I would love to be able to tell you how I applied for the London 2020 Marathon and wrote out my well thought through application but the truth is I can’t remember. The first I knew about my marathon application was when a man from the National Autistic Society called offering me a place.
After several requests for him to repeat what he was saying, a flicker of a memory ebbed at my mind. The memory was of me after a few too many glasses of vino applying for my marathon place through the National Autistic Society. Drinking in general is not really something I do much these days and on this particular occasion I had just lost someone very dear to me and the grief was and still is overwhelming. A vague notion of something to aim for through exercise, channelling my grief crept into my memory and so I told the man from the National Autistic Society that I would confirm whether or not I would do it the next morning.
That evening I felt anxiety creep over me, I wanted to do this – I wanted to say yes I’ll do it. However what if I couldn’t? What if I was being selfish spending time away from my children and husband to train for a marathon. I needed to discuss it with my husband, the Irishman, who gave me his full support and told me to go for it. The next day I confirmed with the National Autistic Society and was sent my official confirmation of a place.
I spent the next few days scouring the Internet for running tips for beginner runners. Admittedly at the moment I look nothing like an athlete or marathon runner. Coming from a sporting background a competitive swimmer at national level up to my 20s, I know what I need to do to train to get fit, however I know I have a vast amount of preparation and training to get me anywhere near marathon level.
My video diaries I have been keeping each week tell the story of my training. Starting off this first month with a simple plan to get me to a 5k I am happy with my first month. Averaging 3 runs a week, a swim and a strength training session, has put me in a good starting routine and I have made sure not to do too much too soon and kept it light to begin with.
Mentally I have struggled this first month. I will admit I was embarrassed the first week to tell people I had a marathon place. Embarrassed because I had a conception of what people would think when they looked at me and pictured me running a marathon. As I told people, I was secretly upset by some of the comments albeit laughing them off as I have always done. Many people laughed and said I was mad (granted) and some said it would be OK and that I’d be able to walk it…. they knew people who had walked it… lots of people walk it…. Those people who have known me a long time or since a child will know that I have an inner competitiveness that can be unbearable. Thankfully from the comments about “walking it” that inner competitiveness was reignited and the determination that can become slightly squashed by becoming a parent has started to come back in abundance. I vowed there and then that I would do this.
I have changed my eating habits, drew myself out a training plan and set myself realistic goals. The first few weeks I weighed myself only to be left disappointed that I actually gained weight. After measuring myself a few weeks down the line I found I had lost 3 inches of my waist and 2 from each thigh. I have made the decision to not weigh myself again for a while.
My clothes are already fitting better, my mind feels fresh and buzzing with new energy and I feel motivated. I decided to share my marathon place on my social media accounts and had some wonderful supportive messages from my followers which mean so much to me. I plan to document each month’s progress here as well on my Instagram account where you can find photos and videos tracking my journey with both ups and downs weekly.
The National Autistic Society is my chosen charity because of course my son is autistic and in further posts I will share and explore what the charity does and why it is so important to me. The link below is my just giving page for all sponsorships and I would love your support on my journey.