I set off on my run in the mid afternoon sun. As I close the front door of my house, I listen to two voices inside me: one comes from my mind, the other one from my body. Together they either help me achieve my goal or make me give up half way through. My marathon is in almost four weeks’ time and I aim to complete seventeen miles today. I plan to “break the wall”, that invisible, mental construct that defeats runners of all ages, genders and abilities. Last year as I trained for the same event, the Brighton Marathon, I came across certain features in my personality to which I had not paid proper attention before, resilience and stubbornness being two of them (mind you, the latter has been known to me for several years). The “wall-breaking” moment brought about changes in the way I saw running and the elements I needed to work on in order to succeed.
Today both voices are in agreement: you can do it. Still, I look for mental and visual stimulation. Being well acquainted with the route I will be covering makes my physical effort less demanding.
Massed and compact front lawns announce timidly the arrival of spring. Small, buttercup-coloured daisies stand out amongst the lush green, a green that is the result of heavy downfalls (including Storm Doris) in London in the last fortnight. With the temperature in double figures, but certainly not in the teens yet and a weak sun bleeding orange rays I take the first step.
Up and down I go around my urban jungle. After a while the route becomes flatter and my pace steadies. As if in direct contradiction with my surroundings my energy levels rise as the day slowly dies. By the time I reach mile fifteenth, the sun is but a spark behind the buildings on the high road. I get home submerged in darkness. I check my mileage and I feel pleased about reaching my goal. For some strange reason I think back on the buttercup-coloured daisies, springing up amidst the lush green of people’s front lawns.