A Word

The Marathon Diaries: Week Five by Jacqueline Alexander
First published on Sir Steve Redgrave's website

Five time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave, and Jacqueline Alexander, noted PUP (Pathetically Unfit Person) compare diaries as they train for the London Marathon.

Jacqueline's diary:

I am humbled. I have always admired the many thousands of people who complete the London Marathon each year, but now I am on bended knee paying homage to these insane individuals.

Having completed my first-ever half-marathon, I can now appreciate just how stupid, I mean, dedicated and determined, these people have to be to earn that rather fetching tinfoil cape.

The question is, can I match them? Unfortunately, I will not know the answer for another four weeks. Four weeks! That's 28 more days of this purgatory!

After the Silverstone half-marathon, I was both elated and shattered. The experience left me with barely enough energy to function. I decided not to train on Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday arrived all to quickly and, as I still resembled a newly-born Bambi when leaving my chair, I decided a stint on the treadmill would be premature. Thursday saw me travelling to Devon and back so lack of time precluded any thoughts of training. By Friday, I was seriously doubting my ability to find the mental strength to improve my physical strength.

On Saturday morning, I woke knowing that I had to confess all to Phil Kennedy in our weekly diary feature on Radio Oxford. I just couldn't face it without, at least, completing one training session. I quickly donned my trainers and ran for forty minutes. It hurt.

Mothering Sunday arrived. My son presented me with breakfast in bed and then ventured up to the newsagents to fetch the paper. I didn't emerge from my bed until after 1 o'clock. It was wonderful.

I had absolutely no plans to run and, equally, I had no plans to accommodate a guilty conscience. Unfortunately, Jiminy Cricket had sneaked back into my home so I found myself in the gym running a further four miles on Mother's Day. I ask you!

I have now decided, if Jiminy's moving back in, I am moving out. Anyone looking for prime real estate in Henley on Thames?

Next: Week 10

Sir Steve's diary:

My altitude training is now complete. Last week, I was gracing the Alpine slopes of Italy and Switzerland in the Crystal Team Challenge. It was great fun and, every day, I was up and ready for the first lift of the day and didn't return until the last lift came to collect me and the other die-hards.

I can honestly say I have exercised everyday during the last seven days.

OK, it wasn't exercise of the running variety but I did expend vast amounts of energy whilst I worked on the muscles I probably won't use during the Marathon! The fact remains this is still a huge improvement on my previous diary updates.

And, I have to say, I am feeling refreshed, positive and ready to attack my training. The only blot on the landscape is a sore tendon behind my knee. To accommodate this, I have revised my plan to go straight into a long run. Instead, I shall run 40 minutes today, 30 minutes tomorrow and, all being well, two hours on Wednesday.

The London Marathon is now less than four weeks away and I am cautiously optimistic that I will be ready, willing and able. Bring it on!

Next: Week 10

by Jacqueline Alexander
Copyright 2012

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