A couple of weeks ago I received the news that the Milton Keynes marathon was being postponed from the beginning of May to the end of June. Normally this news wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but the MK marathon is the start of my 5 in 5 for Mind challenge, so I had to decide whether to postpone the whole thing or not.
While I was a little disappointed, my general feeling was that it was good news because it would give me that bit more time to prepare, so I decided to delay my challenge in line with the new date for the MK marathon.
The new start date for the #5in5forMind challenge is Sunday 27th June 2021.
It’s amazing how time likes to play tricks on you, especially when you’re planning an event; you go for ages thinking you have plenty of time, and then there comes that point where you realise that the event date is closer than you actually think it is; you have been lulled into that ‘there’s plenty of time’ trap!
I had that realization literally a couple of days before getting the notification of the delay, and I had started to panic that I didn’t have enough time to prepare myself and my body properly for running 5 marathons in 5 consecutive days.
So many thoughts had started to rush through my head; I only had four weeks to go, and I really didn’t feel ready. As well as speaking to Stephen Pack (the sports psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire) I also wanted to speak to one of his colleagues about nutrition and recovery, and it felt there wouldn’t be enough time to do it.
I also wanted to do a trial marathon distance, just to get my head around the experience, as it was 2019 when I last ran a marathon (the first and only one), and I needed to know what it felt like both during and after the run.
It’s really important to me to get as many people as possible doing their own 5 in 5 exercise challenge, and I felt I hadn’t done enough work on that either and it would be a flop.
I had an idea for the fifth and final marathon of the challenge, which due to the logistics and planning I had decided to shelve because of the timing, at least now I can investigate this again to see if it’s an option.
So yes, the news of the delay meant I could breathe again, and my planning and training have progressed nicely (apart from Monday when I had a horrible run).
I have spoken to a sports nutritionist, Camilla Holland, Senior Technical Officer at the University of Hertfordshire. Camilla is helping with nutrition and recovery, which is exciting for a couple of reasons; firstly, I want to make sure I’m safe during this challenge, and look after myself; secondly, it’s going to be really interesting to learn how to fuel and look after my body and mind, not just for this challenge but for future ones as well. I’ll be sharing more about the work I’m doing with Camilla in a future blog.
As for the training, as I said, it’s been going well; I completed another 150-mile running challenge in March, and have started another one for April, although I’ve started off a bit slow and seem to have missed more days than I normally do; I’m blaming that on the Easter bank holiday weekend, and my head generally being all over the place at the moment.
Anyway, I’m 61 miles into the challenge, which means I have to do 89 more miles to run in 16 days, which should be manageable…..
Monday was not a good running day. My plan was to do 30km (around 18 miles); I’d done it the week before so thought I’d be ok, however my legs had other plans!
I started off as normal but when I got to the 15km mark my legs started telling me that they were not really up for it. I decided to try and push on through, my logic being that my legs will hurt during the 5 in 5 challenge, so I (and they) had better get used to it.
Pretty soon the legs had had enough and the thing I hate happening happened, I stopped and had to walk! Sod’s law meant that it happened at the point furthest from home; I still had 10km to do! I tried getting going again but didn’t last that long before I had to stop again. In short, I had to stop and start for 10km, anyone in the area may have heard some colourful language as I got more and more frustrated.
Thankfully, I got back out there today and completed 20km, with very little complaining from my legs (they wouldn’t dare). We’ll have another go at the 30km on Friday…..
It’s sort of good that these things happen, even if they are frustrating at the time. They give you a wake-up call when you start to get a bit overconfident, and I’ve decided I need to make sure I’m taking water and energy gels with me (I had water on Monday but no gels) because they are pretty important, even if I’ve been doing ok without them up until now. I also gave my legs a bit of a pamper with an arnica oil rub each night since Monday.
I’ll keep you updated on how my training progresses, and hopefully there won’t be any further delays (or Monday running disasters).
Thank you, thank you, thank you