Wednesday, April 29, 2015
by Denfield

Honestly, you really CAN just do it.

Well, it’s been over 48 hours since I crossed the line and I’m still sore… but immensely proud.

It all started the day after the Coventry Half Marathon.

As you may know, this year Denfield is supporting Myton Hospice, so amongst all the other amazing activities we’re taking part in to raise money for a fantastic cause, a few of us have apparently caught the running bug. So much so, that on hearing the news that Guy, Josh and Andy had taken part in the Coventry Half the day before, Amy and I decided to join in the masochistic fun and sign up for the Stratford Half Marathon.

And then we realised what we’d done.

Every bit of literature and professional advice says that you need to do loads of proper training to run a half (or indeed full) marathon. To prove the point, I would tell people what we were up to and some would literally just burst into laughter. Don’t believe me? Check out https://youtu.be/uPf1gWCiA00

But it was the only way anything was going to get done. I’ve held an array of vastly wasteful neglected gym memberships over the years, occasionally play a bit of football – often in goal – but not much else apart from hang out in too many pubs and eat too many takeaways. It was dawning on me how stupid this idea really was…

But we were committed now. Personally, telling everyone what I was planning on doing was a huge, very important first step. It meant there was no backing out, which is more than half the battle. The actual training is easy. Committing to it, getting up in the morning, choosing to run over sleeping – that was the difficult part.

Once we were ‘locked in’, Amy and myself would push each other on. It was an amazing help to have someone do it with you at the same time. I wanted to keep up with Amy, so pushed myself to do the big runs. Josh was also signed up and had done the Coventry Half, so provided countless bits of advice as to what to expect. Although everyone else in our room was more than bored with the endless running chat, it I can’t say how much help this was.

I also had little milestone treats set up (Darth Vader Easter eggs specifically) to reward myself for hitting certain distances, which as silly as it sounds, actually worked really well.

Another huge driver was the Myton Hospice aspect. They really do amazing work, so much so that I would just mention their name and people would be handing me donations before I finished my sentence. They were also hugely supportive to all of us at Denfield.

So it was all coming together! As I say, the actual training wasn’t that extensive – I’ve enclosed my schedule below (I heavily recommend the Runkeeper app by the way, it’s amazing and free!) which is a far cry from what the professionals advise you should do. The point is, everyone’s different – Eddie Izzard completed 43 full marathons in 51 days with little to no training. THAT is incredible, so this should be doable…

The big day was amazing. I’d never done anything like that before and couldn’t really understand what I was doing with all of these proper runners

I remember commenting at the start that I was the only one in a football shirt, a remark that would later come back to haunt me. Incredibly important tip: Even if you’ve done all your training in the same shirt and have vaselined up appropriately, DO NOT run a half marathon in a football shirt. There will be blood.

Weirdly enough, I also found the crowds a bit distracting. It was truly heartwarming to see everyone come out and offer their support but in a very British way I didn’t want to be rude, and thanked everyone back. Another mistake. I had done all of my training on my own, in my own little world, and this was a major distraction. It’s really important to stay in rhythm, so I think next time I will keep my head down and plod on. Then feel guilty afterwards.

The last two miles were by far the worst. They seemed to stretch out forever, but I was determined not to stop or start walking. I thought a lot about Eddie Izzard and his ridiculous achievement, which made the half seem pitiful by comparison. I also thought about all of the sponsorship money I’d collected and all these people I couldn’t let down. That, and seeing the b@$#&?£s with their mile-wide grins who had already finished really spurred me on to make it to the end.

And then it was all over! An enormous sense of relief and achievement flooded over me, not only for myself but all of us who took part. To think I was now Jamie Wood, half-marathon runner is, for anybody who knows me, one HELL of a ridiculous statement.

It was an incredible journey and has already led on to the next one - bring on the Derby Half Marathon!

In fact, we’ve had a few more people with differing levels of experience sign up for runs at work now, and for anyone who’s decided to give it a go – you’re awesome. Well done!

It will be easier than you think, but any hardship is repaid ten times over. Losing a bit of weight and getting fit is great and all, but the support you receive and the knowledge that you’re doing something great for a worthy cause is truly moving. Congratulations, you’re amazing!

https://www.justgiving.com/J-Wood/