Mental to Marathon: shit is getting real

Runner Carolyn Tate in front of the Story Bridge

This weekend it will be seven weeks until I run the Gold Coast Marathon. Seven weeks until I lace up my trainers and go out to run for something like five hours until I cross that finish line after 42.2km.

Understandably, the training is amping up and things are getting hectic.

Last weekend I went out for my first ever three hour run. I know, right? Who the fuck does that unless they’re being chased by blood-lusting vampire alien bears?

Actually, I was supposed to run for 2 hours and 50 minutes (because that 10 minutes makes such a big difference!), but I had a shocking run and ended up running for longer than I had planned.

Here’s what happened. I set out for my long run on Saturday morning, as I usually do. Ever faithful and supportive Husby took the whole tribe of three ratbags to watch each other’s weekend activities at Auskick and ballet at sites all across Brisbane. (Who knew when you live in the inner suburbs, you’d have to travel so effing far to go to kids’ weekend activities?)

My morning is clear, and off I run. So far, my training has been perfect. Everything Coach Zoey tells me to do, I do. My distances have been slowly pushing up and it’s all just been so achievable.

“I’m really going to run this marathon,” I think to myself. “I’m all over it.”

My biggest worry was that it had been too easy.

What a wanker. I almost want to punch myself in the face.

But really, I did worry about what I would do if I hit rough times during the marathon. Would I have the mental fortitude to tough it out when things got hard? Or would I collapse in a heap and cry for my mother?

Carolyn running looking smug

It’s important to note here that I have also been seeing a dietitian during my training for two reasons: one because I wanted to shed a little bit of fat so I’d find running long distances a little bit easier (I do not want to carry an extra gram of fat that far if I can help it), and two because I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome for those who have happily lived their lives this long without learning that acronym), and fuelling for a marathon while dealing with those issues is more than I’d care to manage on my own.

Gillian just wrote last week about the genius of finding professionals to help unblock paths for us, and a dietitian was what I needed right there.

So through all of my training, I’ve also been testing my tolerance for various foods and have found that I don’t do well with wheat or lactose. Fine. Now I know, no problem. I can deal with that.

But I’m still testing some other foods, and last week I found that something I tried upset the apple cart a bit. Right in the middle of my 2 hour 50 minute run.

I won’t bore you with the unsavoury details, but let’s just say the run did not go well. I felt fucking horrid, and I struggled with nausea and fatigue after the first hour. It was hard. I cried a few times.

But, not only did I finish the damn thing, I ran further than I needed to because when my time was up, I wasn’t quite home yet, so I kept running. Just like Forrest Gump.

And as much as that run sucked, and it has kind of made me nervous about going out for my long run this Saturday (another 3 hour gem), what it did tell me was that I DO have the mental fortitude to run this marathon.

I do have what it takes. I’m quite sure of it.

The clock is ticking down to 3 July when I will prove it to myself.

have what it takes

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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