Panic on the streets of London…

(Sorry random Smiths reference – seemed appropriate…)

I’d intended to write more in the last few days running up to VLM, however that simply hasn’t happened as my head has been like a washing machine on spin speed (circa 1400 rpm for the record) at the best of times, and sane or balanced thought doesn’t appear to be springing forth these days.

I’ll let you into a secret; like most people I have an innate fear of failing. Most of the time VLM seems really achievable, not always though.  I’ve trained – I’ve put in the miles – I’m fitter than I have been for an awful long time – I’ve been sensible on the food and drink front (well most of the time) so job done right? 

Despite all of this logical stuff that I know to be fact not fiction, I found myself looking at the route map on Sunday night and within minutes was in floods of tears.  PANIC!!!!  Stepped away and immediately calmed down. However I do think that I’d be weird if I didn’t have the odd moment of panic – wouldn’t I?

I got told a few years back that for me to even contemplate an idea like running a marathon was just down-right stupid.  “You’ll never complete it, so why would you set yourself up to fail?” are words that have stayed with me.  I had no courage in my own convictions back then.  In fact, truth be told, I didn’t have much of a spine.  So at the time I did as I was told (my how times have changed!) and parked it as a bad idea, one that would never be ticked off the proverbial list of things for Mel to do.

Today I know that I have the strength of character, determination and courage to be able to defend my viewpoint, to not be beaten into submission by other people’s opinions and to achieve the things that are important to me.  Oh and to run a marathon too.

In my dictionary it describes the courage of one’s convictions as: courage to put one’s opinions into practice. The definition for courage is: the quality that enables a person to meet dangers without giving way to fear. From that my bird like brain deduces that a fundamental ingredient in standing by the courage of your convictions is to overcome the fear involved.

Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fear, or indeed that you should avoid fear.  Fear is natural and will always occur.   The key to this is to crack on with the task at hand in spite of the fear.  

My biggest (and only) fear right now is that I won’t finish on Sunday.   But that’s a remote possibility, not a proven fact or an absolute given.  And it’s down to me to deal with my fear.

The next few days will, I’m sure, continue on in the same vein; as a bit (understatement alert) of an emotional roller coaster.  Manically happy and sunny moments followed by periods of full on Tourette’s. 

However I’m going to keep focused on the one thing that I am REALLY looking forward to; running down the Mall on Sunday to be met by my friends and family, safe in the knowledge that I’ve achieved what I set out to do.  

Oh and for the record I will be crying.  A lot. You have been warned…

6 thoughts on “Panic on the streets of London…

  1. Mel – that’s completely normal for you to feel that way.
    I applied to run the FLM in 2003 and got a place, but due to injury had to pull out. I was really really gutted as I’d been looking forward to it so much. When I attempted again in 2004 I wondered if I’d ever start, let alone finish.

    I was a bit of a wreck the week leading up to the big day. Do I run, do I eat too much, do I drink? What am I getting myself into?

    I didn’t sleep much the night before and since I lived 500 meters from Greenwich Park I woke up very early with all the choppers above and people walking up the road. I was up at 6am, by 8:30 I was down in the mad rush of Blackheath. I was really excited but looking around all the fit people (I was in the blue start) that turned to a nervous excitement… how am I going to survive this for 26 Miles?! Then we were off!

    It was the most exciting day ever! Despite the rain, the pain and the blisters (I refused to stop and look at them) – mind of over matter – I finished it and it was the greatest feeling and sense of achievement. The crowds were amazing! It’s an experience!

    Make sure you’re friends and support is well spread out along the course – that way you have something to look forward to. Also, write your name in big letters and run on the sides, so people can shout your name and encourage you. Oh, and at the drink stations, grab your drink and move to the middle or you;ll be hit by flying bottles!
    Use your nervousness to drive you forward, soak up the atmosphere and above all – enjoy it. That feeling when you cross the line is quite hard to describe!

    Good luck – José

  2. I am not a runner, I have no interest in running but I admire those that do.

    It seems to me, reading between the lines, that this is more then a run to you and I sincerely wish the best.

    Anything big will come with nerves and the odd panic attack, I suspect that on Sunday afternoon you will have a huge sense of achievement and a warm glow of satisfaction, the kind only lazy bums like me can dream of.

    Go get Dude – you’ll rock!

    • Oli – thanks for the words dude. Yep it’s much more than a run to me, but I have to treat as if it is just that. A run. No more. No less. Despite my *hard as nails* exterior (and vocal ability to match) I get intimidated by things / people and situations. VLM fits into the situations category and has already generated a few sleepless nights, with more to come this week no doubt. However if I wasnt panicking I wouldnt be human. Right now I keep coming back to this image – http://twitpic.com/4jxyyf – and I’m really looking forward to being with my friends in the thick of that! See you @ 21 miles for our water balloon fight x

    • Without sounding too vomit inducing I wanted to say thank you. I think I’d have fallen off the planet if you weren’t around. See you in the pub about 3pm on Sunday? x

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