It’s been 22 days since the Thames Path 100.
I’m still incredibly proud of what I achieved in that race, and find myself taking my hard-earned buckle off the shelf every now and again, just to have a look. It’s a reminder that it wasn’t a dream…that it really was me who set myself a seemingly impossible goal back on 30th June 2013, and just over 10 months later, absolutely achieved everything I’d hoped for and more.
However, I haven’t really done any training since crossing that finish line, and it’s been surprisingly hard to find the motivation to get back on track. I know that my body needed time to recover from the effort of that distance, but to be honest, considering how I felt physically, I could have returned to running regularly after about 10 days, which would have given me enough time to prepare for my next race, the Kent Roadrunner marathon, which is on 31st May…now just 4 days away!
However, despite feeling guilty every day about not training, I’ve only run 13 miles in the last three weeks and been on one 19 mile bike ride. I’ve been eating everything in sight and generally not looking after myself at all. It really is too easy for me to relax into being incredibly lazy and gluttonous and I can see how my weight crept up to 200lbs (that’s over 14 stone) back in the day, which on my 5’5’’ frame really wasn’t healthy!
However, I am determined not to let myself be that person again - I have worked too hard and come too far to let myself falter now.
There were a lot of races being run this last weekend, including Hardmoors 160 and the Grand Union Canal Race, both of which saw friends of mine toeing the start line.
I avidly followed them throughout the weekend, and was able (remotely) to share the heartache of gut-wrenching DNFs, the jubilation of awesome finishes, and the general enjoyment that comes from the camaraderie of runners (and crew and marshals) taking part in such epic adventures. It reminded me just what I’m missing out on by sitting on the sofa every evening, watching TV and stuffing myself full of crisps and chocolate. It was, without a doubt, an inspiring weekend and last night, I realised that enough is enough.
I’ve decided that I am going to run TP100 again in 2015 and I’m going to enter the ballot (drawn in early November) for a place in the GUCR – a race that I’ve always considered to be far beyond my abilities, and to be honest, still do, but I strongly believe it’s important to push my limits and find out what I’m really capable of. Also I’m currently at 50 marathons but by this time next year I hope to be celebrating number 75. I have to have big goals. GUCR is one of the biggest there is.
If I am going to really give both races (and all the others in between) my best shot and the necessary commitment, I can’t afford to lose anymore fitness than I have already let slip through my fingers, and more importantly, I can’t afford any more damage to my mental strength and motivation levels…I swear the sofa just saps them out of me!
I feel stiff and achy, and not in a good way from too my exercise, and I’m not sleeping well. As I said, I feel constantly guilty, am struggling more than usual with the stress of work, and I’m just not feeling good about myself.
So, today is a new day and my training for my next challenge will start now. Aside from my long term goal of the big races next year, I have the Stour Valley 100km in 12 weeks’ time – it’s a distance I haven’t run before, and much more hilly than the TP100 course!
This weekend's marathon is inevitably going to be hard work with my recent lack of running, but I will complete it, wearing my TP100 finisher T-shirt with pride, and just take the pain that the 26.2 miles dishes out, as the kick I need to get back to what I do best!