Yesterday I woke up, as I do most mornings, with a brilliant, if crazy, idea.
“Morning. We should run a marathon,” I said as I turned my girlfriend, who was already significantly more awake than I was at 7am on a Sunday.
“That is a great idea,” Kasia replied. Not the usual response I get from one of my harebrained schemes. Especially when they involve her.
We spent the next hour looking for the ideal race. London is 11 months away. New York is expensive. Budapest, Bucharest, Ljubljana was an early front runner, if you’ll pardon the expression, but then there it was.
The Warsaw marathon. Exactly 19 weeks away, the perfect time to get in shape, and at the end of September, neither to hot or too cold. Perfect running conditions.
Add to this the fact it’s in Poland, the country Kasia grew up in, and where many of her family remain, and it was perfect.
And that was that. Kasia, I should explain, has actually run a marathon before. I was a very active runner in my youth, and took up running again in my early 30s. My personal best for a 10k run was a shade under 30 minutes, at the age of 34. Not bad going at all.
I should point out a few other things at this juncture too.
I used to run, right up until about 18 months ago, when my back pain became too much to continue. Under medical advice, I stopped running completely. Except for the odd treadmill session in the gym, I’ve not run a single step in a year and a half. I’ve since learned that the medical advice is faulty – Running shouldn’t actually make an awful lot of difference to my spinal health, as long as I’m running right, not overreaching and training properly.
With my back trouble (poor disc health from doing lots of things wrong), I struggle to put my shoes. I have to sit in a certain way just to get my socks on. I get the classic symptom of shooting pains in my legs. I cannot sit comfortably for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m 38 now. I feel 88 some days.
Can I actually get fit enough to run a marathon? And will my back hold out?