“Oh crikey” was my first thought when I opened the email from work saying I’d won a place in their London Marathon ballot.
Ok, so anyone who knows me knows that isn’t really what I said. A stream of expletives too rude to publish on a PG-rated blog went through my head and I screamed “SHIT” at the top of my voice. Fortunately I was working from home, or I’d have had some odd looks from my colleagues.
I ran through to my husband in the room across the hall and told him the good news.
“Congratulations!” he replied “I guess that means you need to get back on the training, eh?”
That bought me back down to earth with a very hard bump. I don’t really like running. I see it as a necessary evil, something to burn off a few calories and help in my endless battle between fitness and fatness. I tolerate it, and sometimes it even feels good. But training, to run 26.2 miles, well that’s a different story altogether, isn’t it?
You see, I’m 33. I’m a 5’0″, dumpy, slightly overweight woman in my mid-thirties. I’ve run three half-marathons before, but the last one was in March. Since then my running habit has waned. I developed a reasonable early morning gym habit over the summer, but as the mornings have got colder and darker and that’s been less appealing than staying in bed and reading the entire internet on my phone.
My recent lazy patch, together with my fondness for chocolate, means I’m tipping the scales at 63kg today. And I have to run a marathon in five months and two days’ time. Shit.
“I need to do something” I thought. So I did what any sensible runner would do: I posted the good news on Facebook so my friends could have a good laugh.
Then I toddled upstairs, and put on my running kit and trainers. My most recent run was barely 15 minutes. I could have gone further, but I couldn’t be arsed. But now I have to be arsed.
“Half an hour. Just keep running for half an hour,” I told myself as I strapped on my Pebble smartwatch and fired up Runkeeper on my phone.
And so, I ran. Through the recreation ground, past Barnes station and through the common all the way to the Spencer Arms in Putney, by some odd back route I’ve never come across before. Putney was where we had our wedding reception, and it was our wedding anniversary, so I kept going all the way to the riverside venue, where exactly two years ago we celebrated our marriage.
After that I looped back down the river towards home. 9k in total. 45 minutes. And it felt pretty good.
As I was running, I started to think “I can do this. I can run a marathon.”
In my head, I started making a plan. I need a training plan.
But more importantly than that, I need a website.