With 60-something days to go until I race the big adventure known as Marathon des Sables, it’s time to reflect on my progress in January. But before I do, I wanted to share this picture, drawn by my fiance’s uncle Clive Whitfield (you can see more of his work here). Not only does it capture my excitement at this moment in time but it is also a message of encouragement from the artist, which is what I need right now.
Training in January
I don’t want to jinx it but the training has been going well. The mileage has slowly been increasing from week to week and at weekends, I’ve alternated between shorter and longer distances. I’m covering roughly between 60 – 120 miles a week and am feeling comfortable with this mileage. The ballet at City Academy has also helped as has a weekly yoga class. My weekly BOOM cycle classes have also been a great way of letting off steam at lunchtime. All in all, I feeling stronger, looking leaner and gradually building my confidence.
I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope without caffeine. I thought I’d collapse in a heap without my daily fix of the sweet Pepsi Max. I thought a whole lot of things. But you know what, I feel better. I’m sleeping more soundly at night, I feel less anxious and my energy levels are staying fairly stable. Cutting back on the sugar and general rubbish has also helped I’m sure. And the only time I really miss a glass of vino is on a Friday night.
As I said before, I’m feeling stronger mainly due to running more and ensuring that I do include some sort of cross-training in my plan. I also have a strategy for my feet, which I’ve been following and have seen improvements in that area. I’m not really sure whether I’ve lost weight or gained muscle as I don’t really measure this but I do know that my body is prepped.
Am I feeling more confident? Yes. I still have a growing to-do list and have not yet finalised my food plan – to take the bunsen burner (what I call a cooking stove) or not? How will I stuff at least 2000 worth of calories into small sandwich bags? Sleeping mat? What to do about toilet paper? There are so many things I need to make decisions on but it will come in time.
Life in January
Ha, what life? And I’m not kidding. I honestly have to say the hardest part of training for Marathon des Sables is fitting it all in. A 20-mile run before work? Yes, that’s me looking like a soldier with all my gear attached to my body. I’m not complaining as I decided to do this and I’ve set my own rules but I’m itching to let my hair down at some point and dance until dawn. It’ll be worth waking up at stupid-o-clock and constantly having to bail out early on friends (sorry).
I’m not going to tempt fate by saying everything is going exactly to plan as there is still a long way to go. As January draws to a close however and the Marathon des Sables becomes even more of a reality, I cannot wait to see what the next month brings.
I’m running the Marathon des Sables for Great Ormond Street Hospital, I’d be extremely grateful for any donations. Please see my page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SaharaBecsRun