Pre-race nerves are everywhere today, making me a jittery and unpleasant bugger to be around. Went to register in the biggest marathon expo I have ever seen (with the worst organised queuing) and picked up metres of tape and plasters for my ankle, which still has a raw patch from Odense. I am paranoid about every twinge and perceived ache in my legs – “is that my hamstring?” “my knee feels stiff” ” have my toes fallen off?” etc….
I would not have imagined this one year ago.
I got an email this morning from my friend Alan, wishing me the best of luck for the marathon tomorrow. It was particularly apposite, since Alan was the one sitting with me in The World’s End in Finsbury Park one afternoon during that glorious April sunshine when I came up with the idea for the Twelveathon.
Given that we had just played a stunningly inept game of tennis, it was a quite surprising move on my part to propose taking on a sporting endeavour that would require a significant improvement to the fitness levels that had seen me lurch after even the slowest serves with all the grace and energy of a lump of yoghurt sliding down a toddler’s bib.
That seems quite a long time ago. Now I am here in Berlin, with 11 marathons behind me this year, unsure of what to expect tomorrow. I have resolutely treated each race as a single step on the way to completing this task, not allowing myself to think about the whole achievement or the scale of it. But now it is all I can think of.
Tomorrow feels like the real race is finally here, that all the other marathons have been building up to this point. We don’t often get clear beginnings and ends in our lives. Now I have a real and symbolic finish line rolled into one,
Only have two main thoughts – make sure you enjoy yourself and don’t fuck it up.
Let’s hope both come true.