I decided to take part in Marcothon on a whim having completed a wet and windy run on December 1st. Returning from the cold and feeling mighty smug with myself in that period of time between being desperate for a shower but having no energy or inclination to actually go and have one, I stumbled upon an article about a woman who ran every day in December 6 years ago (naming it Marcothon after her husband who did the same thing the previous month) and has now done so every year. Given that December was shaping up to be an even busier month than usual with the pending arrival of Quincy and a spa break booked, I thought it would be a great way to force me to get out on the road when the excuses were there for the taking.
The first few runs were, dare I say it, easy. Things were slowly starting to wind down at work as we neared the end of the term (jk if you’re reading Steve) and as November hadn’t seen much activity I was coming off the back of an accidentally long rest period (I clocked up around 45 miles in November). However it wasn’t all fun and games so I thought I’d document the highs and lows of the monster Marcothon month.
- It really forced me to go out running. Marcothon removed that awkward 20 minutes on waking up or returning from work where you’re desperately trying to think of a reason not to go. The delaying tactics only dragged things out longer so it made me much more time effective.
- It tested my willpower. On many occasions I had people tell me I didn’t have to do it and only I would actually know if I didn’t run every single day, but the teacher in me knew I’d only be cheating myself (classic line, it’s still used FYI).
- It enabled me to feel slightly less guilty when indulging in a few extra snacks / meals / thousands of calories and meant I didn’t ever feel lethargic or too out of shape throughout the festive period.
- It made sure I didn’t get that drunk (I’ve been moving this point backwards and forwards from positive to negative for a while). Given that I have write-the-next-day-off style hangovers these days I had to make sure that I never drank too much and the following morning’s run was always in the back of my mind on every social occasion (apologies to the poor party guests who were lumbered with me on these).
- It has given me a sense of achievement in an otherwise gluttonous month. There were no medals, T-shirts or snickers bars awaiting me as I finished my 31st day (although I did unravel the tin foil and do a lap of honour around my kitchen) but I felt proud of having set my mind to something and achieved it with the odds stacked against me.
- It was a big fat inconvenience. Some days it was impossible to get some exercise in without juggling things about a bit. The 6am morning runs and 8pm evening runs in dark, cold conditions didn’t fill me with much merriment at the time but they had to be done
- My distances dropped. As time got more precious with hospital runs and last minute Christmas chores I had to squeeze in some very short runs (the official rules state you should run for 25 mins or 3 miles as a minimum, whichever comes first). Having completed a half marathon over half term in October I had originally planned to do the same over the Christmas holidays but the longest I managed was 6 miles.
- The weather. I do enjoy running in the rain and quite like a welcome breeze to cool me down, but the torrential rain this Christmas has been ridiculous and I’ve had to rotate various pairs of trainers, taking some out of retirement and demoting some daywear trainers to combat wet feet.
- The feeling of exhaustion and slowing of pace. I suppose we have rest days for a reason and towards the end of the month I felt it in my legs. I peaked in the first few days with some impressive speeds but things literally slowed down towards the end. By the final week I was in need of a few days off the road.
- I didn’t get that drunk. Yeah I mentioned that but over Christmas I think you need at least one hangover to feel like you’ve done it properly… roll on NYE and the ultimate rest day on January 1st!
Looking over my thoughts I think the good (just) outweigh the bad. Having averaged a distance of only slightly over 3 miles a day my aim next year is to cover more miles. Anyone want to join me? Here are the rules …