We spend so much of our lives doubting ourselves. We doubt that we can, that we could or that we even should. We doubt careers, loved ones and life directions. We doubt the large and the small; from moving house to what food to eat. It’s the lives we lead nowadays, we cannot take a leap of faith in a world that hinders self belief.
Running a marathon is liberating in that respect. It forces you to think differently. To fight that silent, shouting voice in your head that you simply don’t have it within yourself. You face it head on because if you don’t, you fail. My favourite phrase, that I often repeat to fellow runners, is by the ultra-marathon runner Dean Karnazes:
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
This motto pushed me onwards in Athens last November when injury crippled my running and self-doubt lengthened the road. I walked and limped to the end. I finished in the worse time ever but I finished. After my injury last year stopped me from running the Lisbon Marathon I wasn’t going to let it spoil Athens. If I had gone and not felt that medal around my neck it would have haunted my running future and fed my self doubt until it was fat and full.
Athens taught me that there will be times when you’ll question your sanity, when pain and effort throw hurdles in front of every step. Your mind crumbles into nothing but shadows. Despite all that if you believe in yourself, you can triumph. It’s because the Marathon runs you raw, removing any preconceptions of who you are that it’s so addictive.
I have just over a month before my first marathon of the year and I honestly cannot wait. This year I am aiming to get faster, building on the slow and steady start I made last year. By October I’m aiming to strip an hour off my fastest time of 2016 to run a sub four hour marathon. Self belief in my running keeps me striving to better myself and leaves no room for doubt.
The Marathon is unlike anything I have ever experience because when you cross that line, you’ll never face things the same way again. For many years I never thought that I could but once the pain had gone there’s only one thing that remained, knowing that I did.
NEXT RACE: Silverstone Half Marathon