Last Monday, at 10.00am, I was thinking about every possible outcome of my first marathon, including collapsing in a heap and seeing the light...
Then the starting gun went, and my legs were forced to start moving and put the past 16 weeks of training into action. This was it. I was actually about to run a marathon!
My Motivation...? Mind, a charity that provides advice and support to millions of people struggling with mental health in England and Wales.
Mental Health affects around 1 in 4 people each year, with 1 in 6 people experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression each week.
The work that Mind do is incredible, spending £33.1million in 2018 on charitable work to support people with mental health problems, answering over 100,000 calls through their helplines each year and helping nearly 600,000 people through their workplace wellbeing programmes is just a snippet of the work they do.
These statistics alone made it very easy for me to make the decision to choose Mind as my chosen charity. I just wish the training plan came as easy as this choice. From 5am alarms, to Christmas Day runs, and A LOT of deep heat, ice baths and foam rolling, my training became a regimented programme that quickly changed my regular bottomless brunches into #sundayrundays and any sign of a weekend lie-in was out the window if I was to fit my weekly mileage in.
As much as my moaning of aches, pains and tiredness showed otherwise, I never regretted any run I went on. They always made me feel great. Being outside, giving myself head space and time to reflect, and hitting new PB’s and goals were all things that quickly allowed me to see running as a favourite part of my day, rather than resenting my alarm, or dreading the Manchester rain that usually came with an after work run.
"It’s just another run", "this is what the past 16 weeks has been for", "it’s just two half marathons... which is four 10K’s... with is eight 5K’s". All things I was telling myself, on repeat, from the moment my 6am alarm went off. The thought of consuming the 2,500 calories I was about to burn was one of the only positives I could see for getting to the start line in this moment.
However, I made it, running belt on, laced up and ready to go. Not only did I make it, I completed it. With the help of many jelly babies, isotonic drinks and the thought of a glass of wine (after 30 days of no alcohol throughout my training plan!), I reached the finish line in 3.53.01 (yes, that 1 second will haunt me until my next one), and yes, I did just say next one. Call me crazy.
As much as the sugar rush, carb-loading, alcohol thoughts and sense of achievement all contributed to my finish, the main motivator was the incredible cause I was supporting and how my run would help them continue to support the millions of people suffering right now with mental health.
To find out more about the amazing charity Mind, check out their website - www.mind.org.uk.