Saturday 3rd October 2020 (2.21pm)
It’s the eve of the London Marathon and I sit here in a coffee shop looking at the rain outside. Those who know me, will know that I hate the rain and certainly will not go out running in it if I don’t have to. Some would call me a fair weather runner and that I would certainly agree with. The weather tomorrow looks much the same, and whilst I would prefer to stay under the duvet, the lure of my third London medal is more attractive.
As per all of my runs, I have no strategy and no plan. My run will start as soon as my body tells me it is ready to go. If that is at 5am then off I will plod. If it is at 9am then off I will go. I need to be out on my feet by 0930 due to my face appearing on the BBC TV marathon wall. I have no planned direction of travel, it will be dependent on the rain and more importantly wind direction. Living on the coast I will no doubt get wet and blown in all directions. My thoughts at this point once again turn to my warm bed.
I reflect on whether I am prepared to run 26.2 miles and my thoughts turn to ‘am I ever?’ I seemingly have this ability to just rock up and run. Apart from after one half marathon where I recall being slumped on the bathroom floor being fed Jaffa cakes. Not my finest moment, but an important early learning curve into putting sufficient fuel into one’s body. By now, after a number of marathons, an ultra marathon and an Ironman I should know what I am doing and what to expect. The heavy legs, the brain wondering off when tired, the lack of any thought process after 20 miles, the feeling of physical depletion as my body craves sugar, carbohydrates and salt, but it’s hard to digest, the mental battles that a depleted body fights, the negativity, followed by elation, followed by thoughts of get me off this planet now. The mind tries to calculate distance to make it easier, ‘only 2 park runs to go, only a park run to go’, such distances for me are easy but not after 20 miles. Most of you will understand exactly what I am saying, some make think I am a little weird, but trust me, your head plays these games in order to make a painful situation easier.
Whilst this year I have run in excess of 1000 miles, thanks to virtual challenges, I have over the last 6 weeks been plagued by injury and illness which has required investigation and follow up (to be sorted Monday). Nothing, however gets in my way, and tomorrow I will battle whatever comes my way to finish what I start. Tonight I will probably eat pizza and chocolate, washed down by Coke Zero. I will get my kit ready, pin my number on my top and make sure I have enough Tailwind and Wagon Wheels in my hydration pack.
My number is 28077 if you would like to track via the official marathon app. It will simply let you know when I start and finish. To all of my friends across the UK and further afield who are taking part tomorrow, good luck, enjoy every moment and stay safe. To all of my buddies who I know locally, I hope to see you out somewhere. I look forward to seeing your smiley faces, whatever stage of the run you may be.
If all goes to plan tomorrow, I will be 27 miles away from my 874 mile journey to John O Groats and 346 miles away from finishing my run around the Welsh coastal path.
When these challenges are finished, I cannot stop there as the hard work starts on Project 21. What I didn’t mention above is that when I finish an event I always say ‘I am never doing that again’. These were the exact words I mumbled after Ironman Wales 2018. Yet, as I sit here, I quietly smile of what faces me next year as I head towards my second 140.6.