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Fear and My First Marathon

Fear and My First Marathon

23/09/2017 My Story Road Races 4

29 September 2013.
The sign was not clear. A marshal repeated his mantra “half marathon straight on, marathon to the left.”
I heard my mum say it was fine to finish the half marathon.
Despite the pain I had eliminated that option before the race.
I took the turn, away from the crowds.
Away from the finish line.
Away from my comfort zone.
I stopped to use a port-a-loo. My legs stiffened as I descended into the country park. A large lake appeared. I was to run three quarters of it.
An ambulance soon passed me, forcing me and other runners onto the grass. My calves were so tight I was reduced to jogging and walking. My muscles threatened to cramp.
The sports drinks and water did nothing to help.
When I caught up with the ambulance a runner was sitting on the grass, his race finished.
I knew it could be my fate.
I had to dig deep to keep moving forward. I tried to count seconds to establish a rhythm but I could not concentrate for long.
I started to doubt myself. I feared I would not finish in the allocated time and be disqualified. I was unaware of the cut-off time and could not work out what my projected time would be. The mile markers were also further than my Garmin recorded.
I continued along the River Trent, passing people enjoying the sun.
Every step was another shock to my body.
I soon had to squeeze through pedestrians and marshals as I went over the final bridge.
My mood worsened as I felt the race would never finish.
Yet I sprinted the last metres to the line. The fatigue was tangible as I forced back tears.


Fear got me through the race. Fear of the unknown. Fear of letting myself down, and my family who supported me. Fear that I may need a medic to take me to the finish. 

Fear also got me to the start line. I had imagined running a marathon for some time and I worried I would never achieve it. I had forced myself to enter the race a month prior; evidence that I was unsure of the challenge.

I had convinced myself that with less training I ran better. But I was wrong.

It was my greatest achievement to date because I used all my mental resolve to overcome severe physical discomfort. I reminded myself I had chosen this, that I wanted to run because I enjoyed it, despite the pain.

Best of all I learnt a great deal about the person I am.

Robin Hood Marathon

 

4 Responses

  1. […] The muscle fatigue worsened. I saw runners lying alongside the path to the finish, reminiscent of my first marathon. I refused to succumb to my feet’s desires to rest. I then drew alongside a runner, […]

  2. […] in the top third overall, and in the top half of my age and gender category. In contrast to my first marathon I was able to interact with the marshals on route and not feel as if I had failed to represent my […]

  3. […] race was brutal on my body, akin to the first marathon I ever ran five years ago. Although my muscle soreness consumed my attention, I enjoyed the experience mostly […]

  4. […] too soon, I was forced to learn the importance of fuelling during ultramarathons. Still, similar to my first marathon, the result of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone has only made me more determined to improve as […]

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