The road so far (or; deciding to run a marathon)

“So why do you want to run a marathon?”

Someone asked me that recently, when I first told them I was going to run the Dublin Marathon.

My first response was: “To prove to myself I can.”

But, after the conversation was over and when I was on my own again, I began to think it over. I realised I had to change my answer.

The real answer is: “Because I can.”

I CAN. And now, I will!

In October of 2013, when I was still fairly new to running, I went to cheer on the marathoners at the Dublin marathon.  I knew two people running that day and I wanted to support them.  I had very little idea of what a marathon entailed but I knew it was something big and something amazing.  It got me toying with the idea that maybe it was something I could think about doing.

So over the next few months, I thought about it. I thought about it a LOT.  I thought about it when I signed up for my first race.  I thought about it during every race after.  I thought about it when I watched the London Marathon, and the New York Marathon.  I thought about it every time I had a bad run; or a good run. I researched marathon plans, and read blog posts about marathons.  I thought about how hard it would be, how long the training would take, how much I would have to change and put into preparing for such a challenge.

It was ASD & Si from @100kmtoBrighton that clinched it for me. I know I mention them a lot on my blog, but that’s because they have influenced me a lot; without even knowing it  In 2014 I watched and listened as they prepared for a big challenge, a 100km run, and something about the determination they showed while training for it really got to me.  I suppose, in the simplest terms, I knew I had that same determination and decided I wanted to use it. No; that I HAD to use it.

So. That was it.  I was going to run the Dublin Marathon*.

But the October 2014 marathon was too soon, there was no way I’d be ready for it.  That year I went to cheer along at the Dublin Marathon again.  This time it was more emotional for me, more inspirational. Yelling out names and waving my silly sign as runners passed by me, I kept thinking ‘next year, I’ll be out there too.’

But to bracktrack a bit; in spring of 2014 there was no way I’d even be ready to TRAIN for a marathon.  I knew how arduous the training schedules could be! So that July I found, and met Michael, my personal trainer and signed up to work with him.  The day I met him, the first thing I told him was ‘I want to be a better runner’ and the second thing I told him was ‘I’m going to run the marathon in 2015’.  Michael has been amazing so far, supporting me, pushing me, challenging me, helping me, preparing me.  He has never shown any doubt in my abilities, whatsoever, and that is a huge confidence boost for me.

I also knew, very early on, that I wanted to give myself every advantage in taking on my first marathon. Which is why I knew I would be asking Shona Thomson to be my mentor/coach.  I had looked at the training plans available online and I really felt that none of them suited me or my abilities. I also knew that I would not feel confident enough to write my own plan, and that having an experienced marathoner like Shona (she ran the North Pole Marathon!) to write my plan and coach me through the training would be one more advantage that would help me smash the marathon.  She also has every confidence in me, and no doubt at all, that I can’t help but stay confident in myself.

I’m the kind of person who likes to be prepared.  Spontaneity isn’t my thing; kinda puts me on edge actually. My plan has always been to register for the race and start training this April 2015.  I want and need a long, slow build up to help ease me into the longer distances. I started training this week and the month of running planned looks good. It will stretch me but it’s doable. I’d say that from here on in, it’s all about the marathon, but in a way, everything I’ve done over the last year has been about the marathon!

Running the marathon was a choice that took me a while to make. But I have absolutely made the right choice.  To run a marathon.  To work with Michael as my personal trainer.  To work with Shona as my coach.  Sure it means making sacrifices in terms of time and budget and I know it’s not going to be easy! But with them on my side, I know I can do this.

The year ahead is going to be hard, crazy, amazing, painful, wonderful and everything in between.  And I am more excited about it than I can say.

I also want to thank everyone on twitter who is following me, tweeting me, encouraging me and supporting me.  Your belief in me as a runner has been a big help right from the start. Do you all know just how awesome you all are?

*I will be running the marathon for the Dublin Simon Community and I’ll be setting up a just giving page and blogging about it closer to the time.

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