People often ask me 'how are you feeling?' and I just smile and say 'I'm doing great'. Mentally, I'm good. Physically, I'm feeling pretty good too, aside from a few expected side effects (disgusting feet and a bi-polar appetite).
I have to admit that I slightly underestimated how life consuming running twelve marathons would be. In a dream world, I'd just rock up to each race, have a little run around and take the medal. The saying "Always Earned, NEVER Given" rings true.
I spend all of my time eating, sleeping, training and generally preparing myself for races and fundraisers, and when I'm not doing any of the above, I'm probably talking about one of them. A typical day for me involves getting to work early to make porridge, lunch times are spent planning fundraisers and writing blogs, I train for probably 10 hours a week over 5-6 sessions on the road and in the gym and visit my osteopath at least once a week to keep me in tip top shape! It's quite full on.
I'm not complaining though, I love what I do and feel incredibly lucky to be the 'face' of something so life-changing. The only 'frustration' I have is feeling that people don't understand how hard actually running a marathon is, let alone how draining it can be to train for one. If you can then take that emotion and times it by twelve, you're probably on par with how I occasionally feel.
"What does training involve? Don't you just... RUN?"
I rest for 24 hours and allow myself a few treats (a tub of Ben & Jerrys is premature carb loading right?), after 48 hours I have a long swim and brutal massage, within 72 hours I will have run several miles. I attempt to sleep for at least 10 hours a night, which means I'm often in bed by 8:30. For the next year, this is all I will do to ensure my body is working as well as it can. I can count on my hands how many glasses of wine I've had this year, and for a 22 year old who likes the odd sambuca fuelled dance-on-a-table, that is somewhat impressive, I feel.
Most runners reading this will probably have been asked one of these questions, at least once. Some of the questions make me laugh, but I really do think it's important that we share our experience with other people and encourage people to start running, or just generally get active.
I'm not suggesting for a second that you should all jump up and try and run twelve marathons. What I am suggesting is that you do something that challenges you, against your current abilities.
One man's marathon, is another man's mile. There is no competition in running, except with yourself. Running a mile to some, is second nature, but I challenge you to do it for the first time and not feel an overwhelming sense of pride.
Isn't it bad for you running that much? No, not at all! I exercise for around 10-hours a week, I eat a balanced, mainly clean diet and work closely with professionals who help to condition my body.
Look at it this way, unless you work an active job, you probably spend a majority of your day sat down. Sitting down for most of the day puts you at 54% more risk of having a heart attack. I get up in the morning and sit down to do my hair/make up, I then SIT in my car to drive to work, I SIT at my desk all day... Sounding familiar? Most people then go home and SIT and watch TV, eat or read.
Spend just 30 minutes of your evening doing some form of physical activity and although you aren't counteracting all of the sitting you're doing (according to most internet research), you are being proactive in improving your general health, in turn lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes etc.
30 minutes is only 2.08% of your day. TWO PERCENT. If you can't spare two percent of your day, from today, three times a week, to better your health, your future and your confidence, when will you spare it? There is no better time to start than now, stop waiting for Monday, start making your body and health your hobby.
My personal favourite is when someone just looks at me, baffled, as I leave the office in my running kit and says 'But, it's raining?!' Don't worry about me, I'm waterproof.
I frequently get told that I'm 'brave' and 'inspiration', but I'm not. I'm simply just doing what more people should be doing, what everyone should be doing - to their OWN extreme.
Challenge yourself. Prove yourself wrong. Prove everyone else wrong. Inspire others. Help others. Do more. Be the best version of yourself you can be. It's available. Only you can take it. It's possible. It's SO accessible. It's waiting for you. Today.
Track your run/walk/jog/crawl using an iPhone app like 'runkeeper' or take a photo of yourself on the move and send it to me! I'd love to add to this blog with a gallery of all your photos :)
Please do keep asking questions! Let's get motivated.
Good luck. xo