We have some pretty weird and wonderful conversations in our office at work and we recently got on to our deepest, darkest secrets. OK, so not deepest darkest secrets exactly but those things that you’re a bit embarrassed about. You know, those little things that really aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things but you choose not to mention anyway? Yeah, those.
It all started when I was talking with a colleague about training for the Great South Run. I mentioned the possibility of changing things up a bit and riding a bike alongside his partner who is training with him. He told us he couldn’t ride one. He then proceeded to tell us how he was a bit of a naughty kid who never did what his parents told him. This included learning to ride a bike so it never happened. My other colleague told us that he wished he’d bought a car when he passed his driving test. He never got round to it and now, several years since he passed, he thinks back and wished he’d done it.
I said that I didn’t have anything like this. I was sure there wasn’t anything (aside from a few stories from university that I still laugh about now) that I neglected to tell people through embarrassment. Then I started to really think about. And I knew … I knew exactly what it was. So here it is …..
I never trained for the Brighton Marathon.
There, I said it. Ahhhhh, that feels better. Now, this is a bit of a funny one because my non-running friends will typically react with something along the lines of, ‘Wow, that’s amazing! You ran a whole marathon without any training? That’s a pretty big achievement!’. However, my runner friends would be more likely to go into shock while saying, ‘You didn’t train for a marathon?!’. I’m not really sure what happened but it all got a bit crazy before the event and before I knew it, it was April and time to run 26.2 miles. Let me set the scene for you …
It was the end of 2014 and I’d just decided to do a year of monthly challenges in 2015 as I already had my place to run in Brighton, and I’d just signed up to cycle London to Paris for Breast Cancer Now. I’d signed up with a good friend of mine and we decided to share the fundraising so, to do my part, I thought it would be a great idea to sign up to do lots of crazy physical challenges (Erm, 100 burpees a day in August anyone?!) to raise some money. I started the year with 100,000 metres of rowing across January and at least one mile of running every day in February. By the time March came around (a 5k glow in the dark run) it was too late.
Two weeks after I completed my March challenge, I took to the streets of Brighton, and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt more sick in my life! I think it dawned on me in that moment in amongst hundreds of fellow runners that I hadn’t trained enough but I’d made it to the start line so I just had to get on with it. I was so nervous I forgot to use the portaloo at the start, instead having to use one half way through the course on the seafront (I definitely could have dipped under 6 hours if I hadn’t stopped there 😂). Of course I made it and crossed the finish line to collect my medal but I was walking at the 4 mile point and from there on in it was walk/run all the way which is something I’m not particularly proud of.
Disclaimer: Of course I would never recommend not training for a marathon and you should always build up to running this distance!
26.2 miles is a really long way and it’s always best to get advice, work with a trainer or even download a 12/16 week marathon training plan (I’ve done all three in preparation for Berlin). I’m feeling a bit more confident than I did two and a half years ago and, unless something drastic happens, I’m looking at not only beating my time of 6 hours and 5 minutes but getting the sub-6 hour time that I had originally wanted. I’ve done a lot more training this time and have reached 18.2 miles on a training run around Portsmouth. I’m pretty much ready to get the start line just inside the Brandenburg Gate.
As for the Brighton Marathon? Well, I definitely have unfinished business there and would love to return to give it another crack! I know I can do better and conquer those hills with a bit more confidence.
Berlin – get ready for me. Brighton – I will be back.