Thursday, 5 May 2011

My Fitness Story... - Maria

Today, on My Fitness Story..., I'm pleased to welcome Maria, who blogs at Mummy's Busy World. Maria has just run the London marathon so I asked her if she would like to write a post about her experience of training and running it. She agreed to write a post for the series, but she decided to take a slightly different angle to the one you might expect, which is quite brilliant. I loved it when I first read it and I'm sure you will too. If you're a mum (or a dad), I'm sure you will be able to empathise with it! Time now to hand over to Maria.

Comparing a marathon to giving birth? More similar than you think!
On Sunday the 17th of April, I crossed the London Marathon finish line in 5 hours and 51 minutes. I had battled the heat and fatigue, but crossed the 26.2 mile mark with all limbs in place, no blisters and in pretty good spirits.

Now as strange as it sounds, I began to think of the journey we women go through when becoming mums. From conception to the birth, it has its similarities to a marathon. I know, call me crazy, but hear me out.

You first decide “I am going to do a marathon”. You may discuss it with your husband/partner. You decide that you will need support and that it won’t be easy, but that you have always wanted to do one. Then you sign up and getting training. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get going, but once you do you can’t stop! You buy the right running kit, shoes, clothing and buy a few books and get reading. You tell everyone you meet “I’m doing the marathon” and thrive on the praises and excitement for you and cringe at the useless advice and ridiculous questions such as “how are you feeling?”, “Is it your first?”, “A friend of mine did one and she couldn’t walk for days afterwards”.

You begin your training. You meet up with other runners who are doing the marathon and discuss the big day. You compare your injuries and your running secrets. You join a running group and talk about your past races or if it is your first, you are reassured that it will be amazing, but hard. You mentally prepare for the challenge that lays ahead. You know it’s going to be painful, but the reward is huge.

You spend months of preparation and taking care of your body and legs. You watch what you eat, you take care of your feet and ankles, you are extra cautious when it comes to drinking and staying up late. You are conscious of your weight and all you do is focus on yourself and avoid being injured or sick. Your body is a temple. You just want to be the best you can be for the big day. You notice your body change shape.

Joy and pride
You are constantly in and out of the toilet. People know that you are training and it’s no surprise you have to pop to the loo every hour on the hour because of all the water you are drinking.

You prepare your race day kit a few days before. Clean socks. Shoes, water bottles, gels, race number, extra shirt, body glide, watch. You want to be prepared and must not leave anything to chance.

The big day arrives, you get up early. You start out in good spirits, and think “it’s not so bad”. People cheer you along the way, you enjoy in conversation with your running partner, then suddenly, BOOM, the pain kicks in. You push through it, and then the pain worsens. And it’s not a pretty sight. It’s hot, there is sweat, tears, you've peed on yourself, had to go poo, snot on your hands and blood. Around the 24 mile mark, you scream out loud, you want to drop out, stop, but your mind is telling you to keep going, to push through the pain. Mile 25 you think “God, I can’t do this! Why did I think I could do this?”.

You continue to push through the pain because there is nowhere to go but forward and then you see the finish line up ahead. You hear the cheers; suddenly, the noise is muffled by your determination, you quickly focus, straighten up, steady your breathing, wipe the sweat away and just kick into gear. You cruise along the last few hundred meters ignoring the indescribable pain shooting through your body, and then you cross under the FINISH sign and cry. Tears of joy, tears of pain and a huge smile on your face. You forget the last 26.2 miles and firmly grip your medal and your pride. You have done it. YES! I AM A MARATHONER!

"Would you do it again?", everyone asks, "What was your time?"

I will probably take a break for some time, but YES, ABSOLUTELY!

Huge thanks to Maria for telling the story of her first marathon in such an interesting and different way. I loved the parallels - people often refer to marathon labours. If you would like to read the story of Maria's marathon as told by Little M, then please visit her blog here - there are also a few videos of her marathon experience. Please leave a comment if you can - all my guest posters really appreciate the support of you, the readers. 
If you would like to share your fitness story, then please contact me on Twitter or email me on the address on the About Me page. Posts can be partly or fully anonymous, or if you are happy to be named, I will link back to your blog. All contributions are really appreciated so do get in touch, even if you feel yours is not a worthwhile story. If it's a personal experience, it is. And I mean that even if you have failed at something, because it is still YOUR fitness story and you learned from it. If you want to read previous posts in this series, click on the My Fitness Story... tab above and they are all linked on that page.

Thanks for supporting My Fitness Story... and do come back for another guest post next week.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Well done Maria :) however I must confess that the similarities between birth and marathon running don't exist for me... Watching my step mum run and finish the London Marathon made me want to pull on my running shoes and get out there (even though she wrecked her knees so bad she can never run again)..... On the other hand watching lots of births on One Born Every Minute has only served to put me off having children........!!!!!!!! :D

    What was your time? X


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