How an old soak like me ended up training for a marathon

On a recent flight to Amsterdam to cheer on my crazy marathon running friends, a lady on the flight asked me if it might inspire me to run one.  42 unforgiving km? Not a chance in hell!  I have a bad knee; that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Less than a week later, in a fit of potentially misguided enthusiasm, I find myself signed up for the Copenhagen marathon.  I have never run more than 5km in one stretch, but having stood in the streets of Amsterdam watching people of all shapes and sizes running past me with emotional dedications to friends and family on their shirts I felt less than worthy of the beer I was holding. 

Those dedications hit a nerve for me.  When I was a child my father fought and won the battle against Leukaemia.  Last November my family were given the heart breaking news that once again my father was going to have to do battle against an unseen enemy.  This time it was Prostate Cancer.  Two weeks ago he completed a gruelling 7 week course of radiotherapy and the prognosis is, thank goodness, looking positive.  Stacking up these facts I decided it was time, bad knee and all, to take on a challenge I never thought I would be capable of completing; a full marathon.  The irony that a healthy dose of wine was what finally pushed me into signing up for the marathon is not lost on me, and some serious training will no doubt mean I must reassess my vinous intake. 

So how am I to reconcile my NDWI (necessary daily wine intake) with this new super fit, marathon running chick that I am to become?  At no point is abstinence an option so a plan must be formulated (all ideas welcome)

So far I have had three weeks of ‘training’.  My intrepid running partner (Peekay the 6 month old Jack Russell) and I have managed 3 runs per week, each week, including one in Monday’s storm (that must get brownie points surely?).  Alex’s Dry days = 0 

Despite my lack of will power when it comes to the sirens call of the bottle, we have managed 6.30am starts (smile not a prerequisite) and 5km runs each time.  This bodes well.  Perhaps the ‘demon drink’ is not such a demon when not drunk in litre bottle quantities at 40% proof?  Perhaps (hang onto your hats here) but just perhaps in moderate quantities, drunk with food, good company (Peekay again) and by the glass there might be some benefit? I realise that I am going to have to up the pace of my training efforts and that my NDWI might drop proportionally, however I am a firm believer that a healthy life style can include marathon training and my NDWI.

I am somewhat over-awed by the immensity of what I have agreed to do – 42km without collapsing, but then I remember what a small challenge it is in comparison to the one that my father, and many other brave men like him are facing.  All support for the charity would be gratefully received and hopefully, come May 18th, in the streets of Copenhagen, sweating, cursing and struggling to remain upright, I will be able to hand over a sizable chunk of cash to the charity that is saving so many lives.


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