Ballueder Thinks (16) – I am a marathon runner

In 2018 I decided to run my first marathon. An easy, flat, Thames Meander Marathon, in London. It went ok, I was knackered at the end, my knees were in pieces and I had to walk a bit. I finished around 4:20. However, I had done it.

In my podcast in 2018 someone promised me a place in the London marathon, which then didn’t happen in 2019 because of my knee problems. As I sorted the knees throughout 2019/20, I was approached by the RNIB to run the 2020 London marathon on their behalf. I signed up for it without hesitation. To run the London marathon was always my dream. It was out there with New York.

The 2020 marathon didn’t go as planned. It became a virtual marathon which I ran around Hassocks. Despite being super fit (for my standards 🙂 ), I aggravated my left hip, but managed to finish it in just over 4:30 minutes. I was devastated. I thought I could hit the 4 hour barrier I set myself.

It lead to me not wanting to rest, pushing myself, and running half marathons every weekend for a while. Obviously, I overdid it. Just as I had to ramp up the mileage, my calf told me that it was overworked. I didn’t want to hear it, and continued, leading to my calf getting worse. A week’s rest, a lot of thinking, ready to hand it all in, and then I spoke to the Personal Trainer that the RNIB gives us to help us through the events.

Ben was my saviour. We worked on a plan, mixing the cross trainer in the gym with running outside. I stopped thinking I knew it all, and only did what Ben told me to do. Maybe doing 10 minutes or so more every now and then. I followed it to the t, and we managed to get me fit and marathon ready for the 3rd of October. Thank you Ben! I couldn’t have done it without you. And if I ever do another marathon, I will get a running coach again.

However, as the cold and flu season set in, we all got a bit paranoid whether we could run the marathon or not. Particularly with Covid cases in school. But it all came to a good end, no Covid, and things could go ahead.

This all happened on top of the maranoia (paranoia that sets in just before the marathon) – I was in pieces, I want to be honest. But I made it to the start- and the finish line.

I finished in just under 4:30 – I had to really push myself to get there, as I felt sick along the way. I knew it would be a problem running over lunch, not fuelling enough. But I did it, and London was an experience. A mass event, fantastic crowds that carry you through the city. Turning the corner onto Tower Bridge in the autumn sunshine was amazing. It will be something I won’t forget for the rest of my life.

The picture isn’t too flattering. I will get some proper ones from the RNIB. I didn’t stop for selfies, I just enjoyed myself. This was for me and the RNIB, not a run for social media. Anyway, I am please that of time of writing I hit 110% of my goal and raised £3,300 for the RNIB.

London has always been on my bucket list. Running it for charity in a year where fundraising was limited, meant it was hard to raise as much as I was hoping for. However, I did it, and ran my – for now – last marathon. I keep saying it was my last one, because all good things come in three, and I am not getting younger. My knees hurt, my calf giving in and generally it takes longer to recover from anything. Also, my toes are in pieces – running downhill at the beginning of a marathon faster than you normally would 🙁 But things will heal.

What are the good things that came out of all the experience?

  • I changed to decaf coffee over a year ago and anxiety and palpitations disappeared
  • I understand the need of good sleep, effect of alcohol on sleep and right nutrition a lot better
  • I made friends from running
  • I raised money for a charity close to my heart
  • I learned that a coach can really help you getting the best out of you – let the expert guide you

The only regret is the time I spent away from my family, running and preparing every weekend for hours. It’s a high price to pay if you keep doing it every year. So for now, no more long weekend runs, no more marathons. That doesn’t mean there won’t be new challenges in the future….

Thank you all for your support, it is greatly appreciated. The donations, taking the kids, mental and physical help.
I am truly grateful.

Volker