ staring me in the face, and I collapsed on the stairs. Oh. No. Disaster. I had actually got a place. This wasn’t the plan!

Let me take you back a few months to April, when I went to London to try and catch a 20 second glimpse of mum running in her third London Marathon. It was a all a bit mad – I’d gone straight up to London after church, and had a 35 minute window in which to find her on the route and get back to Waterloo station to get the train back home. It was an optimistic plan, yet somehow I managed to see her with two minutes to go. And it was in those few minutes waiting for her to come past, cheering on hundreds of other runners, joggers and walkers, that I was reminded of a very quick promise I made to myself when I was 17 – in fact, it had made it on to my bucket list. I wanted to run the Marathon. Not only that, but I wanted to do it by the time I was 30. It suddenly dawned on me, standing on the Embankment, that I had to apply this year as I knew it could take years to get a ballot place, and I would only have 5 attempts before my dream would be impossible. So a couple of weeks later I got up early and applied as soon as the ballot opened. I told no one I applied. And then I thought nothing of it, knowing how unlikely it is to get a place, let alone on your first try.

Skip forward to the fateful September afternoon, and I am filled with dread as I start to think of the many concequences to this one action…early mornings, hours of being by myself, having to plan what I eat. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t look at me and think, ‘she’s built to be a runner’ – well I don’t think it, so I can’t imagine anyone else does anyway. And that’s probably because I’m not! So this whole idea is probably not the best thing I’ve ever come up with. But hey, life is for living, and this will challenge me in more ways than I dare to think about right now…

Physically: The most I’ve ever run is 8 miles, and that was almost 3 years ago when I was actually training for a 5k Race for Life with two friends. I’d never run more than a few steps before September 2010 – let’s just say that PE and I weren’t best friends at school. It wasn’t till a bizarre incident (I’ll explain another time) where I was made to go for a run that I decided to actually try and aim for something. Anyway, the 8 miles occurred when I was home one weekend and mum offered to go on a ‘short’ run with me. I almost died. And since running the 5k in Summer 2011 I haven’t run at all. That is, until 17 days ago when I took the first little step in this surreal adventure and went out on my first training run.

Mentally: It’s going to be tough, really tough. People talk about ‘hitting the wall’. I’m sure I’ll know when I hit it, but for now, I’m just hoping the wall doesn’t get in the way after 2 miles as it will be an awfully long and painful race otherwise! I’ll probably cry, want to give up and go home many times when training. If you see me out running (sorry I won’t be looking my best) and I look like I’m about to give up, you have permission to give me a (verbal) slap round the face and tell me to get a grip and keep going. That would be much appreciated, thanks. 

When I finally plucked up the courage to tell friends and family I have a place in the Marathon, there were mixed reactions – ‘well done’ to ‘ohhhh right’ to ‘haaahaaa’ (that was dad). Don’t worry, I’ve thought most of those myself, and regularly go through it all from ‘why on earth did I think this was a good idea?’ to ‘I actually can’t wait, it’s going to be incredible running with thousands of other people’. I wanted to get a ballot place as it was really important to me to be able to choose the charity I run for. In fact, I’ve chosen two. One from Canterbury where I live now, and one from my home town. Catching Lives  is a brilliant charity working to restore individuals, families and communities by supporting those homeless in Canterbury. Rianna’s Fund was set up in memory of a child from my home church where I grew up, and it works to support under-priviledged children in India, Uganda and Kenya to reach their full potential. I’ll post more about the charities and how you can sponsor me in another post soon!

So there we go, full circle, back to where I started. I’ve started this blog as a way of me recording my London Marathon training adventure. But don’t worry, if you’ve stumbled across this, and are somehow still reading this even with no interest in marathons, I’ll try and intersperse running related posts with other exciting things. Maybe a recipe (who doesn’t love the Great British Bake Off?!), the odd youtube clip or a link to a great article. You never know, I might surprise you with something else.

Well, thanks and well done for making it to the end! That was a pretty epic post for my first one, sorry I hadn’t planned that. Though I do like to chatter away, so not a surprise really.