What do you do when your first attempt at a marathon was so delicious in every way that the second time around is never going to live up to the pain, the dedication, the journey and the joy?

Despite a much sought after ballot place for London being in my possession, I just cannot find the passion to train for this thing in a way that’s going to mean I’ve done the best I could have done.

Scared I’m on the verge of wasting a precious opportunity, I have only five weeks to try and salvage my training. A whole month of lost mileage, angry knees and sore glutes has passed and I am left with a seriously damaged belief that this is even possible.

26.2 miles is a terrifyingly long distance at this point in time, but it is LONDON. There is no way that this isn’t happening.

Today I’ve woken up easier and clambered out of bed quicker than I have done in weeks. It’s brilliant that even on an early Monday morning (on Mondays I start work over an hour earlier than the rest of the week) it is now pretty much light when I open my blind just after 6am.

Spring definitely sprung in London this weekend, and with it brought the short shorts out for the first time in several months. After years of insisting I’m a cold weather runner, I’m beginning to think that my enjoyment of a run is in fact directly influenced by the number of pieces of clothing I’m wearing (i.e. the fewer the better). I’m looking forward to testing this theory.

Although my mileage isn’t completely back on track after this week, it has been a marked improvement on last week’s write off. I’ve run four times, although three of those were only 5k or less. On Tuesday, I ran only a couple of hours after leaving my colleagues in the pub (I won’t be drinking pint or two of pale ale the wrong side of a run again). And Saturday’s parkrun was probably the most hungover I’ve been whilst running and definitely the closest I’ve ever been to vomming in public. Can you see a pattern here?!

After a night of no wine (!) and a full 8 hours sleep, I got up on Sunday morning to tackle 18 miles. The first 11 were run on my own (the longest I’ve ever managed solo) along Regent’s canal before meeting Stephanie in Hyde Park. By the time she appeared before me, my knees had already decided I wasn’t going to make it all the way back home, but stopping after 14 miles by Embankment and diving straight into a giant latte felt like progress nonetheless.

On Friday, I fly to Barcelona for a long weekend, and I’m already excited about clocking those 18 miles on Spanish soil. The Estrella at the end is going to taste so good.

So, this is the scariest thing I’ve posted in a while.

Way back towards the end of last year – I’m not even sure how it originally came up – myself and Harry (with some encouragement) started talking about an idea for a podcast.

If you’ve read this post or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m quite the podcast fan. There are a lot out there already, and a lot of those are truly brilliant – but we wanted to listen one that was about running… but not too serious… that recognised there is also more to life… and was by women.

Which is how ONE FOR THE ROAD was born.

We are two people who love podcasts, but have absolutely no idea how to make a podcast. We have been the definition of making this up as we go along. We have created this with zero proper equipment and zero pennies. This probably will hurt your ears. BUT it’s out there; we are up and running. We promise to get better as we go along and learn how to make a more beautiful sound.

Click the banner below to go have a listen to our pilot episode…

 

With eight weeks to go until race day, this week has been my ‘wobble’ week.

The advantage of training for a marathon the second time around is that I am infinitely more relaxed about it than I was this time last year. This week I’ve probably been a bit too relaxed (read: not so much relaxed, more just ignored the fact I’m supposed to be marathon training altogether), but this time I’ve got the experience to know I’ve still got time to turn it around.

This week has been dominated by work (reaching the peak of pressure as we approach year end) and an awful lot of drinking. Stress, alcohol, very little sleep and not much exercise is always a pretty rubbish combination. This has inevitably lead to feeling properly run down and having to cut short today’s planned 17 miler after only a couple of miles thanks to being (the bad kind of) sweaty and really quite snotty. Mmm.

Tomorrow is a new day, next week is a new week and this is just a wobble.

I run because I like it. Most of the time, liking it comes from the places I’m running in and the people I’m running with.

This year’s Brighton half was a perfect example of just that. It was nothing like a PB (see last year’s equally as enjoyable race for that). It wasn’t my slowest either, but it was 13.1 miles of pure enjoyment.

Running by the sea, in the sun, in the company of the brilliant Michelle (#mischiefcrew), cheered on by my crew in a great race – what better way is there to spend a weekend?

Our recently acquired selfie stick (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) came along with us for the weekend, and captured some fantastic moments.

We went down from London on the Saturday afternoon and spent a few hours refuelling wandering around the shops and along the beach after a way too heavy Friday night. Pro tip: do not drink 47 bottles of beer and stay up until 5am two nights before a half marathon. That is BAD prep.

We stayed in the excellent YHA which was mere minutes from the start line which meant a fairly relaxed morning breakfasting together and a short walk over to join our pens.

Maya’s photo

My only gripe with this race was the loo situation (it wasn’t going to be anything else was it?!) There was a SINGLE portaloo at the first water station, a SINGLE portaloo at the Red Cross tent at 8 miles (who also win the prize for rudest volunteers) and a couple at the 10 mile station. I’m not sure how many times we have to go through this but IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HAVE TOO MANY TOILETS. But I can assure you; one is never going to be enough. Race organisers, for the sake of my bladder (and my chances of ever getting a new half marathon PB), sort it out. *breaths*

Okay, back to the fun stuff. A personal highlight was meeting George at mile 3. George was running on his 80th birthday. He did a sprint up the hill spurred on by the crowds and was very sweet in letting us have our photo taken with him. He made me well up and realise that if someone that is EIGHTY is running then I can shut the hell up moaning about my two day hangover.

As anticipated, the stretch out to Hove Lagoon and back was brutal, but after our second toilet break, me and Michelle got into full on ‘let’s get this shit done’ mode and just got that shit done. Also, it was getting closer to our midday checkout time and I was desperate for a beer. Whatever works.

At this point I must mention my incredible friend Stephanie, who ran a stellar time of 1:35. I could (and might) write a whole post solely on how this time blows my mind. It. Is. So. Fast. If anyone, anywhere, EVER needs some inspiration to show how anything is possible if you just put the work in, just look at Steph.

And that is why this race is ace – it allows for both PBs and partypace. And all with the backdrop of a beach. Perfect.

Sarah’s photo