Berlin Marathon 2022

There has never been a race so up in the air for me.

Will I or won’t I make it to the start line?

This is all that has been on my mind since … well since March this year if I am honest.

Cutting a long story short, emergency surgery in July 2021 was where it all started.

My near death experience did not put me off chasing my dreams so despite the little bump in the road, I came back after surgery stronger than before. I hit pretty much all of my personal bests and I was running better than ever.

Who knew an enforced rest could lead to so many fitness gains – something I would never have been persuaded to consider given the choice.

I returned to running on a sensible plan and training was going so well – 3 weeks before my dream Boston marathon, I peaked at a 20 mile race, winning 2nd lady and the biggest trophy I had ever seen and all on a “training run”!

Then the crash came – the success of the race was promptly followed by sustaining my first ever stress fracture on my last long run with a few short weeks to go before the marathon. Boston dream over, leg in a boot and no running for me. Gutted did not touch how I felt.

After a fair bit of wallowing, I finally accepted it and rested (obviously unable to run in a boot!).

I cross trained as soon as I was able to move, in an attempt to keep up my fitness as much as possible and after 8 long weeks, I was back doing the thing I love the most.

Had all this been enough of a lesson and a warning? Well clearly the answer was “no”.

No matter how hard you try to follow your own good coaching advice – there is something that always takes over the desperate running part of my brain that wants to carry on where you left off and chase those dreams.

I took it slowly at first, being the model patient and following all the professional advice until I thought, “hey this is all going so well, I am 100% better and I am going for my Berlin star for sure”.

What a fool! A few short weeks later and I was suffering with glute tendinopathy? Over training, returning to higher mileage and greater intensity all too quickly? Who knows which of these triggered it but it stopped me running and I was once again on the bench. Berlin hanging in the balance.

So where am I now?

I have returned to running sensibly, testing the glute and having 48 hours rest between each run to make sure there are no adverse consequences.

Each run I have asked myself the same question

Am I running Berlin 2022?

Each run I come up with a different answer.

I realised that this was becoming all-consuming and affecting my mood – I just needed to make a decision one way or another but I was struggling. Smiling at Jersey farm parkrun but then undecided as 3.1 miles was not 26.2 miles and my confidence was low.

I won’t name names but I asked for help and to say I was given the best, most constructive advice I have ever been given from someone who I respect as a friend and a professional is an understatement.

When I read some of the home truths that were in this message, it led me to tears but they were tears of relief at being able to finally make the decision.

The bottom line is that it made me realise I have lost my way with the thing I love the most.

  • I had forgotten about why I love running so much.

  • I had forgotten why I started running in the first place.

  • I had forgotten about the atmosphere that I know I miss out on because all my personal focus is on how fast I can run the race.

  • I realised I only ever felt worthy to turn up at a start line if I was in what I thought was my best possible shape.

  • I realised I cared more about what others thought about me and my running than I did the actual result.

Essentially, my mindset had turned negative and I was on an unhealthy spiral with my own running journey.

This brilliant advice made me realise all of these things and it was like an absolute light bulb moment.

I realised I have nothing to prove. I am a decent runner, I have achieved my sub 3 dream goal and I will again. I have nothing to show off to others or myself.

I have started a new career that I love in coaching and get so much joy from each and every individual runner and now I need to remind myself of how my own journey started and rediscover all those amazing moments you get from running and enjoying a big race!

I need to stop being so hard on myself and stop myself descending into some unhealthy spiral and rediscover the love of running a marathon for enjoyment, finally soak up the atmosphere of a major race and get that bling!

Realising from this wise advice I had been given that those who really care about me will be championing me, willing me on just to get to the start line – do they care about the finish time or just supporting me to do what I love – I got my answer.

So – does this mean I have given up on running a sub 3 race again? – Absolutely not.

So the decision is made and these are the facts:

  • This is the most stop start crazy training plan I have ever done

  • This is also the most relaxed I have ever felt about running a marathon

  • I am going to smile and enjoy every second

  • I am going to pray every day that I make it to both the start line and the finish line

  • I am going to claim that marathon major star

And thank you to my amazing, wise and wonderful friend with the most thought provoking words and advice as without you, I think I would still be undecided.

So whether it takes me 4 hours or 6 hours or anywhere in between, I don’t really care but Berlin marathon I will be on that start line – see you on the other side!