AKA: What do you do when getting off the couch feels impossible sometimes and you find yourself facing a marathon place six months down the line?
If you follow me on Twitter at all, you may have seen my tiny-bit-panicked post in the last few days announcing something very very unexpected: I got a place in the London Marathon. Honestly, this tweet massively downplays the amount of panic I felt when getting the news: my first words on opening the email are 100% not suitable for public consumption. In explanation, let me give you a little bit of backstory:
I have never been a runner, but I did train for a 10k a few years ago, and really enjoyed having a goal to aim for. I never managed to run for more than about 15 minutes straight I don’t think, but I did make it round that 10k in under 90 minutes (my personal goal) and earn some money for a charity close to my heart. I’ve since entered the London Marathon Ballot a few times, but know that the odds of getting in are miniscule: this year I was one of 457,861 people to apply, and only 40,000 places were available. I figured I’d throw my name in, start the couch to 5k programme and worry about it in October. When of course, I wouldn’t get in, but by which time I’d have at least built up a running habit.
Except, last year, I completed a teacher training course, and I felt like I barely had time to sleep, breathe or shower, let alone exercise, so I kept putting week 1 off until next week….indefinitely. Fast forward to October 9th, me somehow getting a place, and the aforementioned panic and swearing.
Got a #LondonMarathonBallot place… but stopped running during PGCE. Currently takes me 45 minutes to do 5k, mostly walking. Happy to put in the training and would love to do #londonmarathon2020 but don’t want to walk the majority of it, and don’t know if that’s achievable?! pic.twitter.com/kZKYoTrQ8k
— Faith au Telemanus (@GeekyZooGirl) October 9, 2019
I figured I had three choices:
- Resign myself to the fact it was impossible and not try
- Give it my all and hope to get there without injury/death/too much embarrassment
- Defer until 2021
Now, option 1 was out straight away: I know I can always reapply but it’s just going to get harder and harder to get a place, so this feels almost like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Deferring isn’t a bad option, and is one I’m definitely holding in reserve, but 18 months from now I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing: I might be working abroad, thinking about kids, my health might throw a spanner in the works etc. And you can only defer once, so if I defer I HAVE to do it in 2021, or I lose my shot. So that left option 2, but is it insane?
Well, I took to Twitter, and to my common room on facebook for the Potterhead Running Club, to see what smarter people than I thought. Admittedly, my house is Slytherin, and they’re the kind of folks who will see any challenge and throw themselves in 200%, but they assured me I should at least give it a go. They suggested various running plans, stretching techniques, adding in yoga, joining a local running club and generally just giving it my all. So I figured, I’d at least give it a shot! And, weird but true, I’ve always liked reading about running, even though the kind of marathon I’m most likely to do is a Harry Potter film one. I figured my trials and tribulations might make some for some entertainment (and writing about them should keep me accountable) and thus, this blog series was born. So, in answer to the question that got this first post going, what do you do when getting off the couch feels impossible sometimes and you find yourself facing a marathon place six months down the line? Well, if you’re me, after a period of panic, and asking for help, you create a plan, start training, and dig out a copy of Bryony Gordon’s fantastic Eat, Drink, Run for moral support!
I’ve shared my reckless plan, and even the fact that I’ve got a place, with no one in my offline life yet, but I would absolutely love for you guys to join me on this journey, so each Sunday I’ll be posting about how my training has gone. Check back next week to see my plan and for a report on my first week of training!