The London Marathon 2019 was meant to be my greatest ever achievement (kids aside) and the feeling of euphoria as I crossed the finish line after 26.2 gruelling miles, this from a guy who is 15 stone and not in the greatest shape of his life.
I had actually got into the 2018 marathon through the ballot, I only applied for a laugh after being goaded into it by a friend at work. I didn’t think I would get in, what are the odds for getting a ballot place, oh how wrong I was. So I didn’t train and didn’t bother my ass so I deferred to 2019. Once I had done this I was actually feeling positive about the whole thing, I had time to train and I thought it might something achievable if I was disciplined. So I started to research the whole thing, training plans, meals, snacks and how to fit this whole thing into my family life. After a bit I’d nailed it (well to me I had) I had the days I needed to run, the number of miles I needed to do and how to build it up from there. At this stage I need to point out my biggest achievements so far was a Tough Mudder, and a 10k road race. So running 40+ kilometres was another level. So off I go, early mornings, nights after work, weekends, sacrificing family time when I needed to. I mean I’m not going to be winning any prizes for speed or times but I’d found my rhythm, a pace where I was comfortable, where I felt I could run and survive a conversation and survive adding on incremental miles when needed. I’m not going to lie, some days were better than others, there were days I felt I could run miles and miles and there were other days where I felt like just 1 mile was destroy me.
For those that follow me on instagram you’ll have seen my first bump in the road came way back in July ’18 when I tweaked my back. It happened when I was on a run and bang my back went, could barely walk, and typically I was miles from the house. I did manage to waddle back to the house but dear god it was agony. Sleepless nights followed and I had to get this sorted otherwise I’m going to get behind on the training plan. Physio appointment followed and I got exercises to get me back on track, took 2-3 weeks but I got there. Didn’t knock me off my stride to badly, got back in to the running routine with relative ease. Game on, I’m back on track.http://www.dadlifekids.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_2809.mov
We’re starting to hit the winter months now, I can’t over emphasise how horrid the winter months can be. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s raining/snowing, you’re soaked through and you’ve still got 10 miles to go. Yuk, awful.
However you need to push through and keep going, I was surprised at my dedication if I’m honest, I was starting to feel passionate about running and achieving my goal.
I wasn’t going to run for charity, this was all about me and how I can dedicate myself to something so massive. As time went on and I felt like I was getting more confident in my running and the miles I was achieving I thought why not, let’s try and raise some money. I’d picked my charity and all I needed to do was setup a Just Giving page.
As this was all falling into place I started to get this pain in my knee. Every time I went out I’d get about 2 miles in and this pain in my left knee would appear, as I clocked the miles the pain would get worse. I was always able to finish my runs though. That was until the 1st January 2019, I went out but the pain became unbearable and I had to stop. So I made a physio appointment and went to see what the problem was. I got exercises to do and had to lay off the running for a week. Then back to physio, I got taped up and continue with the exercises and try going out for a run. Disaster, didn’t even manage to run 1 mile, never have I felt so deflated!! Back to physio, more exercises and still no running. As the time went on the more conscious I was on how my running plan was going out the window. Next physio appointment I went on the treadmill and got the same pain, at this point I’m getting referred to see a specialist. No running until my appointment with the surgeon, another week without running. I meet the surgeon, he’s top in his field and within about 5 minutes of seeing him he’s identified the problem and gives me the news I didn’t want. The marathon is over!! No running until after the surgery and the surgery won’t happen until after I return from Australia. The surgeon tells me to think long term, it’s about making my knee better and not running 1 marathon and my knee being ruined. I left that room crushed, deflated, lower than low. This was huge for me and I’d been steamrolled.
It took me a couple of days to get out of my funk, I slowly came round to the whole thing. I knew it was for the greater good but it hurt at the time, and that’s when it hit me. I actually enjoy this and running is my thing, weird, I’m not built to run. It’s not about the speed or winning, it’s about exercise, feeling good and just being out there.
Running to me was therapeutic it was a way to escape and de-stress. I’d never thought of it like that before, was always a chore rather than anything but as time went on it became something more. If I’d had a shit day at work it was feeling low or just generally crap or the kids were driving me mad then I found a run really made a difference. I’d put the headphones in and away I’d go, just me and the open run, I soon forgot about everything. It was a journey to another world where I let my mind wonder or simply empty it some days. I’d return feeling a lot better than before I went out.
Now running isn’t for everyone and some days I’m not sure it’s for me either, however what I can say is find something you enjoy, whether that’s running, walking, swimming, gym, hill walking, cycling it doesn’t matter. Whatever you do just enjoy and embrace it. For your health, for your physical state and mental state, everything will feel better. I say this when I don’t always practice what I preach but hey we’re not perfect, just do what you can do.
As for the London Marathon and my quest to do a marathon. I will apply through the ballot again and hope I get in. Short term I’m going build the running up after my operation and do a few 10ks once ready. After that build up to a half marathon and after that who knows. One day it’ll be a marathon for sure. Won’t achieve it before my 40th Birthday now but that’s ok. There’s always my 50th, 60th……it’s just a number at the end of the day.