Ah yes, the matter of those 26.2 miles… it’s all come around rather quickly, hasn’t it? The marathon has come to rear its sweaty, vaseline-covered head and thrust me into one of those panicky flight or fight situations. In this case, the ‘flight’ option equates to skipping it and taking on the role of chief cheerer (very important job) whilst the ‘fight’ alternative means actually trying to run the bloody thing. Oh gahd, FML.
My marathon training has not gone quite to plan, to be honest I can’t really claim to have trained having only completed 8 weeks of Hal Higdon’s carefully crafted plan (sorry, Hal.) As some of you know, I injured myself teaching yoga a couple of months ago. Due to the limp that this gave me I then suffered severe IT Band pain in my other leg. I thought I could pull off this new wonky running gait, but evidently I couldn’t and my marathon training quickly went down the pan. I realised that I couldn’t run for more than a mile without being struck by knee pain and that it seemed futile to run through it. I listened to the physio’s advice and rolled and rested. Then, when I finally thought I could start running again I got struck down by the FEAR. How could I possibly catch up on the training now? My knee was still hurting whenever I tried to run for more than 20 minutes and it all became horribly stressful. So, to cut a long story short, I stopped training and decided not to run but instead to be the loudest and most outrageous cheerer that Paris Marathon had ever seen.
But then, I started thinking, which is never a good thing. The thing is, I still have my marathon place for Sunday, I am still going to Paris and I still (just a teeny weeny bit) want to run the marathon. The atmosphere at the start of a marathon is unlike anything else, and I know that if I don’t pack my kit I’ll get serious marathon-running envy as soon as I step onto the Eurostar.
So, I have come up with a plan that takes into consideration my two main problems: the first problemo is that I’m completely untrained (my last long run was an 18 miler about 2 months ago) so even if my weakling knee holds up I’m now unlikely to be able to complete the distance. The second problem is that my knee most probably won’t hold up, and running 26.2 miles on it would not be feasible/sensible.
However, I am still optimistic. It might be because it’s sunny or because the daffs are out or because I’m listening to Magic FM as I write, but I feel like somehow I might be able to manage it. That I might some how acquire super-human Paula-style fitness and stride along like a gazelle, gliding effortlessly over the finish line. Utterly ridiculous I know, but when all I’ve got is my optimism and a few Nakd bars, I’m going to roll with it.
So, the plan is to head to the start line with Jess and Lizzy and just start running at a very slow and leisurely pace. I might take some pictures, high-five the kids I normally scowl at or even strike up a conversation with a Frenchy. If my knee holds up I will see how long I can run for and then attempt to hobble, limp, skip or jump my way to the finish line. If my knee hurts too much then I’ll just drop out when I see my family and cheer the others on instead. Either way, I’ll have run part of the course, given it my best shot and seen some of the sights along the way. I’m not going to beat my 3.54 time, so I think this this is a race where it’s definitely the taking part that counts. Plus it means I legitimately get a few days of carb-loading starting from, erm, now…
With 8 Nakd bars for the route, a loaded camelpak and a massive tub of vaseline, what could possibly go wrong?
For a much more sensible approach to marathon running, have a look at Jess’s pre-race thoughts. All I’m saying is she better get sub-4, or boy, will we never hear the end of it…