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Princess Adventures A little something-something to run around the world with....

No no, I'm not going to do the half...The full one.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Thursday, 20 January 2011 | Views [732]

Last year, about a week after moving to Dubai, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon provided a buzzing atmosphere in the city and plenty to talk about. Having arrived jobless, goal-less and a little more on the squidgy side after a month in Thailand, I pondered the possibility of joining in for the 2011 edition. Why not eh? It had been on my bucket list since it's inception, and I'm a half-decent runner when I put my mind to it. Note: only half decent. I can knock over a 12k in decent time with a bit of training, but never before had I pondered a full 42 kilometres. Andrew scoffed at me when I mentioned it; and understandably. At the time, I hadn't done any consistent running in about two years, and could barely maintain 90-seconds of the ol' foot in front of the other. It was going to be a long, long journey, but Andrew's scoffing only made me more determined.

I spent the next four months working my way up slowly: 2 minutes of running, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 3 kilometres, 5 kilometres. My pace never really increased but my distance did, always pulling a steady speed for that little bit longer. Then, my wonderful Luvvy was joining in from down under. The Nike+ application meant we could share our distances, progress and speed...I was being THRASHED; put to shame and in my early 20s I had no excuse. It was time to up my game. If I was going to run a marathon in 8 months time, I had to get serious and stop telling myself 5km was justification for extra pizza and gloating. One more month and I was regularly knocking over 8 and 10 kilometres before the Summer heat drove me indoors (and insane). Summer rolled around ever more intensely, and so did my holiday time. Did I run while I was loafing around England, Scotland and France? Yes. Twice. Probably not seven weeks worth though.

Alas, holidays finished and I came home. Now, the countdown was on. Eighteen weeks away from the marathon and the formal training program started. Baby runs were 5km, and everything else was uphill from there. Each week long runs would climb higher and higher, with unrelenting heat making running 12km nearly impossible. But I did it, pushing harder and guzzling enough Gatorade and Masafi to keep both companies in business on my own. Reports, marking, teaching, reviews, colds, flu and all the rest were put by the wayside while I kept powering on. Poor Andrew was left to fend for himself with canned soup and toast for more nights than I'd like to admit as weeknight runs stretched out to 90 minutes. Complete dedication to my training powered on; running only. No cross-training, which turned out to be my downfall and left me in physio. I was crushed. I'd beaten everything else, but my fancy new shoes had torn me down and pulled nearly three weeks out of my training. I'd given up so much. I was running eight hours a week, turning up late to dinner with friends, missing out on time with Andrew, missing out on rest only to be beaten by something completely out of my control. There is no other way to describe the feeling: it sucked.

The physio told me to rest. The doctor gave me a mountain of pain killers and anti-inflammatories and to run through it. I didn't need much convincing - that Celebrex was great! Two more weeks and I was back into my normal schedule, notching up 45km each week with solid 20km stints on the weekends. I felt great, my body was a machine, and I could whatever the hell I wanted. Awesome. December came, and 20km runs turned into 20km hikes through Middle Easter Valleys and kiddy camping trips. Finally, I was cross training! At last, holidays arrived and in our usual 'holiday' style, we prepared for more trekking and exploring. Long story short, I got food poisoning on leaving Dubai for Kuwait, coming home with a lovely parasite, and while recovering from that while trekking through Nepal, a bout of bacterial food poisoning found me in hospital with a frosty cold IV. Apart from "I'm so far from home" and "I'm scared of rural Asian hospitals", I couldn't help but thinking "I'm not going to finish the marathon".

I recovered in time to notch up only 3 baby runs in the taper week. I'd missed the 18-mile training, and had only gone as far as a half marathon. I'd missed a solid four weeks of intense build up in strength and endurance. How was I going to manage the full 42 kilometres? What if I cramped up? What if my shins played up again? My ankle after the kerbside fall I'd had in May? My left knee from the skiing accident? What if? What if? What if? What if I just couldn't do it? It's SO FREAKING FAR! How will I cope? Nervousness filled my last week. Worry; desperate worry-filled my days, in amongst trying to eat an enormous amount of carbs that my body still really wasn't ready to process. There's nothing like fear-eating I tell you. Awful. 'Good luck's resounded through the halls at school, students dropped by in between exams with their well-wishes, facebook-love abounded my wall, and still I couldn't help but be so damn scared.

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