Firstly, apologies to people who are visiting my blog expecting it to be about eye cancer. It is usually, just at the moment it has turned into an obsession of a middle aged mum about running and marathons.
So in 10 days I am running the London Marathon for Ocumeluk. I am terrified, even though my training has gone really well. At the beginning I set myself two goals, one was to beat my last marathon time of 4 hours and 36 minutes and the other was to run around Richmond park in under an hour. I managed the second goal last week with 2 minutes to spare. So I was feeling good, I was feeling prepared and with all my long runs completed, I was looking forward to the ‘taper.’
For those that don’t know what a ‘taper’ is , it’s when us ‘athletes’ cut down our mileage to allow our bodies to repair. For me I couldn’t give a f**k about a repairing body, I just wanted this hell to stop. The closer I got to ‘taper’ and cutting down my running the better I was feeling. Bring that taper on I chanted to myself, as I pounded round Richmond park for the 26th time since my torture/training started. Have I been counting? Yes. Every step of the way! When I completed my last long run, a 22 mile beast, I wanted the taper to be a physical element that I could hug and squeeze or drink (the alcohol variety, not water) and shout yes I’ve f**king earned you! And what happens? I get a cold. A sore throat. A foot injury. A blister. More bloody chaffed collar bones and slowly the mind games seep in. The doubt that you’ll ever manage to cross that finish line. If this is how 22 miles broke you, what will 26.2 do?
So I do what everyone does when they are in doubt and scared, like we all did when first diagnosed with cancer, I googled! And the relief flooded in. I read that many ‘athletes’ find that when they taper they catch a cold. Hurrah!!! I am a top athlete. A 44 year old woman, half deaf, with slightly dodgy sight on one side has lots in common with top runners! It may just be a cold and a blister on the inside of my heel but it’s a start.
Anyway forced rest and no running has sorted out my foot injury, so hopefully come the day all will be good. Except of course the other major issue. The weather. For those reading this living in Britain and Ireland (my aunty!) I don’t need to remind you all of what we have endured weather wise since possibly October. What I have endured for my training since possibly October. But for those lucky enough to be reading this from a warmer, sunnier climate, let me enlighten you. Our weather has been SH*T!!! I have run in rain, wind, hailstones, snow, ice, sleet and the beast from the east!!!
Spring started (nobody noticed) and with it came snow. Kids Easter holidays were a wash out and for some poor buggers more snow came. Memories were popping up on Facebook of past holidays at this time of year and people were in shorts. Shorts?! T-shirts?! What the hell are they? I’m still in a ski jacket and thermals and it’s the 12th of April for petes’ sake! So with all the preparation and training I have done, what I haven’t managed to do is run in any sort of sunshine. But hey the weather can’t change that drastically between now and the marathon can it? Can it?! We live in bloody Britain of course it can! So you know what we have coming our way? Yes that right. A bloomin’ heat wave!!! On the radio this morning they were squealing with excitement as we will be basking in sunshine all of next week. We will be hotter than Ibiza, warmer than Greece. frying eggs on the pavements and I shall not only have jelly legs crossing the finishing line but now also run the risk of being delirious from sun stroke!
Anyway, next week is a busy week for me, so hopefully will keep me off weather watch and stop me scowling at anyone enjoying the sun. I have my MRI scan, results and a visit to the Expo (other side of London to where I am) to pick up my running number. I arranged to have my MRI before the marathon so that I would have it behind me. I’m not totally convinced it was the right move, as usually comes with it sleepless nights, not conducive with feeling rested and energised on the big day. Anyway with the scan on Wednesday and results Thursday. if all is well, hopefully I will catch up on my sleep then. If not then I will be properly delirious making my way round the course. Sunstroke or not!
One more slightly off topic thing, I have to do a little shout out here to my youngest daughter. She desperately wanted me to run the marathon, as to her, a fit runner equates to a healthy person without cancer. My other two daughters know that I am well. Youngest worries, so when she sees me run it reassures her. She pleaded with me to apply. “Please mum! It will be so good. Please! I’ll train with you. I’ll cycle with you. Even when the weather is bad I promise I’ll come with you.” Well. as my kids always manage to bully me into what they want, I found myself saying “okay then.” Hoping I would never get a place! Fast forward a few months and I can say she was true to her word. She was there on the majority of my big runs, rycles she named them, only missing them when she was at school. She accompanied me on my longest 22 miler chatting incessantly all the way. The worst was a 15 mile rycle we did in hideously cold sleet. She was frozen but never moaned. Even when she was exhausted she would tell me to wake her in the morning so she could be with me. She even said it’s a shame bikes can’t come on the course as she would happily keep me company on the big day (probably a good thing, as I would want to to push her off and nick the bike!) We have enjoyed many jelly babies together and discussions on “what next?”
So, I am running the marathon to raise money for the wonderful charity Ocumeluk, but if and when I get over the finish line, Tessie Bear, that medal’s yours poppet. xxx