I joined the Nutters’ Club…

“So, what you’re saying is:

A: Evidence suggests I’m fit enough to do this  

B: If I’m not fit enough to run all the way, I know I can easily walk 13 miles 

C: I don’t have to put an alarm on - if I wake up in time then it’ll be a sign that I’m really up for it 

D: Nobody knows I’m doing it, so I won’t look silly if I don’t wake up in time or decide to wimp out…”

That was the conversation I had with myself (yes, I often talk to myself!) one Saturday evening when thinking if I should try to run the half marathon I set as a goal 12 weeks earlier. 

The reason I changed my goal was because a few weeks ago a new opportunity came up to do a different physical event that required more strength work than running training, so I changed my training schedule to suit the event. 

As I say to our 90 Day Breakthrough clients, it’s fine to be flexible with goals as long as you’re moving in a general direction of living the life you want to live.

However, when I was filling in my journal on the Saturday night, I thought crept into my head that even though I haven’t been training specifically for the half marathon, it’s unlikely it would be harder than the mountain I accidentally climbed on holiday in Switzerland (I say accidentally because I had no idea how hard it would be walking steeply uphill for three and a half hours!) 

So, I made a little pact with myself to give it a sneaky little go before the 12 weeks were up. 

Achieving goals always feels good, and bonus goals are even better!

If you’re new to these emails, you might not know about my strange ways - one of them being that every few weeks, I pack a suitcase and spend a whole weekend on my own at the bottom of our garden in our annexe (AKA The Happy Hut) just to enjoy blissful solitude.

Luckily, my partner Kev doesn’t take offence!

That was one of those times, so I didn’t disturb Kev when I woke up (without an alarm so I must have been keen!) at 3:45 am, and went downstairs to fix myself some porridge.

I really wanted to run very early because I love the sunrise in the summer when you can see everything and nobody is awake, and it would be too hot to run later in the day. 

I did some mobility exercises, stretched, and got my running gear together - filled a 1.5 litre pouch of water that went in a little running rucksack on my back, and draped the tiny hosepipe over my shoulder so I could sip from it as I ran. 

I checked the route I’d planned on the OS app the night before - a total of 14 miles to allow some warm up and cool down walking.

I tied my fluorescent jacket around my waist as I didn’t want to overheat by wearing it but still wanted to be seen.

At 4:45 am I was on the road not really knowing if I’d make it around or not - I’d only run 8 miles in one go before, and a half marathon is 13.1 miles, but I was feeling hopeful.

The roads were blissfully quiet and I listened to the birds singing for the first few miles as I ran through the sleeping town and out towards the countryside. 

Boredom started to kick in about 4 miles in, so I put my headphones on and listened to some music to pep me up.

About 6 miles in, I felt a sharp tightness in my left calf, so I walked for a minute or two and gave it a little massage before trying it again. Luckily it was fine after that. 

I saw a couple of cyclists along the way and we gave each other a little smile and nod. 

If I was running any later we might have ignored each other, but it seemed anyone who’s out exercising before 6 am belongs to a special Nutter’s Club who say hello to each other. 

9 miles in, much of the water from the pouch had made its way to my bladder, so I had to hop a gate for a Wild Wee. 

(It’s one of the drawbacks of being a woman - I’m sure men don’t get cows giving them funny looks when they answer a call of nature!)

10 miles in, I felt very excited - I really started believing I could run the distance.  I made sure I was topping my sugar levels up with little sweets along the way, and I felt good.

Then, all of a sudden it started feeling much harder - my legs felt heavy and I had to will myself to keep going.

I said out loud “Every. Step. Counts. Every. Step. Counts. Every. Step. Counts…” God knows why I chose those words, but they seemed to arrive in my head, like a tiny little coach was willing me on from within! 

I’m not sure if I’d actually hit The Wall that runners talk about, because it didn't feel too dramatic - just annoyingly hard rather impossible. 

But somehow, I managed to keep going. The last mile seemed the longest, but I made sure I ran past 13.1 miles and made it up to 13.25 so I felt I’d made up for the short calf-pain-walk episode and the Wild Wee. 

I felt bloody fantastic when I finished, and I’m so glad I made the effort to do it!

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but doubted yourself?

What have you got to lose from trying?

The author 

Vicki LaBouchardiere