Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Self doubt and inner voices

Training miles completed this week: 22
Total training miles completed: 172
Training miles left: 47 + taper off period
Training runs left: 10

Hello - happy Wednesday

Arduous, brutal, crushing, exhausting, punishing and tortuous.  I think I used the word 'grueling' last week to describe how running 16 miles felt.  These new words are more appropriate for how 18 miles feels.

I managed the distance in a not-utterly-unacceptable time of 3hrs 35minutes - essentially a 12 minute mile average.  But the actual run was possibly the most agonising thing I can remember doing.  The first 9 miles was OK (1hr 37mins) but the second half was best summed up using one of the words above.  I got to about 15 miles before I really felt like it'd beaten me - legs felt heavy, ankle felt stiff, agonising pain in my back and persistent cramping in my calf put me on the verge of tears.  I was in no fit state to really measure but I think I ended up running about 100 yards at a time and walking for distances inbetween.

I got in and for the first time actually said "I don't know if I can do this" out loud.  Fortunately, my incredibly understanding wife was able to talk some sense into me.  The doubt was there for a few minutes though and it didn't feel good. 

I'm absolutely under no illusions now about how difficult this is going to be, no misconceptions about how painful it will be or how mentally exhausted I'll be when I get to the end.  Making myself run when my mind is telling me I can't is beyond draining.  It goes against all sense and logic but I need to keep going now.  There are 38 days left until the marathon - that's not long at all and I need to stay focused until then.

Whilst that 18 miles gave me plenty to think about, there were a few positives that came out of it, and they need to be mentioned as much, if not more, than the battle with my demons.

Firstly - I actually finished the distance.  I may have walked a lot more than I would have liked, but I did it.  If I had to walk another 8 miles then I (probably) could have done.  Secondly, where I was convinced last week that I'd possibly brusied the bone in my foot, I managed the whole distance without even so much as a slight jolt of pain from that injury.  That's really encouraging.  Finally, for all the training I do, I know I can't replicate the actual event itself.  I'm hoping the crowds, the change of scenery and running alongside other people is going to give me a boost that I'll be able to put a decent performance in one the day.

For those considering backing me to win it (or to finish inside 5 hours) you might be best advised to keep hold of your money...

I think one of the reasons the run was so tough was that I got my blood sugar levels completely wrong at the weekend.  They were at a similar level when I set off to what they were the previous week.  But the level didn't drop at all as I expected and I managed the entire run without a single jelly baby to keep me going.  Whilst I may have hit the wall at around mile 15, I don't feel like I ever really got into a decent rhythm and I think my sugar levels might have something to do with that.  I've got 2 big runs left to try and sort that problem out.  Worst case scenario is that I have to test my levels around London, But I'd like to avoid that is possible.

More fundraising money has come in this week which is good news!  I've finally got a paper sponsor form to carry around, and my wife is drumming up support in here office as well.  Current total is £545 and I'm hoping I can break the £700 barrier before April 22nd.  I've given my close friends and family enough time to think about donating and now I'm actively calling that money in so I hope I'll be able to report another increase next week.  A number of people that follow me on Twitter have also pledged to donate which is incredibly kind of them.

One of the things that's really struck me is how unwavering the support has been for what I'm doing, particularly from people I've met perhaps once or twice, and in some cases, not at all.  Their belief and encouragement has been fantastic, and their willingness to donate money on the scale they have is out of this world.  It's that kind of thing that really keeps me going as the end comes into sight.

As always, all money that I raise is being split between Diabetes UK and The Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity - two very worthy causes. The Children's Hospital money will be going to help fund a summer camp for children with diabetes which is very worthwhile

I'd also just like to thank Ellie from Diabetes UK and Tonya from Sheffield Children's for all their help this last week - they do a great job deserve to be well recognised.

16 miles this weekend before a psychologically huge 20 miles the weekend after.  I can vaguely remember looking at those distances on the plan back in November and thinking how far away they were and how incredible it was to think I could manage those distances. 

The end is in sight now and I'm detemined not to let anyone down.

Thanks for reading - your support is incredible

Take care


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