I will...run a marathon
My first blog post was loosely based around the topic of why I was running the Marathon. I concluded, rather honestly at the time, that it was part vanity, part challenge. But as I've gone through the rigours of training, my attitudes and my goals have changed significantly. So welcome to my new 'why I'm doing this' post.
Why did I sign up to this? It has, at times, been my mantra as I've been out and about on the streets of Hertfordshire. I've been cold, wet, shattered, and grumpy, sometimes all at once. So have I put myself through all this only to run further in one day than some people will run in their lifetime?
I work for Hogarth Worldwide, one of SportsAid’s partners, and when an email came round the office showing the new ‘I will’ video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHlrkW8txZI) we’d helped make for the charity and giving information on some available places in the 2014 Virgin London Marathon I thought, why not? Well, one good reason is that 26.2 miles is a seriously, seriously long way. It takes time and effort put into training and even then you’re not guaranteed to even get to the start line.
Training for the marathon takes over your life. When I told people what I was doing they warned me of this, and my response was always ‘not me’. I’m a busy person generally, I’ve always got a couple of things going on a week so I’d already decided that training was going to be a breeze. Not so much. Training is a gruelling process, getting your body used to the amount of physical exertion it takes to get around a 26 mile course takes hours of effort each week. I started going to bed earlier, I was too tired to stay up late. I was getting used to waking up every morning with aching legs. My commute became problematic when I found stairs were difficult. That was December.
In January I quit drinking. For those of you who know me, you'll know that this was a relatively big thing. I’m not a heavy drinker by any means, but I work in Central London and going out for Thursday night drinks is a regular thing. Plus, I love a glass of good wine or a pint or two of beer and a chat or a DVD. These went out the window in my push for a respectable time, and credit to my colleagues they were supportive of (if slightly bemused by) my decision.
In February I disappeared from social circles almost completely. The training was well underway by now, but this meant running for hours at a time. My friends saw even less of me, and my ever-supportive girlfriend had to open the door after each run to a sweaty mess of a man who just wanted to shower, eat and sleep. I missed out on parties, and those that I did go to I left them early to get some more sleep!
So we come to March. I’ve been cold, wet, shattered, and grumpy (and as of last weekend, even sunburnt!). But through all this I’ve only had a glimpse into what is a ritual for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, both current and aspiring. I’ve tried to fit in my training around my working life, but if I miss a run it isn’t exactly the end of the world. The athletes SportsAid help through financial support are generally in full-time education. They have to juggle their training alongside school, their social lives, and growing up. I’ve taken time out for 4 months, for them it’s their livelihood that they’re putting on hold to pursue their dream of being the best at their chosen discipline. If I can help make anything easier for them then I will do, and if I get to realise one of my life ambitions at the same time, then even better.
So if you ask me ‘What will you do?’ my response is ready:
I will run a marathon.
Sponsor my London Marathon attempt at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/johnsmit