Before all this Marathon palaver, you could pretty much guarantee that when the weekend arrived, if we were both in Manchester, Paula and I would run together. In fact, it was highly unusual for us to miss a mid-week run as well as a longer weekend jaunt. However, this has been a rarity lately and so it was great to get out there today with my original running friend.
I've felt quite bad recently as I've been avoiding running with Paula, and even in races told her off for trying to run with me! But it's all been for the greater good... the long distance running has really suited her and consequently she is much quicker than me and keeps a far faster pace than I'm able to. At first, I attempted to keep with her pace, and ability to increase her distance consistently from one week to the next. However, as injury struck I realised that this was silly; I was comparing myself to her, judging myself as a failure when I was unable to keep up and running myself into the ground trying to match her training regime and pace. So I stopped. I know this has been as strange for her as it has been for me; we've always run together. But as my distances increased and my training progressed, I realised it was necessary, and it worked. If nothing else, what I've learnt over the last few weeks is that it's important to 'run your own race'. Running is recreational to me and the London Marathon is an event I wanted to participate in for the sense of fun and achievement; I was never out to meet a set time, break records (some chance!), or compete against others, the marathon is my personal journey and as such, the training has to be also.
So, I've purposefully neglected Paula over the past few weeks - sorry Paula! - but in doing so, I think both of us have become more aware of our own abilities. Saying that, I've missed my running friend on the long plods around Manchester and so it was great to set off with her today... twice: we massively misjudged the weather, and wrapped up in running tights, coats and caps we were unlikely to have dropped down from heat exhaustion before we made it 10 miles, so we doubled back and dropped them off. With my old (not literally... although she is older than me... anyway...) friend back beside me, the sun shining in the sky and my legs screaming from the past weeks' work, the 10 miles flew by. I even tried out a fruity energy bar on the way and survived the experience - a new potential candidate for the marathon me thinks.
With just 2 weeks to go now until the big day, I'm starting to feel a little apprehensive. However, I'm being good - focusing on my nutrition, tapering my training and I've been working on my PRB; I know I can complete this. All of you, friends and family have been amazingly supportive too: sponsoring me, encouraging me, supporting me and even baking me good luck cakes - thanks Diane! So much so, I reckon that by the time I hit the tarmac in London on April 17th, I'll be filled with so much PRB, I'll be thinking I can win it! Well... almost!
Distance: 10 miles
Weather: sunny and windy.