Finishing what you start
I've always been a runner, if I don't run - I get tetchy, but I've never been one for races. New year's 2011 I decided I needed a challenge, so I signed up for the Eden Project Marathon and I got into my long Sunday runs along the coastal paths of Cornwall. I suffered sun-stroke back in May on a midday 10-miler, a chill in an August squall, and tendonitits a month before on my longest training session of 18 miles, but by-and-large I loved the journey and the evolution from running for sanity - to running for a goal.
Those who know me will know I'm more than partial to my wine and partying, so this was the hardest thing for me to curb and I'll be honest I didn't, well not until a week before the marathon when I decided I'd better see if I could go without! I filled up on pasta and liquids, read running magazines cover to cover and followed advice to chill out on the running and swim instead.
Come race day, the weather was ideal, cloudy and dry, adrenaline and carb fuelled I bounced off in my Brisa and Vortex, energy gels strapped to my waist like ammo. The course was challenging, with mud slides, steep inclines and windy peaks. 18-22 miles were the worst, ascending into unknown mileage, I had to make mini challenges like passing blue running club girl and bandana man. The best move I made was to wear my name on my top, lovingly sewn on by my mum that morning. I felt sure everyone else would have read the same tip too, so felt a bit daft as it seemed to be just me (story of my life!), but the embarrassment subsided as at every interval I had families and marshals calling out my name, giving me a little surge.
As the Eden biomes came back into view I still had something left in the tank to pick up the speed for the last 4 miles and as I came down the last stretch towards the finish line I had to have a word with myself from stopping short and balling my eyes out with relief, I crossed the line with 4 hours and 1 cheeky minute on the clock. - You don't know always know if you can finish what you start, you just have to go for it and hope for the best. I've got sub 4 now to beat, but I think I'll opt for for a flat one next time and until then I'm back on the wine!