Marathons are like buses, just when you least expect it, two come along at once, or at least that’s how it feels at the moment.
No sooner was London over I was getting ready for Edinburgh and it’s safe to say training has been a lot harder than I thought. In my naivety I assumed that I’d happily toodle between London and Edinburgh is a fug of self-confidence and awareness that I’m an awesome marathon runner, never did I realise the truth swayed between self-doubt, exhaustion and the post-marathon blues.
Let’s deal with each in turn:
Self-doubt – I find that running is a regular battle between my head, my heart and my legs, some days it’s easy, some days it’s hard and on even better days it makes your heart sing. Post-London it’s been hard, hard to run, hard to fight the “I can’t run demons” and hard to keep going. For some reason Edinburgh seems like a bloody great mountain after I’ve already climbed a bloody great mountain and that’s kicked my self-doubt into overdrive. For the first time ever I’ve battled some really hard runs and have even resorted to ringing Tommy to come pick me up when I let the demons win. I started to worry that I’d lost the ability and desire to run and for some reason wasn’t going to be able to run Edinburgh. Yesterday’s run started off badly, my thigh ached, my glutes ached, I didn’t think I’d make it to 3 miles never mind 19, I wanted to call my dad and get him to pick me up, I said I was going to defer Edinburgh. I basically bitched and moaned my way through the first 13 miles and poor Tommy had to listen to me all the way, until suddenly I realised I was running and it was okay, my pace was marginally slower than London but as I ran I started to leave my self-doubt behind and remembered that running is no more than putting one foot in front of the other and distance running is just repeating that over and over again. In the end I beat that 19 miles and ran, yes it sucked, yes the hills were hard, but I did it!
Exhaustion – as a novice marathon runner I hadn’t realised just how exhausted you feel when you run a marathon. It’s odd because it took a good week or so for the exhaustion to hit, suddenly everything felt heavy, tired and both physically and mentally knackered. It’s safe to say it’s taken a good week or two to recover from the wave of exhaustion that hit which allowed the self-doubt to creep in at a time when I needed to carry on building endurance and finishing off my Edinburgh plan (and you know I like a good plan).
Post-marathon blues – this was a bit of a surprise for me and something I hadn’t really expected. If you think about it sensibly it’s perfectly normal to experience some blues, you’ve spent months training, you panic, you worry, you laugh, you cry and then in 4:34:56 it’s all over, your plan tells you not to run but by this stage running is a big part of your life so you carry on. At some point the blues are going to hit and when they hit me it was at the same time as full-on exhaustion and full-on self-doubt which means it became a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle of doubt, exhaustion and blues.
Whilst the last couple of weeks have been tough and at times I’ve wanted to wimp out and get off the carousel, I’m now through the other side and after conquering yesterday I know that I’m going to conquer Edinburgh (I’ll do anything for a good tech top and a medal!).
Edinburgh may not be pretty but you know what?! I run marathons, this tough old bird is just going to keep repeating “suck it up buttercup” and succeed. Then it’s time to briefly breathe before starting to prepare for New York in November as well as having a couple of months of running with friends and enjoying every step and run.
Watch this space because this girl isn’t giving up anytime soon!