I haven’t been as honest as I should’ve been, I’m sorry.
The Two Tunnels Half Marathon hurt, both mentally and physically. I could list hundreds of reasons why it didn’t go to plan but the truth is there’s only one reason that mattered; I didn’t take the challenge seriously. I became complacent in what a huge task running a half marathon is following the completion of my first ultra three weeks previously. My self-inflated running ego twinned with a hard week mentally resulted in me doing no running in the build up to this race. I had been in my own head so much that I talked myself out of every training run. When I did head out for hill repeats I got up the hill for the first time, decided to do no more and just walked home. I was surrendering in the face of no enemy because my heart wasn’t in it.
The simple fact is I should have been honest and said that my aim of two hours didn’t happen because my heart wasn’t in it. I let my mind convince me, as it did on the hill repeats, that I could give up my target and just walk it in. The aim of two hours slid effortlessly out of my grip and I finished in over two hours and twenty minutes.
And yet, after the race, I put on social media a myriad of excuses; that having to wait for a bridge being raised cut my time down and that I suffered in the heat. I said that I loved the race when the only part I actually loved was running through a 1.6km tunnel, which was at the start. I put a filter on the words I wrote as well as the photo, giving an unsuccessful day a rose tinted shimmer.
But why am I telling you all this? Why own up to something that no one had called me out on?
The truth is that while I hate the word influencer I know that because of you amazing people who are following my running journey I have a duty to be honest. I don’t want someone starting out and looking for motivation to look at my dressed up lie and assume it’s the truth. Going from being 20 stone and exercise phobic to where I am today in three years has been beautiful and brutal in equal measure and I have always endeavoured to be open about that ‘journey’ ever since the beginning. So when I have had tough run or a down couple of days I try to always talk about it because it is important to show all sides and I didn’t about the build up or the race itself. Talking to a few other running bloggers and Instagrammers this week they all agreed to being guilty of this every once in a while but that we should be more transparent when things go wrong.
“We are all stories in the end” is a phrase my grandmother and I used to talk about a lot when she was alive. Live an extraordinary life and once you are gone your life will live on in the stories people tell about you. While I hope the tales told about me are epic I also want my stories to be true. I want people to know I struggled more than I should, that I quit training schedules and food plans and that I surrendered to the darkness that stalks me more times than I can count. I don’t just want the story of when I completed one of the toughest 50 mile ultras in apocalyptic weather remembered but also when I stupidly ran the Athens Marathon way too early into my rehab for a stress fracture. During that race I was overtaken by hundreds of runners, the sweeper bus and tourists just out for a stroll because I was stubborn and reckless. I’m not ashamed of my failings, they are teachable moments for my future self but also to anyone listening. You can learn from other people’s failings so talking about your own is important. And while I may fall it has never stopped me from picking myself up and continuing on this adventure, no matter how slowly.
The Moscow Marathon is less than a month away and my dream of PB-ing is going to be hard to achieve. While my training since my ultra has been stop/start and this weekend I have been at a music festival so have consumed only beige food and drink (coffee, chips, pizza, beer, burgers, etc) I am determined to get my head down and train hard. Whatever the outcome I’ll be honest because it is what all of you deserve.
NEXT RACE: RunFest Kew Gardens 10K