Fighting to the Start

Angst and injury; a combination I’ve become all too familiar with in the past five months. The marathon is merely days away, yet just like Silverstone, we have found ourselves in a race to the start line.

It is once again my left ankle which is the source of my latest disability, only this time it is towards the outer area rather than the medial side.

On Monday I woke up, and realised I had it all to do. My work was very much cut out. I was due to take the train to Gravesend on Wednesday to stay with my nan, but had no debit card or cash; I was also due to run a marathon on the Saturday, but couldn’t even walk.

While I was crippled, the trip to Barclays to draw out some cash had to wait, and so for a few days I lived on a total of £2.25. Thankfully I had stocked up previously on Teletubbies spaghetti (don’t judge), and was able to remain nourished in the space of two days where I took resting to its absolute extreme.

I gazed out of the window as life bustled on Pentonville Road, a stark contrast to inside, where I was taped up like a metro-sexual mummy to ease the tendinitis.


It was a seriously long two days, long and boring. Time crawled by so slowly, and there were doubts, oh yes there were definitely doubts. As each injury lingers on, my rationality demonstrates a proportionate decline. At the beginning of this one I knew the pain would subside relatively quickly, but you cannot help but become stressed when you’re unable to walk. It’s a rational irrationality.

Alas, overnight healing was surprisingly quick, and I began each day buoyant that I was more mobile than the last. Compared to previous injuries, this was a miracle recovery, and very quickly my fortunes began to light up for what was set to be an explosive finish at the end of the week.

By Wednesday, with the cushioning of my running shoes I could once again walk, and so I set off to the bank to draw out this week’s budget, and buy some much needed supplies in Tesco ahead of the big event. Once I returned back to the flat, my luck improved even further, as my replacement debit card had safely arrived within the promised 2-3 business days. Even though I now had cash on me, I was relieved to know that I wouldn’t be leaving my debit card in a shared post room with over four hundred students while I was away.

So, I once again had access to the sterling, and was mobile enough to be guaranteed a full recovery in time for the marathon. It was looking good, and things then got ridiculously better when after about four months of fishing, I finally caught a Feebas on Pokemon Moon. This moment of magic occurred while I was sitting in the laundry room, and I may have impressed a few fellow laundry-goers with my skills at pocketing those monsters.

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We’re on an absolute roll. The weather too is brightening up, as for the first time this year we’re into the mid 20s with sunny skies. Summer is right on the brink, and so I thought I would begin assembling my summer wardrobe by purchasing a vest from Next on Oxford Street.


It was a blissfully pain-free walk to the famous shopping destination, but after trying on a few items in the changing room, mixing with sizes, and dancing around a bit to the shop’s music, there just wasn’t anything giving me a spark in the changing room. Until I went to New Look that is, where I then bagged the last vest in stock, which just so happened to be in my size, and at a price cheaper than anywhere else!


How quickly the mood can change, I went on have a great session in the gym, and then returned to my flat to pack my suitcase with a huge smile. It was all coming together. I was happy and healthy, and ready to venture down to Gravesend ahead of my first ever marathon.


It took 20 minutes to get from St Pancras to Ebbsfleet International, and then about 50 minutes to walk to where my nan had parked as I had got off at the completely wrong station. I knew that they were renovating Gravesend Station, so I was quite surprised when I got off at Ebbsfleet, thinking how great a job they had done.

Eventually, I met with my nan, and hopped into the iconic blue Peugeot 106 to commence a brilliant few days, visiting St Georges Cafe, picking up some high street bargains, and visiting the promenade- all things which make visits to my nan’s thoroughly enjoyable. The promenade was particularly nice, we fed the swans and watched one spectacularly land on the wet sand by cartoonishly sliding to a halt, saw a whole variety of fish aggressively bundling into each other as part of the mating season, and even saw two ships dramatically smash into each other in a head-on collision.



I was relaxed, with my mind off the stresses of the city, and fully towards the marathon. I spent Friday lowering my sugar intake in place of extra protein, electrolytes, and of course, the carbohydrates- no way can one prepare for a long distance event without a heap of pasta.

With my body now on the verge of exploding with energy, I can now fully say that I am prepared to run a marathon. We’ve been through five months of training, starting on the 2nd January, the day after New Years no less, where I had a wicked hangover. It’s amazing how we’ve gone from that first run, that dizzying, sluggish run where I was crippled by a stitch after two miles, to being ready to line up to face twenty six.

It was five months of training that were plagued by three injuries, which required constant adjustments to my training programme, extensive research for recovery, and above all, the mental strength to retain the motivation, and maintain the belief in the long term goal. That goal will be achieved this Saturday, and it will be achieved in unprecedented conditions. The temperature is forecast to be 26 degrees at 92% humidity, conditions which I have not been able to prepare for. Like every aspect of training, and like this first year at university in general, it will be one huge step into the unknown. We are going to break barriers, tackle new conditions, and face the toughest test yet. The spirit of the challenge is no greater than on this Saturday.

I’m ready to give it my all. Whether I run, walk, or crawl to that finish line, I will step into hell, and 26.2 miles later come out victorious.

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