My marathon journey has been an incredible one, from the moment I said yes to the offer of a place with Marie Curie. But, it hasn’t been without it’s challenges and there are some things I didn’t share along the route. Here are some of the things I’ve found hardest…
- Adjusting to training; when I first started (with 5km distances), I’d get home and my body would go into shock. I’d be freezing cold and struggle to warm up – I really questioned what I was doing!
- When I first started doing long sessions, I’d come home with the most agonising stomach cramps and struggled to find out or understand why… partly my body being in shock and partly hydration was the conclusion, but I’d often have to write off the rest of the day.
- Feeling quite lonely with training – I was lucky a friend was also training (but sadly had to defer) who I could speak to. Being introduced to a marathon training group on Facebook was brilliant – I had lots of people I could speak to and share experiences with! The miles of training around Aylesbury I still found tough though, even with music, football commentary, etc.
- Cutting out/minimising dairy intake – some aspects have been easier than others, but it has really helped my diet and overall health.
- Birthday cake – I put my full birthday celebrations (including my cake!) on hold during training.
- Cutting back on alcohol – not actually a hard one when you start. I’m not a big drinker normally at weekends anyway, but I definitely cut back and made different decisions.
- The pain and the fear – some pain was just “twinges,” some were true injuries. The fear of what is this, will I make it to 22nd April, what if… really were just horrible.
- The almost constant pain – for most of my training I was in pain even on a rest day. I got used to feeling a bit rubbish, but it was tiring.
- Hitting the mental wall on the day – it really was like nothing I’ve experienced and was incredible but horrid all in one.
- The pain on the day – once I realised it couldn’t get any worse I was sort of ok with it, but it took a while for my mind to realise things could not get worse.
- The state of my feet – peeling off my socks afterwards was an unpleasant experience and over a week on they are still painful, I’ve only just moved out of flip flops and they need lots of TLC. Having not suffered with blisters in training I did during the marathon itself.
- Toe nails – thankfully I currently have all of mine, but given the amount of pain I’m not expecting that to last…
- Not being able to walk – I knew that I would be stiff and sore post marathon but barely being able to walk at all on Monday was a shock (and scare). I could shuffle, ish, but holding walls, my suitcase etc were all necessary.
- Lack of sleep; I knew from others to expect pre marathon dreams, and I had a couple. But afterwards, I thought I would sleep well. I barely slept on Sunday night and Saturday night (the seventh after the marathon) is truly the first time I slept well.
- Appetite – I thought I’d be ravenous after the marathon and was excited to order a Dominos to the hotel, but when it came to it, I had to force myself to eat and my appetite took a few days to come back.
None of the above are complaints and it was definitely all worth it, but they were things I was not perhaps aware of or that I contemplated before starting. But, I would do it all again!