The One Where I Talk to Myself for 21 Long Miles …

This weekend a remarkable thing happened … I ran 21 miles. Erm, did you get that? 21 miles! I get tired just driving 21 miles let alone running it. I am obviously skipping over the memory of wanting to vomit my own spleen and running like my legs were on fire.

I went out on Saturday morning before the sun came up and was about 8 miles in before I wanted to scream ‘For the love of God, why is it so hot?’ to everyone I came across. The irony that I’ve spent the last few months complaining about the cold, wind and rain is not lost on me. Rest assured of that.

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Kit check!

I decided that as it was my most difficult run yet, I needed something to keep my going, so I ran to my favourite place in London – Victoria Park in Hackney. I lived in the area for three years and miss it dearly. I’ve managed to overwrite all of my memories of gangland killings and the sight of the local youth running with armfuls of stolen goods during the riots. Instead I remember things like riding my bike to the local deli to buy cheese and getting drunk in the park every time the sun was even a little bit out. Ah, the joy of selected memory. Sadly my boyf doesn’t have the same thing and when I mention moving back to Hackney he reminds me about the price of car insurance and parking permits.

Anyway, Hackney, or specifically Victoria Park is beautiful in the sunshine and on Saturday it welcomed me back in all its sunny glory. I got into the park at just under 9 miles and joined a 10k run for a few laps, making it up to 12 miles before heading out on my return leg. I stopped briefly at 12 miles to get more water and after sitting down for five minutes lost all momentum and ended up looking like this.

 

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Nine miles to go!

Everything was going okay until mile 15 when I started to doubt myself and spent a few miles telling myself I had to stop. It went a little bit like this …

Me: 14 miles, this is great, I’m doing so well.

Me: 15 miles. Oh for f***’s sake, I can’t take this any more. This is too much. Stop running. 

Me: Don’t you dare stop running.

Me: Why did I ever think I could run a marathon? This is stupid. Perhaps I’m mental.

Me: Gah, why am I still running?

Me: Hang on, what’s happening to my hip? Oh God, my hip’s falling off. Can a hip fall off? It feels like it’s become detached. I can’t take it any more. And my knees are on fire. Are they actually on fire? I can’t see any smoke.

Me: STOP RUNNING!! JESUS CHRIST, JUST STOP RUNNING.

I did this for another five miles and almost cried when I heard my running app say  ‘20 miles’. The only thing that stopped me was the fear of losing more body salt and imminent death.

I was going to walk the final mile but found walking strangely more painful than running, so instead I spent the last part of my running like a robot in need of some WD40. But I did it! 21.2 miles done and just five weeks to go.

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21 miles done!

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A self-congratulating post-run selfie

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7 thoughts on “The One Where I Talk to Myself for 21 Long Miles …

  1. Wow! Well done! And why do you look better after 21 miles than you did at 12? Is it something to do with that selective memory thing again? 😉

  2. emma says:

    Ahhh congratulations, what an amazing run!!! My goal next year is to run a marathon, but the thought of some of the training runs and mental thoughts scares me!

    • gregoryhelen says:

      Don’t be put off! The training runs are just one part of it. My whole experience has been positive. Every time I go out on a long run I think about crossing the finish line at the marathon and I can’t wait! And trust me, if I can get up to 21 miles, anyone can! Go for it!!

    • gregoryhelen says:

      A very belated thanks for the congrats. You can sooooo run a marathon. The training is hard but there’s so much positivity and such an incredible goal spurring you on all the way. Every time someone asks how it’s going or donates to your fundraising page it’ll help keep you on track. And the long training runs aren’t too bad, despite everything I’ve said in my blog. They just make race day easier… Hopefully! Haha. Go on, sign up for a marathon!!

  3. Sounds like utter hell, but I love your writing; this had me grinning all the way through 🙂

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