#20 reason for doing the London Marathon: sorry, not doing it now!
#20 fact about M.S: It’s not uncommon for people with multiple sclerosis to suffer from problems with memory and finding the right words to express themselves. Lack of concentration and attention is also common.
It was over a year ago that the London marathon seed germinated in my mind. I was volunteering at the event for the first time, having been a spectator and supporter for many years. I was feeling quite emotional on that day. It was Sam’s birthday and I met up with him after my shift finished and we watched the run together for a while and both talked about the possibility of ever running a marathon. As we watched the huge mix of runners, I began to think that I could be on that start line and do something I had never done before and do something I had never before believed I was capable of. So my mental preparation for the run started that long ago. Starting with a belief that I could do it. That mental preparation continued. It is almost as important as the physical work needed. You have to see yourself at the start line, imagine feeling strong at 10 miles, enjoy the cheering of the crowd when it is getting tough, and then picture the final sprint to the finish line. I built on that belief that if I got to the start line I would be able to complete the course. So, you may ask at what point did I realise I would not make that start line. After being ill for over 2 weeks, I went out for a walk by the river, through Bishop’s Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, I was finally out of bed, and I was starting to feel better. And as I walked I tried to visualise myself at the marathon, something I have been doing on almost every run over the last year, but I could no longer do it, I could not see myself there, not because I didn’t long to fulfill this dream, but because it really was not possible. When I went to the Doctor at the beginning of the week I was signed off work, given antibiotics and sent for a chest x-ray. A discussion on marathon running was not part of that consultation.
It is very, very disappointing, but it really isn’t the end of the world!
A lot of positives have transpired during my year of thinking and training. Firstly I have raised a very large sum of money for the MS Trust , £6,008.40 and still counting. I can pat myself on the back for being their top fundraiser this year. I couldn’t have done this without huge support from friends and family. Events that have taken place have given the opportunity for people to get together and have some fun while raising money for a good cause. We all enjoy that! I have pushed myself further than I once thought possible; I got up to a distance of 18½ miles- and could have gone further! I encouraged my neighbor when she began to train for the marathon too and we have a new running relationship. I have even inspired my friend Susie to jog into the running world by doing her first Parkrun in a few weeks time.
So where does that leave my own personal goal? In #14 I said ‘At this stage in my life I can again think of my own personal goals and it could be for that reason I decided to do the marathon. This goal is just for me.’
So here is my plan.
On Saturday June 20th, I am going to have a ‘Julia James marathon celebration day’. This may involve some running by me and others in the morning and then will culminate with afternoon tea at home, (Rick’s wonderful scones and no doubt something sparkling). We will celebrate the effort that everyone has put in to support me and the MS Trust. I will officially close my fundraising page on that day. Let me know if you want to come!
I have a guaranteed place at London 2016 and maybe (or maybe not!) I will get to the start line next April.