I really haven't been feeling it this week. Training has been a little lacklustre, work has gone a bit insane with new deadlines and new urgent projects, and I've felt a bit more tired than usual. Getting up at 6am is never a pleasure, but it's been particularly hard this week. Going to bed earlier, of course, would be the solution, but when I think of everything I still need to do, sleep becomes impossible as the motor of my mind spins out of control long into the night.
I've only had a few moments of doubt over the past few weeks - mostly in the early weeks when building up some decent 10k runs was a bit of a struggle. But I'm really learning, in this whole process, to put into practice what I have told other people - not every run,be it training, race or otherwise, will be amazing. You can only do what you can with the cards you're dealt on the day. Sometimes it will be tough and you just have to ride it out and keep going. The bad runs have got me down a bit, and some of the training has been a bit taxing, particularly some of the interval sessions where I had to cover a distance in a certain amount of time. I would be disappointed if I didn't quite make the target (even if I only missed it by a few seconds) and get back from training, sweaty and exhausted and sore, wondering why on earth I was doing this to myself, and why on earth I thought I could do this in the first place. Am I really cut out for this?
On top of that, I was convinced there was something in the water in this fair city earlier this week. Normally I can cope with the more quirky of London's residents who start shouting random things at you when you walk past, and the commuting robots who ignore the "please don't smoke near the entrance to the station" signs; the throngs of gormless tourists who are oblivious to someone trying to get through their stampede; the cyclists who only just escape clipping us pedestrians when they decide to come up and join us on to the crowded pavement; the drivers who go through zebra crossings when you are in the middle of using one; recalcitrant school children who throw their trash mindlessly on the ground, oblivious to a garbage bin only metres away.....normally, I can cope with all that, but some days I see it all for the bullshit it really is and if people were just a little more thoughtful or, God forbid, obeyed the law, life would just be so much easier for everyone and it just gets me down a bit sometimes.
Or maybe I'm just too damn sensitive. Or turning into a grumpy old woman :P What would Chopper do, Phil?!
Whenever I need bursting out of the pity party, I watch this:
If you want the rainbow, you have to be able to cope with a bit of rain, as they say. Sometimes I need some crappy days to make me appreciate the good ones.
And when you don't take the easy way out, you have to expect some hurdles. The easy way out would have been to say to Lucozade when they rang in January - "oh, sorry, I have been sitting on my arse for the last few months and don't think I could do a marathon in 12 weeks. Thanks for asking though!" :P Was I going to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime just because I was scared? Because I'd got a bit lazy? Because I didn't think I could do it? No way!!
Anyway, things started turning around when I had a sports massage on Thursday evening - it was absolutely wonderful, and my sore spots feel looser and less restrictive. My therapist remarked on what good shape my body is in, considering what I've been doing for the last 8 weeks! She said that most runners who come to her, particularly endurance athletes, are quite mangled! There were a few knotty places - my hips and lower back - but apart from that, there are no pulled muscles, no strains or sprains, and no injuries. With four weeks to go, I am quite stoked about that. I read somewhere that 80% of a marathon is getting to the starting line injury free - if you can do that, you're nearly there ;) Let's hope I can keep this up. Friday's training was pretty good - I did my warm up in the pace that Coach Julia has set me for the half in Reading tomorrow, and the 3km intervals were pretty good! I felt good, and felt the frustration and defeatist feelings of the last few days melting away as my feet pounded the pavement.
And I also need to remind myself that I'm not doing this marathon to get a pat on the back. I'm doing this to bury any remaining notions I have in myself that I can't do whatever I set my mind to. I'm doing this to prove to myself that I have what it takes to endure and survive; that I am determined, persistent, and don't give up when there's a wall in front of me. That positivity, focus, joy and doing things for the right reasons will always win the day over negativity, excuses and quick fixes. Yes, I have my weaknesses, my limitations, my flaws and faults, but I can still achieve what I want to achieve in spite of those things. The marathon isn't for wimps, it isn't for people who think a half arsed effort is good enough, it isn't for people who think it's ok to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock of life.
I used to be one of those people, but I'm not any more.
On April 17, I will prove it, once and for all.
Onwards and upwards, fellow harden-uppers! :D