It all comes down to this…..

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So for the last 18 weeks I have been training for Milton Keynes Marathon – 381 miles ran, an average 3-4 runs a week of anywhere up to 35 miles.

Over this time I have got PB’s in all distances from 1 mile to 20 miles, yet there is only one day where it matters.

I must admit the pre-race nerves are starting to set in. Have I done enough? Have I done too much? Will I be able to make it round? Is that a sniffle? Why am I aching? Am I getting ill?

This is natural, and I experience it before all races however this time round it feels different. I’ve never had a goal before. Obviously all races you want to do your best, and it’s always great getting a PB, but typically on the start line when people ask, ‘what are you hoping for?’ my answer is always ‘just to get round and finish it.’

This time I don’t want to just finish it, I am absolutely hell bent on getting that elusive sub-5 I’ve always wanted. It is going to be a big challenge as my current marathon PB is 5hrs 22mins, so I’m going to need a massive 23mins improvement (almost 1 min per mile quicker average).

So how am I going to achieve this?

I have 100% faith in my training. I’ve had some corkers of a training run, some I will never want to talk about or think about ever again, but the majority have been a fantastic experience.

I’ve got to run with some great people, and learn from them – seeing some go from half marathon runners to full and doing it in absolute style.

I’ve had a fantastic support system from my family, friends and running club (as well as complete strangers).

I am going to eat well this week, but also stick to the plan. I know what has worked for me over the last 18 weeks, and I know what hasn’t.

I am also going to smile, the whole way round the course. I find that smiling when I run lifts my spirits and gives me the bounce that I need to get through some really long distances.

I am going to draw on every single positive thought I have, and every positive comment, message, post I’ve received and accept every single cheer and shout of my name that I get!

I can’t wait to see my family and friends at the end of the race and on the course. I also can’t wait to see my running club, Leighton fun Runners at Mile 21, complete with jelly beans, fruit pastilles and full fat coke – I know they’re going to give me a huge boost at a time I am going to need it, as well as a couple of man-up shouts!

I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Milton Keynes Marathon for selecting me as an MK Ambassador, I’ve loved the role. I want to say a big thank you to Leighton Fun Runners for their continued support and great advice over the last 18 weeks. Thank you to Laura Williams, my Weight Watchers Leader for helping me lose over a stone and a half, definitely has helped improve my running. A massive thank you and well done to my running partner Jude Wilson, who has been amazing throughout our training and set the bar by smashing London in under 5 hours. Thank you to my family and friends for all their support, both in person, on Facebook and through sponsoring me (I’m raising money for Keech Hospice –https://www.justgiving.com/forLindaHerkes And lastly a massive thank you to my husband Scott for putting up with my early morning long runs, being out for hours upon hours, cooking endless roast dinners on a Sunday because I’m too knackered to move and being there to watch our son so I can train.

My next, and last blog, will hopefully be a race report of MK Marathon, telling you all how I smashed my goal! Fingers crossed everyone – and please send as many positive thoughts as you can! xxx

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