By Scott Mills
After months of hard graft, commitment, sacrifice and a tremendous amount of running, the London Marathon is finally here.
As race day fast approaches on Sunday, I am starting to draw a lot of similar comparisons between the actual event itself and Christmas.
Now I am not saying that the three wise men donned their lycra and ran 26.2 miles to give baby Jesus a few gifts, but more the fact that unlike Christmas I actually feel prepared for this event.
Sure, the past few weeks haven’t been easy, but with all the work I have put into preparing for this race, I’m looking forward to it so much that I almost want to get on with it now.
The only other time I can last recall that I have ever been this excited was probably last week when someone mentioned the prospect of going for a Nandos…so as you can imagine it is up there!
Since my last blog, I could sit here and write about how plain sailing my training has been but that would not be the case.
In fact, it has actually been the opposite.
With three weeks of tapering down my mileage about to commence and the last of my 20 mile runs completed, I felt relatively comfortable about running quite a significant chunk of the Marathon.
So I was feeling quite confident and I was completely unprepared for what happened in the first week of tapering.
The first of my shorter runs that week was a half-marathon, and I don’t think it could have gotten any worse.
With my body used to running at 5am in the morning where the temperature was usually quite cold and crisp, it certainly came as a shock to the system when I stepped out in my winter running gear around mid-day on a relatively warm Spring afternoon.
The humidity was killing me and I genuinely couldn’t believe how much I was struggling when it was only a few days before that I was running from my house in Chessington to Putney and back again.
My breathing was all over the place and I literally felt like death.
The last time I had sweated that much was when I got sent to the headmasters office in secondary school for wrongly dismissing a class mate as a ‘spasticated chicken’ (Please note that I do indeed regret this action and I understand that it was offensive and completely inappropriate).
The following day was even worse and this time it was a morning run where I could just about manage seven odd miles.
Whether it was down to fatigue, my diet or lack of rest I do not know but one thing was for sure and that was that it was eating away at my confidence.
I was starting to have such a mini breakdown that at one stage I even questioned whether or not I was Britney Spears in 2007 when she went ballistic and shaved all her hair off.
It was extremely tough for someone who could run around 20 miles comfortably but could now barely manage a half-marathon and it was slowly filling my head with doubts about whether or not I would actually be able to do this.
I was panicking and it was probably the best time to be reunited with Jenny to train with her at Richmond Park whilst I was decreasing my mileage,
Reuniting with her, really reassured me that I was ready to run 26.2 miles and that was exactly what I needed to bring my confidence back up to scratch.
It was like reuniting Chewbacca and Han Solo in Star Wars, it was that good of a decision.
When people remark how they don’t understand how people can enjoy running or can put themselves through a marathon, I honestly believe that the majority of it is more mental rather than physical.
Of course, you would need to train incredibly hard to get ready for it but on reflection after months of preparing for this I am only starting to realise how vital positive thinking is.
Normally, when the negatives start to settle in that is when you start to tell yourself that you’re feeling tired even when you aren’t.
I think what is even better for me personally is that I am now able to fill this time whilst I am slogging it out on the streets thinking of story ideas and other aspects of work that I would like to do.
As well as this, I suppose listening to songs from the likes of Stormzy will also push me through the race because when those types of tunes come blaring out of my headphones, I feel like I am Usain Bolt for at least a good three minutes.
When James Blunt comes on however, it is a completely different story.
All of a sudden it supresses my mood and makes me miss the milkman I just ran past after making awkward eye contact with him whilst he tries to hide someone’s milk behind a bush.
To round this last piece off before Sunday, I would just like to thank everyone who has personally taken the time out to not only read about my progress but also those that have sponsored and supported me right from the start.
I am very appreciative and I cannot wait to make you all proud, so thank you!
If you would like to sponsor me in order to help raise money for the charity ‘Get Kids Going!’ you can do so here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=ScottMills1