26.2 miles in 34 days
No, this isn’t the brand name for Stefaan Engels’ latest challenge, and with respect to the Belgian it would be a pretty low target to set oneself. Nor is it the anticipated duration of Katie Price’s latest marathon attempt, though I’ve sort of given the game away with that one. In 34 days’ time, the London Marathon takes place.
Now, 34 is not as arbitrary a number is it might seen at first. The reason I’m suddenly getting excited about the race is that my race pack arrived today and with it the magazine, mainly an advertiser for the sponsors but also packed full of information about the race. The headline act is Kebede vs Wanjiru in the Battle of East Africa, with support acts Mikitenko vs Shobukhova in the Battle of East Europe, Lemoncello vs everyone else in the Battle of Britain (rings a bell – is that one taken already?) and of course special guest Banks vs the 2:30 barrier.
Until recently the race had seemed a distant prospect, something to think about in detail at a later date, but the passing of my last big race effort yesterday and the arrival through my letterbox of the red envelope today has made it a very real prospect. I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like to run such a large and well supported event. You really have to try it for yourself.
But combined with this excitement are fear and anxiety. Ultimately, those 2 or 3 hours on 17th April will determine whether you’ve had a good winter or a bad winter. This is the driving test, the final 3 hour exam of your degree, the last question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. You’ve done the hard work, but is it going to pay off? I am going to do all I can these next few weeks to make sure the answer is yes. One more week of hard training will be followed by a long taper during which I will cut the volume first and then the intensity of my training, allow my muscles to heal and prepare myself mentally for the task ahead. This sounds dramatic of course, but I do believe that as long as you leave no stone unturned you are more likely than not to meet your goal.
I’ve worked hard for this one, much harder than any of my previous marathons. It’s getting close. I can hear the start gun sounding in my head already.