This time next week I will have completed my first ever marathon!
Here’s what I thought would be the case when I first signed up:
1. I would have rigorously followed a training plan for six months
2. I would have done at least three, 20 mile+ runs
3. I would DEFINITELY feel confident because I was going to train so hard the actual race would almost be easy and I could glide along enjoying the views of giraffes and zebra, keeping my eyes keen for lions and rhinos
4. I DEFINITELY wasn’t going to under train and therefore not really enjoy it like my first half-marathon last year.
What has actually happened:
1. I’ve spent the last eight months getting up three times a week at 5.30am to go running, turning me (sort of) into something I’ve always coveted… a morning person!
2. I’ve sacrificed elements of my social life to the sad extent that, on occasion, my leaving the house for a weekend run co-incided with my flatmate arriving home from a night on the town…
3. I can now run a half marathon without thinking anything of it
4. I can even run 20 miles without TOO much kerfuffle
5. I haven’t actually run more than 20miles (six miles off the target…)
6. I haven’t run properly in around a month after a GIANT BABOON jumped out in front of me on the road during a long, Sunday run and scared me so much I fell over ripping my running trousers and cutting my knees.
My last training run involved Morven forcing us out during the midday heat on an Island in Western Kenya where we lasted about 15 minutes before having to hide under a tree for some frantically sought-after shade.
So my all-conquering confidence isn’t quite quite in place. But the excitement definitely is! For right or wrong I’ve decided to let myself just enjoy the run (crazy!) and can’t wait to cross the start line with the team: Morven, Kaz, Laura, Rich and Natalie.
On which note, I thought I had my training conditions hard: a new city, no after dark running, broken pavements, fume clogged roads, baboons, altitude, heat. But hats off to Laura and Rich in particular for training in a frozen Stockholm during winter for a marathon on the equator! Laura’s done a rather excellent blog on their progress you can take a peek at here: http://runlottierun.blogspot.se
All told, NOT training for marathon upon arriving into a new country might have left space and energy for some other things. But then I’d have missed out on some of my favourite moments here: running alongside the shore of Lake Naivasha in a pack of zebra with church singing wafting on the air, sharing a run with a man who went at least 5 miles with me dressed in a full suit and smart black shoes, sharing a companionable silence and then being thanked at the end for reviving his love of running, seeing cheeky blue-balled baby monkeys chase their mum around the park in the misty morning light, getting cheers of support from matatu touts hi-fiving me as I went past, admiring the actual genuine athletes and their incredible, effortless pace, earwigging my running club buddies’ stories of love and marriage and scouting for imaginary lions and elephants with a seemingly very deluded ranger in the Ngong Hills.
So Lewa here we come! Please let there be cheetahs on the line like last year…