Max’s Marathon WEEK 9: a.k.a Holy FLIP, it’s MARCH.

Hello, March. Pleased, but also terrified, to meet you. I’m very excited about running the London Marathon next month. Except when I remember that I have to run around Beaconsfield and Hyde Park several more times on my own first…

March is the hard month of training, a.k.a the month everyone wishes they’d never met you: long runs take up half the day, you can’t drink much the night beforehand and all your money needs to be squirrelled away for pre-race panic kit-buying and post-race relaxation, so your social life feels like it can basically, in ’90s Brookside* vernacular, Do One. As a teenager I had about five friends (it was cool to watch soaps. It was not cool to collect articles about the actors in a scrapbook, or to want to be a soap scriptwriter, or to like soaps AND politics – the ultimate soap…). They all lived on opposite sides of town, meaning I hardly saw them outside school. I’ve partly retained the mentality that goes with this despite being nearly 32 and doing media and comms-y work**, so being invited to Social Things still comes as a bit of a surprise, and turning down invites feels like a bit of a mean and ludicrous thing to do. The peak weeks of distance running training are notorious, especially for charity runners – you’re constantly tired, flailing, and self-conscious about boring the pants off everyone. A bit like being a new parent, with fewer stretch marks and more lycra.

After last week’s triumphant long run and a Tuesday interval run, my legs apparently had zero interest in doing a half Marathon distance at the end of this week. I scheduled it for super-early Friday morning so that I could go out to the pub on the Friday night, being sure to time it so that I’d be out before the traffic, remembering the fiasco a couple of weeks ago. On Thursday I went for a light early-evening jog in preparation. My legs did not feel happy with this. I tried not to worry, ate a huge helping of chips, cheese and bean burger for dinner and set my alarm for Balls O’Clock. My left leg twinged as I pottered around the house before bed. One of the twinges reminded me of a foot injury I had in 2014 (pre-running days, from a bad sandal) which left me unable to walk for six weeks. It upset me. I was worried, knackered, and all the things you don’t want to be before a Friday half marathon. Fragments from the talk one of the personal trainers gave at one of Mind’s meetups came to mind: It’s OK to deviate from your training plan, and you should expect to because Life Happens. With that, I listened to my legs, postponed the half Marathon until next week (which was supposed to be another one anyway), slept for half an hour longer and did a crawling 10K instead. At one point, I stopped, ostensibly to let a slow walker get out of my path but really so I could have a little snooze against a fence before a hill. I was truly shattered. I went to the pub in the evening as planned, with my friend Les and some friends of his 10-15 years older than us (hooray for House of Love fans! Who are alive!). I drank more caffeine to keep me awake than booze. Someone 10-15 years older than you telling you that you look like you’re flagging on a Friday night is Not A Good Thing. At the end of the night, Les told me I could have cancelled if I was feeling too tired and he wouldn’t have minded. I told him I’d wanted to come out but was equally looking forward to going to bed. I got home at 1am and slept until….well until 7:30am, actually. Then for another hour or so between 9 and 11. I didn’t have the energy to make breakfast until lunchtime, tsk. If I can manage to wake up tomorrow, I’ll be off to Mental Health Mates for a second time. Because sometimes friends are more important than running; even six weeks before a Marathon…

Please SPONSOR ME to raise lots of money for Mind and make all this ruddy tiredness thoroughly worth it. 

*Strange-but-true Max Fact: If it wasn’t for ’90s soaps I wouldn’t have gone to Durham University and I wouldn’t be running the Marathon.

**that’s a bit of a stretch at the moment, actually – my work is mostly proofreading, because you can do that at home in trakkie pants after a run. But after the Marathon I would very much like to be. 



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