So it's finally here. You've had all the post, you've read all the emails, you've seen it on TV and everyone is asking 'how do you feel?' You literally cannot ignore it any longer. The Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 is upon us. Bugger.
All those hard months of training come down to this final week and now it's tapering time. For non runners, tapering is the reduction of exercise in the last couple of weeks before a competition or race. It's a gentle come down, so you're fully rested before the big one.
This is the time when you're told to not try anything new, 'listen to your body' and 'less is best'. If you're naturally lazy like me, this can be welcome news but it's also quite unnerving at the same time. It's like lying in wait with a belly full of pasta for pain to come at some point (for the metaphor's purpose, I like to imagine Ninjas through the window). *WARNING* approach tapering runners with care as they may be hypersensitive at this time...
Ain't no party like a pasta party. One of my favourite things about running is the numerous excuses you find to eat. If the student version of me could see how excited I am about the Team Macmillan pre-race pasta party he would hang his head in shame. He couldn't run 26.2 miles though. I definitely appreciate this time for guilt free carbs.
As it's the final countdown here is my alternative pre-race checklist (not that any of you requested it but here it is):
• Mandatory pre-race kit pic (make sure room is tidy before posting). Post to all social media accounts with a caption like 'real enough for ya?!'
• Make a desperate last ditch attempt to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
• Find some safety pins. DO NOT lose safety pins.
• Attempt to iron my name onto my Team Macmillan vest. Probably best to send for help (I ruined two vests last year)
• Remember plasters for my nips
• Make sure I've got my budget Batman utility belt for my millions of gels that I'm not sure even work.
• Plan Roman army-esque mobilisation of my family, friends and colleagues. Strategically pin-point them along the route for my own benefit (well, no point seeing them at mile 3 is there?)
• Attempt to hibernate like a bear and become a hermit in the final days before the race. If anyone asks you to anything social this week send blanket text: 'Don't poke the bear'.
• Eat pasta, run fasta and drown in water (obviously don't actually do this)
• On that note - plan out in glorious decadent detail all treat meals and drinks for the next few months. Include all long suffering friends who you've sent 'can't sorry, training' messages to.
• Tell everyone I'm not aiming for a time. Throw strop if I don't get the time I really want.
• Check how the hell I get over to east London again?!
• Obsessively check the weather multiple times everyday. Maybe perform a 'grey & overcast' dance if things don't go to plan.
• Set alarm early for race morning. Check this is correct about ten times.
• Get hardly any sleep the night before
• Go for a sit down toilet visit race morning (it's OK, everybody poops).
But seriously though...You've done all the hard work that no one sees, mile after mile till you can hardly stand. Now it's your time to go out there and enjoy it. Savour the brilliant atmosphere, milk the crowd and cherish every tiring moment. To finish a marathon is to achieve something truly incredible and you will become a fully fledged member an exclusive club. You won't think you're capable of it until you actually go and do it. You'll never forget that day you finally did it - Sunday 13th April 2014. No one can take that away from you.
See you at the finish line.