And there we are. Walking along the seafront early on a splendid Sunday morning heading to the start of the Brighton half with cones set up to separate the runners from the spectators.
It already seems like a distant memory after yesterday's 15 mile run. FIFTEEN MILES! That is the furthest I've ever run in my life and I still can't quite believe it actually happened. From a stress fracture last year to a sprain last month it was touch and go whether I'd run the half let alone get to a place where I was running 15 miles. So the marathon is becoming a (frightening) reality.
But back to the half. I honestly loved it. Maybe because it was on home turf, or maybe because it was more a training run than a race, but it felt like a pumped-up social event – with a few (thousand) people pounding the pavement together, bumping into old friends and savouring the enthusiasm from the sidelines. As Christopher McDougall says in Born to Run: “The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other... but to be with each other.” I get that.
Of course the last couple of miles were hard. Really hard. But I'm assured that it will all start to get easier. Next week, when I do a 17 mile long run, 13 miles will seem like doddle. Or so I'm told.
Still, I'm enjoying it – or at least acquiring a fascinating and surreal sense of some sort of achievement. I'm so proud to be doing this for the MS Trust.
On a final note, I have to add what an advocate I now am of 'keeping the cadence up' (as my physio would say). Oh boy, did I resist this. 'My legs are LONG', I cried, 'so my strides should be HUGE!'. 'It doesn't work like that', the physio would say. After a long and stubborn battle, I concede that the physio is right. My knees/legs/foot wouldn't even be walking today, let alone bounding up stairs if I'd stubbornly stuck to Syd-Strides. I've settled at 175 footstrikes per minute – which isn't easy as old habits die hard – but I'm absolutely convinced this is the way forward.
Pretty much exactly like this: