I’m running a marathon

I’m pretty excited about this statement.  But I’m also nervous.

I’m nervous that I won’t enjoy either the training, nor the actual race.  I’m nervous that I will get injured, or won’t get a time that I secretly dream of.  I’m nervous that I will feel under pressure and guilt laden with this time consuming personal endeavour.

But I’ve wanted to do this for a while.  And I’ve committed.  So here I am.  Future Marathoner… hopefully.

I’m agonising over choosing a training plan. 

As no plan seems to fit my myriad of life commitments.  I have to finish running 1000 miles this year, I plan to do Run Every Day (RED) January, I commute to the office 3 days a week on my bike (18 miles round trip), I work full time and run a business, I take Ellis to athletics on Saturdays and both boys to rugby on Sundays, throw in any number of school runs, play dates, and general family life (which is time consuming in itself).  Phew… So, on paper, I can’t do it, I’ve too much going on, my life is already full – too full to fit running and training for 26.2 miles.  No plan will ever fit me.

But I want it.  I want to try.  I want to see if I’m any good.  I want to give it, what I never gave my high school track and basketball teams – I want to give this marathon the preparation and dedication – so that I can succeed.

Complete it, yes.  But secretly I want a time.  And I think, I can do it. 

Everyone says first time marathoners should strive to complete and enjoy.  Yes, the easy route would be to publicly say this, to set this as my goal.  This isn’t my goal.  Maybe I’m emboldened coming off my 47:40 10KM time, my consistent half marathon times (often achieved with sub-par training), or the last 5 months of injury free 25+ mile weeks.  Yes, all these things give me confidence, where at the beginning of the year I lost it – defeated my advancing age, feeling every day – older, every day – slower.

But I’m 37.  I’m old, but not that old.  Those of a similar age (and older) have achieved so much. I’m fighting now, age need not define my running goals.  I’m not a super star sports woman.  I’m just me, very average, secretly hoping that I am not.  With the right work, the right plan, the right mix of something, maybe I could do something special.

Often people say goals should be achievable, attainable, realistic.  It’s a bit blah isn’t it.  Someone once said to me (in a business context, not a running context) – no one who sets their sights on running a 5KM ever ends up accidentally running a marathon.  And I like this.  Aim high.  Go for glory.  Give it your best shot.

So, what is the secret goal? 

Maybe the first step is making it less secret.  I’d love to get Good for Age (GFA) for the London Marathon. This means a time of 3 Hours and 45 Minutes.  If I can achieve that, it will be some kind of validation, that I am good enough.  That all the time and effort invested into training will be worthwhile.  I guess that is the Goal A.  But what is life without back-up plans (you know, to help you sleep at night, when things aren’t working out so well).  Here are goals, B & C:  Goal B is sub 4 hours, and the Goal C is to complete it.

Wish me luck.

Please share any great advice, plans, accounts to follow, I’m all ears and would love to know your experience.

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