About me

Me: Usual past time before running. 

I was the girl picked last for sports. Let's get that out in the open from the beginning. Between birth and aged 35, I partook only in school sports classes once a week and some pre-adolescent swimming.

My friends are not too sporty. I know some people who ride bikes, joined social sport things and lived with and sat next to people who ran marathons. I cheered one once. 

Then a lot of friends and family started dying. You know, long slow deaths like cancer. And you try and do stuff to equate to their suffering. Of course, it's nothing like, it's part of the grieving process. And we're only talking 5km here and there. So I did a run for prostate cancer and Race for Life and I thought, hey maybe I could run one of these things without stopping. We're still talking 5kms here. 

I also started walking. Walking is good if it's nice weather and you work in a palace and you've got no particular place to go. Which is what I was doing at the time. I walked from Walthamstow to Green Park. I walked canals. I shunned the tube and walked. And with another death, I entered Maggies Night Walk which at the time was 20 miles in the middle of the night. I came equal fourth woman to finish. I found my competitive spirit, because really that is not a race. The only  girls to beat me were Nordic professionals. 

Many months later, I sat on my bed surfing the internet and found I had entered one of the world's fastest marathons as a walker. Many months later, I bought some kit. Many months later, I started training. Weeks before the marathon I realised I had covered my last 20 mile training by running all the way. I changed my entry to runner. Or actually "laufer" in German. I finished the Berlin marathon, very slowly, in tears. It was very hard, very humbling but well worth the tshirt. 

A year later, I completed Athens marathon, smiling. I still think the learning is humbling. But the distance is achievable. It's never the distance alone that will kill you. So if you're 50 stone, or a chain smoker or you've never exercised or even finished anything in your whole life, I want this blog to remind you, you can do it. It might take a few years. But it's so within your reach. The thing you learn from running a marathon is the same as eating an elephant: first cut it into pieces... 

Post script: since starting this blog, I've run three marathon races, one on my own for training, one 50km race and am now tackling triathlon. Yep me. The gin drinker picked last for sports. Come join me. The physical exertion may look crap but the mental buzz is addictive.