I arrived home to my Manchester Marathon bib this week. Seeing the envelope nestling in my letterbox I knew instantly what it was - but still ripped it open with the excitement of a small child! This excitement was soon washed by the more grown up realisation of what this little piece of paper actually meant – running 26.2 miles around the streets of an English city, trying to enjoy the experience, whilst also wanting it to finish as quickly as possible (for PB purposes!), and spending the majority of the time in considerable levels of discomfort. Was I still excited? Strangely yes!
The final countdown is really on now; this is my last week of relatively high mileage, leading into a two week taper. I am looking forward to the taper but also know I am going to find it very strange not running as far; it’s almost become routine now to expect to be heading out for 7/8/9 miles on a weekday evening. Thinking about it, the taper instills me with almost as much fear as the marathon itself.
On the other end of the spectrum, I feel relatively relaxed about the whole marathon day process at the moment – which at the same time is starting to concern me! Why am I not stressing about how to get to the start line? The London Marathon last year was the first time I had run in a race outside of my hometown, so I guess the fact I could not just roll out of bed and walk to the race village was entirely new to me. I have completed a lot of races since London last year, so maybe I am just more seasoned to it all now…
The marathon itself I am trying not to think too much about. I have felt best in training when I have just put my trainers on and ran, the more I have thought about a run beforehand, often the harder it has seemed. My pace has impressed me in training at times; it’s on target for the sub 4 hour time I am dreaming of. I know I need to try and take this confidence and self-belief into race day – which, as the little piece of paper in my letterbox has confirmed, is not far away!