My Marathon Journey…

Hi OKMT Supporters!

My name is Kate and I am going to attempt to run the London Marathon on behalf of OKMT.   As an archetypal slothful spud who hasn’t run anywhere for many years, I thought this would be an ideal mid-life crisis for me to have.

I have chosen to raise funds for OKMT as I have seen at first hand how disabled children can be lit up by the thrill of mastering or creating music, when music practice is made accessible to them.  

As the big day fast approaches I thought I’d share my journey with all of OKMT’s supporters.  If you would like to sponsor me then please do visit my fundraising page… your support would be fantastic to have!

Much love, Kate xx


2 weeks to go

The man in the running shop has introduced me to kinesiology tape, and showed me how to construct a kind of sports bra for kneecaps from it. I never knew it would feel so good to have tightly harnessed knees. If it weren’t so expensive, it would be tempting to wear tape every day to the office.


3 weeks to go

I’ve given up on creative running routes, and now just run a bit further along the river each week. This means I don’t have to think about where I’m going, which is helpful when the brain shuts down after a couple of hours’ running, when I can no longer recognise a road I’ve already run down, or distinguish a tissue from the curb. It would be even more rewarding if the river were straight, so I could aim for Westminster, say, rather than muddy Mortlake or Putney.


5 weeks to go

Running plans have gone to pot this week.  Sore toes, a wedding (not mine), and a deep desire not to go running in the snow again were amongst my reasons for bailing out.  However…monkey feet!
Apparently these socks are ideal if, like me, you have toes that give each other blisters, even if your shoes don’t. 
 
 

6 Weeks to go

It was very helpful to travel to the Surrey Half-Marathon with Paul, a recent veteran of long-distance racing since the London marathon last year, to calm my nerves and guide me through official race etiquette.  I felt like a pro remembering to take a bin-bag to wear at the starting line, but evidently runners don’t actually go in for that sort of thing in Surrey.  Much like memories of school sports lessons, I left my friend to take a place near the front of the starting line while I looked for the very back, and then went further back.  Despite being told that I would miss the atmosphere and potentially be mown down by an ambulance, I plugged myself into my headphones immediately, though I did make sure to thank and acknowledge every bystander along the route just in case they had wished me well. 
 
A couple of hours passed which I spent not looking at the pretty villages and countryside, but at the road and the empty packs of energy gel strewn across it by previous runners.  The final few miles seemed to drag on for at least another couple of hours, until suddenly the finish banner was ahead.  I was no longer able to summon a smile for anyone at that point, which I think the commentator duly noted as I crossed the finish line.  I had taken over 2 and a half hours and was in the last 200 of 3450 people, but I am thrilled to have it done!
 

7 weeks to go

It’s been an unexpectedly varied week. One run through a snowstorm had me blagging entry to a gym for a few days, where I watched snow whirling outside the window from a treadmill. Then on Sunday, as if the “beast” had never been, I ran along the riverbank to Putney in the sunshine. I’m gearing up for a half-marathon around Woking next weekend, as apparently it’s unwise to do a marathon without having done a shorter race before. The pre-race instructions advise that earphones should not be worn in case emergency vehicles need to pass by. Oh heck!! How else can I distract myself for three hours and drown out the sound of my own wheezing??


8 Weeks to Go

Inevitably, sunny ignorance is now giving way to mounting horror.   I took three hours to cover a miserable 14 miles at the weekend, and have blisters and collapsing knees to show for it.  Given that the marathon can be walked in 6 hours 15 minutes, this means I can look forward to being overtaken by all of the runners AND some of the walkers on the day (to say nothing of the people carrying washing machines etc).  I am feeling woefully inadequate to this challenge.   

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FEBRUARY

Two extra motivators this month:  for the first, I went to a Meet the Experts day laid on by Virgin Money for London Marathon runners.  There was so much information about training, nutrition, mental strategies, kit, the route and all the practicalities that I left with my head spinning, but I went straight to Decathlon and purchased some boxes of “gels” that look like the hangover of a 90s rave, and some proper runner’s running tights. 

The second boost is that my friend Anja has started joining me on my long runs, and I’ve found that nattering non-stop is a far better distraction from creaking knees than listening to the Rocky soundtrack.  That said, I’d love any recommendations for good running music because I’m getting horribly bored of mine….

 


JANUARY

1st January saw me out running the river path to Kew with newfound optimism, having finally managed 10K.  Unfortunately I, and many others, hadn’t thought about the tide.  In retrospect, it was probably quite funny that new years’ resolutions had led to so many people being marooned on benches or picking their way through knee-high water when they should have been running, but I wasn’t laughing at the time.  Now that my shoes are finally dry, I’ve bought a copy of Richmond Lock tide tables.

 


OCTOBER – DECEMBER

The first thing I noticed on signing up to run the Marathon, is that there don’t appear to be any Couch Potato To Marathon training plans.  A “beginner” training plan is designed for people who can already run 5 or 10K.  So October and November, and yes alright December, were taken up with striving for the point where I could actually rotate my legs continuously for half an hour.

This was a steeper learning curve than I was expecting.  I learnt that 10-year-old running shoes, even if entirely unworn, cannot be considered “new”.    I learnt that it’s helpful to have a Velcro armband for your phone, to avoid it skittering off in the undergrowth from your hand as soon as you start to run with any enthusiasm.  And most importantly, I learnt, from a straight-talking physio, to stop loping like a mule and relearned to run from scratch, prancing like a pony (or something).