Funny thing, marathons. According to most experts, running one is bad for you, but training for one is very good.
According to history, the first was run by a Greek soldier asked to let the ruling parties gathered in Athens know their enemies had landed in the small, seaside town of Marathon exactly 26.3 miles away. Safe to assume he was a fit, well exercised chap.
He made it to Athens in good time, announced his bad news… and died on the spot. Like I said, training for a marathon is an excellent way to keep fit; running one is occasionally lethal.
To prove that rule, I even have an exception: me. In training I tore a muscle in my calf.
The Virgin London Marathon marathon is eleven days away, on the 17 April 2011. I am really excited and pleased with all the kind donations and the strong support I have received from GDS Staff.
If you’ve been following my occasional updates, you’ll know I was suffering with my Achilles. I thought it needed stretching. I cycle a lot and know the muscle use is different between the two sports – and on my bike, where the leg is never fully extended, it didn’t hurt.
Unfortunately it wasn’t my Achilles at all, it was a tear, and the one thing it didn’t need was stretching. Two miles into an evening run my leg exploded with pain, and I hobbled home to lick my wounds.
The Doctors said this tear will take two months to heal, which meant I have been unable to run for the last six weeks and, quite frankly, leaves me in a tough spot with the Marathon so close. I tried to persuade the medics that there must be a magic injection but, alas, to no avail.
I have obviously considered the ‘not doing it’ option, and my Dad, a Doctor himself, made it clear that I’m not running. However, secretly, I have always felt that whatever it takes I am going to get around and raise money for a cause that can help so many young people and adults affected by autism: people who struggle as they leave the support systems of their family, or people without that support system at all.
With this in mind, I have been having sports physio every day for almost three weeks and today, like Mr Miyagi, he said: “ I think it’s time to test the leg”.
So off I ran. I would love to say ‘like the wind’, the reality was ‘like an old bloke who hasn’t run for six weeks’. But however wobbly the running and however out of breath, I ran without hobble. Two miles of poetry in motion.
So the good news is, I think, fingers crossed, that with under two weeks to go till the big event, I can train!
Can I get ready for a marathon in two weeks? Will I collapse and clearly illustrate that my wife is now head of the household (she runs 20 miles, twice a week, and her training has gone great), will I hit the wall they keep referring to?
All questions to which I don’t know the answers.
I do know though, that in true GDS fashion if you give your best, if you do all that you can to give yourself the brightest opportunity, then you will feel comfortable in the knowledge that you gave your all.
GDS has always rewarded – and illustrated that – those who give their best get recognised, and that is all you can ask of yourself.
I made a commitment to my son, Fin, to myself and to GDS to try and get around my first marathon in three hours and 45 minutes. I was gutted when I realised that I would not make 3:45. I will be forever gutted if I use that as an excuse not to try.
In some ways I’m excited that I haven’t been able to train, as I am pretty sure I’m going to learn quickly and have to dig from places I haven’t dug from for a while.
If I can train every day for the next two weeks, and build up from two miles (think that’s important!), then I know that I have done the best my situation has allowed.
I might not run in 3:45 (definitely won’t), I might not be ready, I might walk 24.5 miles (definitely won’t), but I do know: your best is always good enough.
My son is proud that I am giving it my best shot, I hope GDS International is too.
I am inspired by them both, because I’ve seen what they can do when they give their best.