When I decided to enter the VLM, my plan was to enter loads of 10k and several half marathons as part of my build up. I wanted to start around October so hunted around for a suitable half so I could see how far I’d come and to start planning the rest.
The Bisham Abbey Water for Life perfectly fitted the bill. It was months away, loads of time to prepare, and I was sure I could persuade someone to join me.
Well no – on all counts.
Suddenly the day arrived, I didn’t feel prepared, and I didn’t know anyone else.
I toyed with the idea of throwing a sicky, but was too afraid of Charlotte to even try.
So at 10:00 I lined up with about 300 others on a perfect day -dry, sunny, cool- on the most beautiful course I have been involved with. Most of it on the tow path, through woods, water meadows , fields. With the colours turning on the trees, and the sun coming down, I was so focused on the scenery I almost forgot I was running!
I was very aware that the majority of runners were in front of me, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to get caught up with others, I had in my head what I wanted to do and that was too beat my Bracknell time and not collapse in a heap at the end.
I had really thought about fueling properly this time. So I had come prepared with jelly babies (1 each mile) and carried an isotonic drink.
After 9 miles of running I came to the first proper hill. I made a pact with myself that I could walk up, but only if I was faster than if I had run. So I strode up that hill as fast as I could. As that worked, when I came across another hill, or felt I needed a break, I walked at speed until I could run again.
I was also careful to have the occasional puff on my inhaler before I felt breathless.
I realised after 11 miles that if I kept going like this I would smash my Bracknell time.
I came in at 2:46. 15 minutes faster than Bracknell and 8 minutes faster than my only other marathon 15 years ago.
By the end I still felt I had miles left in my legs. I couldn’t have gone faster, but I could have gone further.
Only 3 people came in after me, but I can genuinely say I didn’t care. This was my race against me.
There are exactly 6 months to go to the marathon. I now feel confident and ready to start training ‘proper’.
6 months to double the distance. No problem 😨