With Barcelona marathon looming on Sunday (how did it get so close?) the one thing I have been constantly asked this week is “how are you feeling about it?”
It is a question I have absolutely no answer to.
I have almost no feelings about it at all other than a vague sense of unease and some tiny rumblings of excitement. I just have NO idea how to feel about it, or what it is going to be like.
I know it will hurt (hopefully the pain will hold off until mile 18). I know it will be hard. I know my ankles and probably my knees will be screaming at me and I will have blisters and chafing in wierd places.
But I don’t really know what that will feel like.
Something I don’t know at all is how I will run. Will I be able to run at my PMP (4 and a half hours)? Will I be able to finish at all or will the pain and the lack of training due to my knee injury stop me in my tracks? Will I limp/ hobble/ walk to the finish well after my aimed finishing time? And if that happens, will I still be happy?
What does it feel like to run for that length of time, that distance, for the very first time?
If anything, how I am feeling is curious.
The one thing that you have absolute control over is your own thoughts.
1. Trust in my training. Okay it hasn’t been ideal, but I was running strong before my knee derailed me, I’ve kept up cross-training, 18 miles alone on a cold winter’s day in London (so cold the pond was frozen) wasn’t actually that hard. Six weeks later I am ready.
2. Concentrate on performance goals – those that I can control. My performance goals are going to be to think positively, and keep moving forwards. And to keep repeating “the more I run the sooner it’s over the more I run the sooner it’s over” whenever the urge to walk takes me!
3. Linked to that – “my mind controls my body“. Another favourite quote of mine.
4. And finally – concentrate on the mile I’m in. A marathon is really long and all I can do is focus on the current mile, not think about what it might be like in 10-15-20 miles time.
Mental strength is going to be super-important.
I really do want to finish. As I’ve just started a new job (same company, different country), and have told people I’m going to Barcelona this weekend for the marathon, I have become known as the “girl that does marathons” despite how often I try to tell people that is not true! And one reaction when you tell people you’re about to run one is “that’s incredible!“. Well. Not yet it’s not!!!
On the other hand, I was talking to a group of the secretaries at work about the fact I was running a marathon this weekend. One lady asked me how far a marathon was, and when I told her, said “you’ll get to see most of Barcelona then. That sounds like quite a long way”. You get so wrapped up in it that you forget that other people have absolutely no idea of what a marathon even is.
A lot of focus, a big smile, and a little bit of perspective.
That’s what I need for the weekend ahead.
Wish me luck!