The Great Marathon Adventure

Well, it has been a long time hasn’t it? What’s that you say? A good few years… Well yes, I have been very busy doing things, mundane things, but now I’m back to tell you about my adventures!

I’ll start with the story that lead me here, to telling you about what I am doing and why. It links with many of my previous posts from when apparently I had M.E. – like this one.

I didn’t have M.E.; what training for that half marathon taught me is to ALWAYS trust my gut feeling. Always. Because I realised that if you can train for a half marathon and still function, whilst apparently having M.E., then you probably don’t have M.E.

I changed my doctors’ surgery and spoke to a very understanding Doctor. He actually listened to my story and took me seriously (which in my experience in the UK is the exception rather than the rule) and yes, he filled me with more holes and stole my blood, but in the end was a proper, real diagnosis. Coeliac Disease.

I do not know how many times when I had been told I had M.E. that I had just wished for there to be a way for me to make it simply better. Having an answer was incredible and from that moment in I embraced having to go “gluten free” because here was a simple way to make myself well.

It wasn’t so simple though, which is where Coeliac UK come into play. Coeliac UK are an absolute boon to the newly diagnosed. They’re the oldest and largest charity which helps to support, campaign, research, you name it, for people with coeliac disease and they were so helpful in my steep learning curve of going “gluten free”.

So on the 6th of April 2014 I’m not running a half marathon, I’m running a full marathon, the Brighton Marathon, to help raise money to support Coeliac UK. That’s 26.2 miles of sweat and probably tears and I’d dearly appreciate any and all support in doing so. I’m loving the adventure (yes really!) and the challenge and I hope to share a bit of it here with you, if you’d like to join me.

raise money for Coeliac UK. That’s 26.2 miles of seweat and a few gallons of tears


Some rules of life… (My life anyway)

1. It’s all about pace

As you are probably aware, I’m training for the Cardiff Half Marathon (you should sponsor me!)
I’m a runner. Have been since I was about 12 when something went *Pop* in my head on a cross country course at school and I thought, “I can do this!”

It doesn’t mean I’ve always run, but it means that I can and I do (now) and that it brings me peace of mind. Once I’ve set up my pace, providing I don’t get out of breath, I can plod along quite happily, with my legs feeling strong and capable and taking me along.

Ask me to run faster than ‘my’ pace, get me out of breath, and I’m beat in about 100m! It means that training with anyone else is tricky for me as I try and match their pace. I’m learning, pretty quickly, that the key to achieving this goal and my distances on my training plan are to simply stick to my pace.

I’m not that comfortable asking others to stick to my pace yet, so I mostly train alone or in situations where the others can do their own thing comfortably as well. But that is a whole other post.

Of course it’s occurred to me that this is a pretty strong metaphor for life.

In other words, you can do anything; go anywhere as long as you stick to the pace that’s right for you.

For me, I’m coming to realize (ever so slowly and in the tiniest baby steps) that my pace is slow and steady.

I feel deeply, I think an awful lot and this means that in order to not be totally overwhelmed by it all I need to take things slowly, making space to find out just what I think and feel about each thing that comes up.

Rushing and impatience, although tempting and almost second nature to me, get me no where other than three steps forward and two steps back. Frustrating and not all that constructive, or compassionate at that!

2. Attitude is everything
Oh how boring! How many times have you heard this old chestnut? Positive thinking, positive expectations, positive intentions – BLAH BLAH BLAH and if I may say so – eff off.
Not my point. At. All.

Again a running metaphor.

Signing up to this marathon scared the bejaysus out of me. I didn’t think I could do it.

I am not the type of person who gets all gung ho about a challenge and proving stuff to myself. Most of the time I think I cripple myself with self doubt.

The first time I set off to run five miles? I was worried the whole day before that I was asking too much of myself.

What if I ran out of steam? What if I set off an attack of the tireds? What if I injured myself? What if, what if, what if?

Turns out that by setting the right pace (see? Do you see how beautifully this all ties in?) I did it with absolutely no problems at all. I was not even out of breath by the end!

Tired, yes, exhausted and crippled, no.

Then yesterday as I plodded away on the treadmill (seven miles on a treadmill leaves you ample time to think about a LOT of things) I realized that my belief about myself is that I am a quitter.

That I don’t achieve anything because I quit, because I don’t believe I’m an achiever.

Can you believe?


You can imagine all the Whizz! Pop! Bings! that were going off in my mind after realizing that and where it all comes from, and oh boy do I know where it all comes from.

Needless to say, it’s something I want to bring attention to, because it’s luggage I don’t feel I need anymore.

3. Take it one step at a time

When you’ve only ever run three miles, imagining thirteen and a half feels unbelievably overwhelming.
Running four though – that seems do-able.

Then once you’ve done four, five seems quite possible too.

Once you’ve done five, you imagine that you will quite like to see if you can do seven. If you can only do six then fine, but maybe… just maybe… you have seven in your legs.

Once you’ve done seven you realize you are over halfway there.

You begin to believe.

So if you’re starting up a new business? Trying to work out how to make it work so that you can bring in one month’s rent may seem totally overwhelming. But perhaps just one sale and then two?

Or any other goal or decision for that matter.

Do I want to see this person? You don’t start asking your heart/ god/ whatever you ask if this person is the meaning to life, the universe and everything to you. You simply ask, “is this for me right now in this very moment?”

4. Trust your tools. Trust yourself.

Running shoes – I will and do spend good money on them.
Not vast amounts, because I am not made of money and besides I do not actually think you need to.

Comfort and support are absolutely vital for me in my shoes and that is all.

If I doubt my shoes, if they are unsuitable for the job, give me blisters, don’t support my knees properly etc then I do not feel confident going out for a run, let alone a testing run.

Make sure you have good support systems in place, both internal and external.

Good support in training, encouragement and help with niggles – absolutely vital.

Good support in business… you are getting the hang of it.

Good support through friends and family…. You see? You see?! It is all transferable to personal life.

Know yourself and trust yourself. Know your limits, your buttons and listen to them. Trust the feedback you get from your body.

Pain, like fear needs to be listened to, but not necessarily pandered too. Perhaps you need to stop and stretch rather than give up completely.

Learn this about yourself and then trust that you do actually know what you are doing.

Be prepared to work with yourself instead of against yourself. Your pace is your pace and that pace is totally acceptable.

Start slow, start gentle and take care of yourself each step of the way.

It is not guarantee for success, it is not always easy, but it makes things more comfortable.

5. Warm up and Cool Down!

Heh heh heh! That is probably only hilariously funny to me.
But seriously, I do not like attempting any run without a good warm up and stretch and if I don’t cool down – well I probably struggle to walk the next day.

Make sure you give yourself space to work up to the “Big Thing” and space to stretch and let yourself recover from the “Big Thing” before throwing yourself into the next “Big Thing”.

As you get fitter, your recovery time gets better. Your muscles can cope with more and remember how to recover. Oh you also have more scar tissue but you work with that through stretching and stuff.

So it is with my personal life. As I get more in touch with myself, as I trust myself and have more compassion with the hard, the more self accepting I am – the easier the Hard is to process.

I resist less.

Life continues to deliver its goods and I will inevitably get hurt from time to time. New wounds will open, old wounds will be prodded but I heal faster and support the healing process better as I come more familiar with what works for me.

Who’d have thunk huh? All this for a £1.70 gym session, a treadmill and a pair of shoes doing the same thing over and over!