I have news.
I’m sure most of you already know, especially if you read my Happy Monday Lists, but I realised the other day that I never actually officially announced it or talked about it on my blog.
So here goes…
I’m running a Marathon.
*hears crickets chirping*
Okay, that may not be the biggest news to some people, but in the running world, that’s like announcing ‘I’m getting married’. And any non-runners out there, you’re probably wondering why the fudge I would do that to myself? Me, the girl whose favourite activity is watching Netflix with a big bag of Snickers bites. Well if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that back in June 2015 I wrote a post called ‘Signing my Soles away.’ In this post I explained how I was planning to become a runner after I spent a lazy Sunday morning eating bacon and watching the London Marathon.
‘I was in awe of these people – not only an amazing personal achievement, but such a wonderful thing to do for charity. “I want to do that” I said to my Sister’
Well, 22 months later, after running a 5K, a 10K, and a Half Marathon, I am now officially in training for my first Marathon. Oh Boy.
When I write it like that, it sounds like I’ve spent all that time training for this big moment. Not true. Not even close. Whilst the idea of a marathon had been playing in the back of my mind from day one, there was never a time I felt ready. Running and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, our relationship has been on and off more times than Ross and Rachel in season two of Friends. We’ve been fully on, completely off, we took breaks – at one point I even cheated on running with Pole Fitness, swapping trainers and sports bra’s for high heels and hot pants.
But back in October I did it, I officially signed myself up for a Marathon, the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris to be precise. Of course in typical ‘It’s Complicated’ relationship style, right after I committed to the biggest run of my life, I packed my rucksack and ran off to South America for six weeks. Not ideal. As you can imagine only a few runs took place during my travels, but we got straight back into the swing of things on my return in December and I’ve been training ever since.
But why would I do this to myself? Why would I sign up to run a marathon?
Why would I, the girl who suffers anxiety, voluntarily sign up to run such a big event in a foreign country?
Why would I agree to 26.2 miles when I had only ever ran 13.1? (and that was NOT easy!)
Why would I put myself through the gruelling, painful and time-consuming training that Marathon Runners have to go through?
Well, pop the kettle on, grab a chocolate digestive and I’ll tell you why…
(and hopefully inspire you along the way)
Because I want to get out my comfort zone
Running a 10k in a quiet park and posing for a selfie afterwards – that’s totally WITHIN my comfort zone. Running 26.2 miles, without a break, through crowds of thousands of people – that is definitely OUT of my comfort zone.
Technically there is nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone, but if you want to grow as a person, embrace new things and ultimately achieve your dreams, then you have to step out the comfort zone and into the unknown. And this is what I plan to do. Right now, I still don’t know what will happen come Marathon day or how this challenge will end or if I will even be able to finish, but that is no reason for me not to do it.
Because I want to prove to myself that anything is possible
Whilst watching a Zombie film with my Sister last year, a line from the movie really struck a chord with me. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like “Most people don’t believe something can happen, until it happens.” This is so true and history has proven that. Once upon a time we thought it was impossible to travel by air. We also thought we would never be able to fly to the moon, so we could forget ever exploring other planets. Yet today we live in a world where millions of planes carry passengers across oceans everyday, there have been multiple missions to the moon and as I type this very post, we have spacecrafts exploring the planet Mars.
This has led me to the theory that Anything is Possible. It really is. This time two years I didn’t even own a pair of trainers, and when I finally bought some and went for my first run in spring of 2015, I nearly threw up. “I can’t do it, I just can’t” I remember telling my ex. Even this time last year I was only running two or three miles per run. So by completing the 26.2 miles at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, the biggest physical challenge of my life, I will be proving to myself that Anything is Possible and that I can achieve anything I want to (which will hopefully give the other parts of my life a kick up the arse).
Because Running helps my mental health
Some people choose beautiful yoga poses to find their centre. Me? I prefer galloping down the street, sweating my tits off whilst panting like a dog on a hot day. But despite how panicked, red and out-of-breath I may look to the strangers on the street, inside I’m calm and focused. Inside my mind is carefully working through all my problems by sitting my anxiety and fear down for a spot of afternoon tea, whilst they allow Happiness, Determination and Clarity to get some much needed work done.
Because Training gives me something important to focus on
Again, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster over the past seven months and have been somewhat lost. But running has been my rock throughout everything. From grabbing my trainers anytime I’ve been stressed, to creating an entire training plan as a work project (by making pretty and colourful excel sheets, obvs). Running has kept me focused, busy and mostly distracted from all those ‘Oh My God, wtf is happening to my life????’ thoughts and questions.
Because I want to make a difference
Not only do I want to make a difference by raising both money and awareness for a good cause (charity to be announced soon) but I want to inspire others. After all it was the 2015 London Marathon Runners who inspired me to get off my bum and start jogging in the park. And yet that first little 1.8 mile jog, the one that had me in so much pain and agony afterwards and feeling like I wanted to vomit, has turned into this – a super determined woman training for her first marathon!
Because it’s my Birthday!
The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris happens to be on my 31st Birthday. I’m not sure most people would want to spend their Birthday running all those miles, no doubt in crippling pain and begging ‘Please God let it end’. But I’m not most people. When I found out that the Paris Marathon was on my birthday, it only encouraged me to sign up. What a way to spend my birthday eh? And what an achievement to end my
somewhat disastrous year of 30 and start my brand new super grown-up age of 31. My family have all booked to come and support me and, bar all the sweat blood and tears, I think it’s going to be a pretty awesome birthday.
Because I want to BE inspired
Not only by my fellow runners, but by the run itself. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be painful and hard and I’m sure there will be moments I will feel like giving up, crying and stopping dead in my tracks. But if I don’t, if I carry on and finish that race, I will always know that within me I have the mental and physical strength to carry on, even at times I feel like I can’t.
And finally – Why Paris?
Because London didn’t take me
For any UK Runner, running the London Marathon, one of the most popular and famous Marathons in the world, is the dream. It was certainly mine. But with more than 253,000 people applying for the 38,000 available spots (and that’s just the UK applicants) it’s pretty hard to secure a place, especially as I think they are picked at random. I know people who have landed a spot first time, and others who are in their fourth year of desperately trying to get a spot.
When I found out I hadn’t got a spot for the 2017 Virgin London Marathon, I was obviously gutted, but immediately I was like ‘Okay, so where shall I go run instead?’ I knew I could have applied for a more local Marathon, but me being me, I wanted to make a big selfish song and dance about it, so signed up to the Paris Marathon, on my birthday, and told my family they all had to come and support me or there would be hell to pay. And being the travel-obsessed person I am, it made sense to use running as an excuse to get myself abroad – if I’m going to go through physical hell, I may as well do it in an beautiful city where I can indulge in all the french food afterwards.
I’ll be updating this blog with my progress over the next six weeks and keeping you posted on my experience as a first time marathon runner, so be sure to subscribe in the box below or follow me on Twitter for regular updates. Wish me luck (and pray I actually make it to Paris and don’t drop dead before then)