Sunday, 7 October 2012

13 miles of awfulness

I've surprised myself.

I'm rather like my sister in that we both have fads that last a nanosecond before we find another far more interesting one. She moved from learning Japanese to horticulture to tap dancing within a month and I'm sure she won't mind me saying that. The one thing we did stick at together was learning the Charleston which, I'll have you know, is actually very difficult. Plus you never get to display your skills in public unless you deliberately engineer a 20s themed fancy dress party at which you're the only pair dancing.

Anyway, the point is, today was the long awaited and much dreaded half marathon. Given that I've spent two out of the last three weeks away from home and probably peaked a bit early in my training, it didn't go too badly. I started the week with an enforced version of the Atkins diet. I've never fancied doing that because apparently it makes your breath smell but by far the worst thing about not having any carbs is the rabid hunger that comes with it. No matter how much fruit or omelette you eat, you cannot fill up. Plus the very fact that you can't eat carbs makes you want them even more. Never has a child's soggy marmite on toast that's sat on the floor for 3 hours looked so appetising. The sogginess was from my drool as I gazed lovingly upon it from my bowl of melon (3 types just to make it a bit more interesting).

After that followed three days of carbo-loading. Given that I spent three days desperate for the pasta-fest to start it couldn't have been more disappointing. I was so delighted that three days of protein-only had shed me 3lbs that by the time I was officially allowed to eat again, I didn't want to. I felt my face balloon into the shape of my breakfast as I forced down my marmite bagel. Followed by toad in the hole for lunch and lasagna for dinner. Come to think of it, perhaps that was overdoing it a little.

So, the morning finally dawned. After a bowl of porridge the size of Lake Victoria, I crawled onto the Jubilee line at Stratford looking forward to a nice sit down. It seems 5000 other runners also had the same idea - so I stood, wishing I hadn't lost those 3 lbs and still looked 7 months pregnant. And when I got to the race area, I stood some more in the mile long queue for the toilets which incidentally is all psychosomatic. No-one needs the loo that often.

There was no turning back then.  I stood at the start, gazed at the heavens, muttered " I hope you appreciate this, mother" and set off. And, wow, how easy it seemed. It looks like living in an area of unfeasibly steep hills pays off when training for a race on the flat. My hips gave in, my toes started to hurt (strange) but I swore I wouldn't even think about walking until 10 miles and then I made a terrible mistake. At ten and a half miles I reached round to try and remove the super-power-giving gel pack (that The Boy had lovingly donated) from my back pocket and found it had stuck to the jelly babies I had been storing to give me energy. In order to get energy you're supposed to eat these things, not just store them, but I hadn't been able to because with all the sweat and heat I was giving off, they had fused into one gelatinous mess. So I had to walk while I tried to remove the gel pack, wrestle with it's tab and try to stop myself from gagging on it's vile, warm contents. I looked at a poor guy prostrate on the floor being attended to by paramedics and thought "you lucky sod, you're having a lie down". Hope he was ok. Walking made my legs seize up so it was an almighty effort to get started again but what's the choice? Crossing that finishing line was the best thing I ever did. And then my sister thought I was having a heart attack. Nothing a nice cold pint didn't sort out though.

And now I'm home and I can eat what I want and drink what I want and wallow in a nice hot bath.

And then the real world will begin again tomorrow. But at least I have proved to myself that I can decide to do something new, train for it and do it.

But I've turned down the London Marathon the charity offered me for March. Don't want to let a good thing go bad.
Sorry, no photos, too tired! And before you ask - 2 hours 18 minutes....

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