Monday, 12 March 2012

Wide-eyed and with weary legs

London on a sleepy Saturday morning: Brixton high street empty except for the Friday night debris of crushed plastic pint glasses and lumpy splatters; Vauxhall station sparsely scattered with colourful characters and burly bouncers that hulk outside darkened doorways; the plinths of Trafalgar Square refreshingly clear, free from the gridlock of snap-happy gaggles. A city that seems to shift drastically in mood from morning to night, week-day to weekend, London consistently surprises me. Grand and inspiring at times, drab and exhausting at others, fun-loving and eclectic one minute, hectic and frustrating the next, the atmosphere is never the same.

Training for the Virgin London Marathon has opened up new windows into the city for me. From the concrete slab tower blocks of Stockwell to the red-brick town houses in Kensington to the neatly manicured flower beds surrounding Green Park, I´ve run through corners of London I´d never before bothered to visit, past monuments I´d never noticed and sights I´d never properly appreciated. Whether it be seeing up-close the iconic husk of Battersea power station or circling a crowd-free Hyde Park Corner, I see London through fresh eyes when I’m running. It hasn´t taken many outings to realise that, however well I mentally map the cityscape, I will never stop discovering it.

Sight-seeing runs aside, marathon prep has not been plain sailing. The meticulously planned schedule has had to be been abandoned in favour of erratic runs whenever my body feels like it. Sporadic rather than continuous, training has been interspersed with panicked enquiries about deferral, overpriced physio appointments and far too much time looping the swimming pool instead of pounding the pavements.When I have managed to get out on the streets, runs have ranged from light-stepped cruises to sluggish struggles, 4 miles on weekday mornings to 16 miles on a Saturday afternoon. The experience has certainly taught me a few things other than the city´s geography: always carry jelly babies, wear a bum-bag not a backpack and never go for a run and then board a peak-time commuter train.

Training blips aside, I am now marginally more confident about making the start line on the 22nd. As such, the fundraising can begin. Get ready for pleading e-mails and facebook groups. I promise that, even if I end up walking the last ten miles, I´ll give it my best shot! You can sponsor me here.

1 comment:

  1. Can totally empathise with the first para of this piece - I love London in the peace of morningtime, especially in spring / summer when it's warm enough to enjoy sunrise. Good luck with the maraton Lotts! x