I just wanted to give you guys a quick update of what lies ahead in the next few weeks. If you have followed the link from my Instagram account to here, you will have seen my post from Monday 27th March. Here I announced that I was twenty eight days from my first marathon and first real step on my ultra-running journey.
Up until now the furthest I have run is twenty three miles. On the day in question I had set out to run for two and a half hours minimum, but with my usual caution to the wind attitude, this plan was promptly scrapped at the hour and a quarter point. I said to my self “Well, nothing hurts and to be honest you’ve taken it steady, so lets carry on” Long story short – apart from feeling famished at the end (Note to anyone using this as a potential training method; three energy gels, a handful of Haribo and 500ml water is not enough fuel!) my body felt better than after a hard 10K.
So on the 23rd of April I will be lining up at The Longhorn Marathon at Thoresby Hall. I did worry if this might give my identity away but I understand there will be some thousand odd other runners all doing different distances that day, so the chances of you guessing that I am actually who I am, is pretty slim. I suppose I should outline why I chose this event. Firstly it fitted into the schedule I had planned at the start of the year around my ultra, secondly and probably most importantly, is the terrain and setting of this event looked perfect. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this race, it takes place in the Nottinghamshire countryside around the historic Sherwood Forest. Knowing that everyone wants their “first time” to be special and memorable, to me it sounded like the an idyllic location for a marathon virgin such as myself, to pop my marathon cherry.
With less than four weeks to go my body and mind feel ready for the challenge ahead. A large part of me is approaching this as just a “test run” to see how my kit performs for a longer period of time, the other part realises that this milestone is a big deal for me and a lot of other runners all over the world, so I will embrace it as an achievement to be proud of. Although my ideas and challenges can be sometimes likened to the wet dreams of a sectioned lunatic, my preparations are never short of meticulous and methodical. I have come to the conclusion, from the experiences of others and my own, that its the small details that will get me through this first step and beyond. Something as simple as knowing that carrying my gels in a certain pocket of my hydration vest causes rubbing after two hours, but in another pocket all is well… are the kind of niggles I want to minimise on the day. Now a little bit of chafing I’m sure is to be expected but I know from lessons learnt, its the shitty little nondescript annoyance at mile five that really pisses you off and plays on your mind at mile twenty two, coincidentally right when you have just entered a world of misery and doom! It is this world I am trying to avoid at all costs, and so my preparation will be thorough.
Over the coming weeks I will keep you up to date with my preparation for this first race, from the miles on the trail, to the kit I will be using. If you guys have any questions or feedback then please leave them in the comments below and I will try answer them in my blogs.