Running is mental

I ran 18 miles. 18 flipping miles! Me! Little old me! I sure am looking forward to Sunday when I have to just do a half marathon, just 13.1 miles, p’ah that’s nothing.

Running makes you mental. Mental is good.

Hang on a minute. Rewind. Check in. Who is this person again?!

It’s hard to believe that me, (the PE refuser), the slightly overweight one, is actually right in there and training for a marathon. This time last year, 18 miles was something only to be covered when in a car. Hell, this time 2 years ago, 1.8 miles was something only to be covered when in car! Even now I think it’s absurd that I’m even considering running a journey that would take 20 minutes in a car. I suppose at the start I thought a marathon was fairly easy, after all, loads of people do it. I take that back. Anyone who trains for a marathon is a)mental and b)hardcore.

I won’t lie, the long runs are hard going. It starts with that usual ‘oh flipping flip I can’t do this’ for the first 2 miles. Then by mile 3 I’m in to my stride a bit. By mile 4 I’m ready to break the monotony with a gel. I’ve realised, since doing longer runs, that I have a very short attention span. By mile 5 I’m in to my groove but fighting the urge to press on and get it over and done with as soon as possible. Miles 6-12 are cool, I’m warmed up and I’m usually able to entertain my busy brain with random thoughts such as ‘does the Queen fart in bed?’ and ‘how many calories am I burning per second?’. Mile 12 is when I start to fight the demons. My feet start to hurt a bit. My arms feel a bit heavy and my lower back starts to ache. Most of all, I start to feel terribly glum. I take a gel as that perks me up for a bit. But I know once the glum feelings start, the feeling is there for the rest of the run. Little bits of negativity keep chipping away at my effort to get through the miles. “You totes need to walk now, it’s such a long way” and “Really, you don’t need to do this, eat cake instead” and worst of all “you can’t do this, you REALLY  can’t do this”.

That takes me back to when I first started running. Those minutes of running felt like an eternity, with a brief respite of walking only to have to go AGAIN when I really felt that I couldn’t. When I felt that anything in the world would be better than going again. But I did it then, when I had no reason to believe that I could. I don’t know what kept me going then. I know that I felt the same about running then as I do now. I don’t like running, I’d almost go as far as to say I hate it sometimes. But at the same time I love it, it’s given me more than I ever imagined. And when that moment strikes, usually around 14 miles, I know I can do this. I know that there is something deep inside me that will get me through and eventually, when I’m soaking in the bath many hours later, I’ll be so pleased that I just kept on going.

No matter how far you’ve got to go, no matter how far you’ve come, sooner or later you’ll hit that point where you are sure you can’t go on. But I promise, if you just keep on keeping on, amazing things will happen. It won’t be easy but you’ll do it. And the best bit? You’ll be inspiring someone else to give it a go. So keep on keeping on. Let amazing things happen on the streets of Kettering. It doesn’t matter how far you want to go or how fast you run.  Know that you can take on the world and win because you’re amazing.

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