Marathon training this year has strengthened my soul. It may not have felt it every mile, but overall, I’ve got out a hell of a lot more than I’ve put in.
During the 16 weeks that I have been training for this year’s Yorkshire Marathon, I have left a job where I felt very secure, and loved my colleagues, to move into an unknown, kind of scary field, hours away from home – for the excitement and challenge of it. To see how much I am capable of when I take that step. As I said before, we marathon runners are – for some reason – not content with just being ‘content’.
I don’t know if I would have had the nerve to take that leap if I hadn’t had those very long marathon runs to have long talks with myself – talking myself in and out of the decision, meditating, sometimes having a little cry. In that time, I found reserves of resilience in myself that I didn’t think I had. “I can run mother-lovin’ twenty miles on a WEDNESDAY night before Bakeoff, I can do anything.”
One of the runners on Light Night asked me a really thought-provoking “Do you feel you know yourself better, having run a marathon?” – my answer was a resounding YES. You can’t truly imagine how you will behave under pressure until you’re actually there. (Not that it necessarily went the right way last time)
Now, the interminable wait until race day, to see what the training and my inner reserves interact to produce.
I read in Michel Roux Jr’s lovely book The Marathon Chef (sadly out of print; I managed to bag an ex-library copy on Amazon) that training for a marathon is the hard part, so enjoy the race once that’s behind you. Sounds so simple, maybe it’s obvious, but I’d never thought about it like that before, and am going to keep that in my mind. This race is the culmination of weeks of effort, I’ll revel in the experience.
What am I going to be capable of?
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