“Gary Hobbs”. It was the Eagles VLM ballot and that was the name that had just been drawn.
When I heard it I took a small pause (sadly, this really happened) to make absolutely sure there was only one Gary Hobbs in the room: it turned out there was and that I really had got a place in the 2018 London Marathon. I was not sure exactly what I felt about this. I was definitely happy. I was grateful to the club and touched by how generous people were with their support and congratulations. Also, well, it is the actual London Marathon.
I was, however, also worried about the task ahead. It feels different running with an Eagles place, as if there is an extra responsibility not to let the club down. However, the task that really worries me at the moment is not running the marathon itself but writing this blog. Ah well. Here goes, I guess.
I know a lot can happen before April but at the moment I am reasonably marathon fit. Only a couple of weeks ago, boosted by having extra free time over the Christmas break, I did my highest ever mileage in seven days. During that week a long, stormy run in Richmond Park pretty much taught me what it is like to run in a swamp (for those of you who have never done it and are curious it is disgusting, annoying and strangely exhilarating). I learnt what it is like to get up at 5:30am on Christmas Day and do an 8 miler including half an hour of hill training up and down Studland Road (for those of you who have never done it and are curious, it is also disgusting, annoying and strangely exhilarating). I managed my second ever track session too (and, yes, for those of you who have never done it and are curious…)
In the last paragraph I wrote that I am reasonably marathon fit at the moment as if that were a casual thing. I only started running marathons last year after a lifetime of expecting I would never run one. This has been part of a massive transformation in my running since the start of 2016 when I was struggling along with the tailrunners on the club runs and has involved knocking a few minutes a mile off all of my running times.
I would like to say there was some sort of plan behind this but, as may well become all too obvious to anyone who reads this, my training is for the most part haphazard and ill thought out. Like when I was a few weeks away from doing a marathon last year, suddenly remembered I had forgotten to run anything longer than 13 miles in the last month and then went out and did 22 miles.
10% rule? What 10% rule?
For London I am considering using an actual plan but I guess time will tell.
Ah but all that is a story for another blog.