There is now one week until the 2016 London Marathon. And as if that didn’t seem real enough, yesterday’s post included a delivery that made the whole thing seem very, very real… my South West Children’s Heart Circle running top.
I’m not a showy sort of person, so usually the prospect of running round wearing a T-shirt with my name on the back would make me cringe a bit. But this is a shirt I will wear with pride – because it shows I’m representing a charity that I truly feel passionate about.
I’ve written before about why I’m running, but forgive me a brief charitable plug here. The South West Children’s Heart Circle supports children undergoing heart surgery, and their families. This is done through support and experiences while they’re in hospital. The Heart Circle also helps support the Bristol Royal Infirmary by funding the purchase of equipment that isn’t funded by the NHS.
This isn’t some massive international charity that spends as much on ‘awareness’ as it does on helping people – this is a proper local charity, that makes a real difference to the people it supports. And I can vouch for that as someone who has undergone heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary when I was young. The fact I’m running a marathon in a week’s time is proof of the great work both the Heart Circle and the BRI do.
Right, back to the running. With the long training runs done, this weekend’s outings centred around the usual 5k Parkrun outing on Saturday morning, and an eight-mile effort on Sunday at somewhere around my planned marathon pace (not that I’ve actually worked out my marathon pace yet – more on that in a few days…).
For a bit of variety I headed to the Richmond Park Parkrun. It was a refreshing if strenuous change – as noted previously, running in Richmond Park involved dealing with elevation change. I definitely felt the hills – I was struggling a bit by the end, a timely reminder that I’ve still got to build up my absolute top-end pace after my recent illness (I’ll stop using that as an excuse soon, honest).
As an aside, following the controversy over the Little Stoke Parkrun (if you aren’t aware, click here, here, here, here, here or here – or just Google ‘Little Stoke Parkrun’), it was hugely encouraging to see a MASSIVE turn-out at Richmond Park for Saturday’s event – which, from what I’ve seen, seemed to be repeated at Parkruns around the country.
Sunday’s run was more encouraging – and not just because it was a beautiful fresh and sunny morning in London with just a hint of wind. Eight miles passed by surprisingly quickly and easily – it’s actually a sign of all my training efforts that a distance I’d previously think of as involving a lot of running and effort now feels utterly achievable.
And that eight-mile outing is pretty much it in terms of longish runs, until I embark on 26.2 miles in a week’s time. The week ahead is all about the taper, and resting up while just doing enough to keep my legs running. But the heavy effort is done. So, the question: do I feel ready?
I think I’m ready. I’m sure I could have done more. But I think I’ve done enough. So…
Still, if nothing else, my Heart Circle running shirt has arrived. So, in terms of clothing at least, I’m ready.
As for the rest…