I think it was watching Forrest Gump that set a seed for me wanting to be able to run all day, the only stocking point is that Ive never really “ran” Sure I’ve ran during playing football,basketball and such like, with bikes and cycling being my passion from an early age, but I’ve never tried this running lark..
It wasn’t until climbing buddy was making ever increasing fitness gains that I sucked it up rocked into blacks brought me a reduced pair of Ascis (I’m northern, gimme a break) and signed up for a half marathon 3 months away. The months slipped by and I was running 2-3 laps of my one mile loop the house, but I couldn’t go further. Not even in the gym could I bust past the 4 mile mark…
Even in 2008 before running a half marathon I’d done my fair share of long distance walking and thought I was fairly hardy and “knew Best” for prepping to run 13.3 around Derby. Thick Woollen socks, Lycra leggings (With shorts covering ones self!) A short sleeved rugby shirt (No seriously) and my ill fitting Ascics trainers. I was ready, nervous as hell but loving the vibe of being stood with all these other people at the start line waiting to start the challenge!
The horn went and off we went, Tim my climbing buddy was after a sub two hour time so left me for dust, I just wanted to keep going, take it in and get round… I managed to run until mile 6 so a huge bonus for me, I was sore, chaffing was setting in and I’d already blisters, (man thinking back to this its crazy the state I was in!!)
By mile 10 Mr Rubby Mc Rubberton was well in control I was hobbling like cross between John Wayne & Shaken Stevens (crap I’m old!) Mile Eleven and Twelve felt hours apart, then that magical Thirteen sign came round, we all know how that feels! Then I turned the final corner and see the finish, hear the cheers and people running past seem to splash motivation sweat all over you and drag you along with them, the last few hundred meters I was able to turn my waddle into a squishy squelchy jog that saw me over the line in 2.45…
My first medal I was thrilled, I knew I could go faster but my mind was overcome with pain from both my feet and both my front & back bottoms. Time to get changed to have some kind of correlation between the pain I felt and the way it looked. Well, I threw the cream over shorts and socks away, in fact the lycra went in the bin too, it was some time before it all healed up, I hadn’t realised just how visible it was, I must have been a laughing stock… Anyway, First half marathon attended and in some form finished although not so respectfully!!
They say the longer you leave it after a painful or traumatic experience the less impact it has on you, well, in our goodie bags was a leaflet for a KILIMATHON! I didn’t really know how far it was, I just knew it was six months away and It was Derby to Nottingham, mostly on a great route, through parks and off road paths. In true daft (I can do that form) me and Tim soon Signed up. Six months training, the goal was to finish in the same time I’d waddled across the half marathon line in……..
We had all summer to train and properly, learn what suitable threads were and get myself in a positive “mental space” about running, something thats stayed with me and has become my “adventure ace card” of having a stiff upper lip, I am British after all! So, I had a date, a goal, the race was localI knew most of the route for gods sake home turf advantage!
Trainings never been my strongest skill set, and although I was spending all my weekends in the mountains lugging my ass up and down over and over, I’ll never tier of Snowdon but even three summit Sunday’s after a while started to take its tole. Add to the pressure was our booking of Kilimanjaro and training for that, for which I just lumped a 40lb pack up and down 4 flights of stairs in my local park (yes it was secluded!)
I’d still not managed a training plan and couldn’t stumble up the effort to build up to running a half marathon prior to our 16.3 miles. I lined up next to Tim and he was injured, standard knee issues (Which have now ruled him out of most sports) I promised I’d stay with him and we’d plod through it together. Weather was hot and atmosphere was tremendous, come 10K and we’d had one water fight and laughing more than we were breathing hard! We crossed the half marathon mark in respectable 2 hours, I had massively smashed my previous time and experience, I was happy and my mind was drifting to smashing in a Sunday roast. Tim being Tim, hobbling knew I’d helped him to where we were and being bloody minded wanted to finish strong. He left me to plod on and enjoy crossing the finish in 2.35 and only a minute or so behind tim.
FUELING THE FIRE
I was now just enjoying running and knew I could plod on all day relatively happy if given food and water. Tim’s running days were well and truly over with no less than 8 knee ops his time to hang up shoes/boots and non motorised activity was upon him whilst I was just opening my mind to the thought of whats really possible…
It would be two years before I ran a race again in my new home of London..