Considering I run on my own you’d be surprised to discover that the marathon for me has been a team effort so far. This has been especially evident in the past two weeks.
At the beginning of the week I was surprised and pretty humbled that such an influx of donations headed my way. From Monday – Tuesday I’d raised £475 taking me to my initial fundraising target of £2000. And up to today I have raised a further £240 towards my second target of £2500. (Just £260 to go!!)
I couldn’t believe that so many people were constantly giving me their support and donations -telling me that I could do this, or that they were proud of me.
Furthermore on the Tuesday, Headway who I am running for, announced that I was Fundraiser of the Month. Both this and the sponsorship together made me feel proud – I’m on the right track and I am really working towards helping Headway.
However, come Thursday things started to get to me a bit. Having raised a massive amount of money, I was starting to feel the pressure. What if I can’t do this? What if something happens and I can’t make the race? Have I taken on too much?
I felt that if something happened that would mean I didn’t succeed that I would have let all these people who believed in me down. All my hard work and training so far would be for nothing. What sort of Fundraiser of the Month can’t even complete their challenge!?
Plus, this weekend I had my 18 mile coming up. I have never ran that far before and I’m worried that if I can’t do this I’ll never be able to run a marathon.
The stress, on top of external marathon factors, were building up. The worries I felt from last week, including missing Stu were still there and it was all just getting too much. I’m thinking/worrying about running ALL the time.
Once again I found myself crying from it all. (N.B. I’m an emotional person at the best of times anyways. If I could go back and give myself some advice on marathon training it would be to book some time off of work in the middle weeks of training. Relax. Refocus. Rest! A half way reward for yourself.)
Why the hell am I crying?! All I am doing is running. It’s only a marathon. Nothing awful is happening in my life. I’m the one who volunteered for this in the first place. The other people running the marathon don’t appear to be having internal breakdowns. ARGH?!?!
But when I shared my worries the most lovely thing happened (again after last week) I got even more support.
The people around me didn’t say “you’re being an idiot Siobhan” or “I think you’re over reacting”. Instead these beautiful amazing supportive friends told me they believe in me; that they know I’m strong and that they know I can do it. They listened to me and and have been kind and loving whilst I’ve been sitting there stupidly crying about running and generally losing my s**t.
People who I haven’t seen or spoken with in a while have sponsored me! Put their faith in me and sent me good wishes.
I’m not doing this alone. All of these people are on my marathon team and they’re all running with me – well mentally – don’t worry guys I haven’t signed you up as well.
Saturday came around and I had my 18 miles ahead of me. Picked up by support and ready to conquer this unknown quantity.
(I’d bought a camel pack to use for the first time, as I’ve been told it is KEY to stay hydrated. It is a 2 litre water pouch in so you have enough water for the whole run and don’t have to carry loads of bottle. It was actually really great – easy to drink from and, other than the noise of the water moving around, I didn’t really notice it.)
I knew that if I could do this run I might just be fine, I would be proud of myself and so would my lovely friends.
And so I ran, and I ran and ran and ran until I eventually completed it in 2hrs and 56mins. Is that a good time? I don’t know and to be honest I don’t care. It’s 18 miles!!
I feel good. I feel grateful and I feel like I can do this. There’s still 7 more weeks and it’s still going to be hard but WE have got this.
I can’t thank people enough for being a shoulder to cry on, donating, boosting me up, leaving supportive comments, leaving me surprise Keep Going cards at work, congratulating me on my big runs, taking sweaty selfies to help me win sponsorship money and everything in between.
I’m hoping next week I will get out of this mid-training slump and as I start to see the weeks counting down I will be left with just excitement and positivity.
This thing aint easy! But as I, and Theodore Roosevelt, have said before “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”
Until next time,
I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp
To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here.