Back in 2012 I ran the London marathon for the first time. I managed to secure a place running for the charity Whizz kids and raised almost £3000 in the process which was quite a feat in itself, never mind the miles! I had pounded the pavements dutifully in the months leading up to the race, consumed God knows how may Lucozade sports drinks along the way and nursed countless blisters. Then the day finally arrived that I had been training so long for, the excitement and atmosphere along the streets of London was something I had never experienced before and whether the occasion got to me or whether it just wasn’t my day I don’t know but something didn’t feel right. Crossing the finish line in a time of 5 hours 1 minute and 06 seconds was a complete mix of emotions. Elation, that it was finally over, that I'd got myself through it and could finally tick it off the bucket list but more overwhelmingly a sense of disappointment at what could have been…
Everyone I spoke to after the race was full of praise at my achievement but inside I knew I could have done better. I’d trained hard and sacrificed precious family time to get myself to the start line and yes, I should have been pleased to just get through it but when you invest so much into something and you set yourself an expectation, to then not meet it left me with a sense of discontentment. My respect for the marathon distance was cemented in those gruelling last miles running down the mall towards my waiting family and seeing the clock ticking past the 5 hour mark. I knew in that moment that I had unfinished business with the London marathon and that one day I would be back….
3 years on and having had rejection after rejection I finally got the acceptance magazine though my door back in October telling me I had a place in the 2015 marathon. I was excited at the chance to experience it all again this time with the advantage of hindsight but with some trepidation as I knew now how much it consumes you and how hard it is motivating yourself to get out in the cold dark evenings for a ‘Hill Run’.
I put the marathon to the back of my mind for 3 months, we'd just got a new puppy and this was like having a new baby in the house! Marathon training was not on the agenda at all. Christmas came and went, the New Year dawned and it was decision time… defer my place for a year or go for it. There’s a 17 week training plan to follow which they kindly send you and day 1 was 29th December…it was clear if I was going to do it I needed to jump on board and get my head into gear quick!
So I decided to go for it… and I’m now 6 weeks into that 17 week plan and so far so good. My long runs are topping out at 10 miles currently but in two weeks I’m required to run 14 miles followed by 16,18,20,20,22….the prospect of which fills me with dread.
I’m taking it a day at a time, one session at a time and I’m trying not to look too far ahead. This time around I’m trying to stick to the plan because if I’m honest last time out I went a bit off-piste. I now realise the importance of the ‘tempo run’, the ‘interval run’ and ‘long slow run’. My philosophy for running in the past has always been just run as fast as you can for as long as you can but the marathon distance commands much more than that… the biggest battle is in my head but by sticking to my plan and ticking each session off it’s a battle I feel I’m slowly winning!
This year I’ll be raising money for three different charities, all very close to my heart. I don’t have a set target but I just wanted to be able to give something back and it’s definitely added motivation for getting me out training. Any donations large or small will be split equally between my charities:
Alzheimer’s Society – we have recently lost a family member to Alzheimer’s so this one is particularly special to me. There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with Dementia and 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will develop it. The chances are it will effect most of us at some point in our lives either living with the disease ourselves or caring for a family member who is effected. This disease is particularly heartbreaking for family and care givers as it gradually takes away the person you know and love, and feelings of grief and loss takeover. The Alzheimers Society is not only committed to researching ways into the cure and prevention of this terrible disease but also offer invaluable support and guidance for people living through it.
Katherine House Hospice – this hospice, based in Banbury, provides specialist palliative care services, which are so important in the last stages of a persons life, both to them and their families. The hospice services are provided free of charge and only a third of the costs are met by the government, the rest is funded by donations. It stands as a living memorial to the life of Katharine Gadsby who in 1984, tragically died of cancer at the age of twenty.
Peachtree pre-school - a fantastic pre-school in Hornton. Peachtree is an independant committee run pre-school and relies on fundraising to keep it going. In line with current Early Years thinking, Peachtree believes, through play, children learn many skills and concepts enabling them to begin to make sense of the world around them. They provide a warm, caring and stimulating environment where children feel safe, valued and able to learn. Working closely with parents, they plan activities and experiences that reflect the interests and learning styles of individuals, to optimise opportunities for learning and progression.
All donations large or small will be most gratefully received... Thank you so much for your support!