Guess who's back...?

On return from a weekend in Yorkshire on Sunday, the post had been kindly left neatly piled up by friends who took care of the furry member of casa del Sutcliffe.

There were a couple of bills, people trying to sell stuff, and two plastic wrapped mags.

My long-suffering other half got to them first and opened hers which announced she hadn't got a ballot place for the Flora London Marathon in 2009.

Shame, I thought, until I realised that the one addressed to me looked different.

It was from the marathon people, but in a different wrapper.

Squeaky bum time...

With a mixture of trepidation, excitement and my usual sense of not really knowing what's going on, I split open the wrapper to see the word "Congratulations" emblazoned across the front of the official mag for those who get a ballot place.

My mind began to race and all sorts of things raced through my head:

I'm in.

I'm doing it again.

I'm completely screwed.

Did I put the kettle on?

As those who followed my progress last time will know, it didn't end well. It was painful, exhausting and demanding - and that's just the training.

I got around last time. Just. But it wasn't a win, it was a score draw. So I had already told myself that if - on the microscopic chance chance I did get in the ballot - I was going to do it, I wanted to do it well. I want to run the whole thing, and to do it as well as I possibly can.

Now, last time taught me a lot - about myself, about training, about geese - but the main thing was that you have to be commited to putting the work in during the months leading up to the day itself.

This year's ballot results are six months before the race, not the four months I had last year, so the prospect of committing half a year to getting ready for a few hours running through London is daunting.

I talked it over with my better half, who I don't think I see enough of anyway, because I need her support if I'm going to do this. She said she was happy if it was something I wanted to do, and I feel selfish because I think it really is.

And I've no idea why.

It was f***ing horrible after mile 17, running in the hail with unimaginable pain in each knee every time my foot hit the surface of the road (which happened a lot over the remaining 9 miles!).

Slipping out of bed early on a frosty Sunday morning to run 12, 13, 16 or 18 miles is also not my idea of fun.

But I'm from Yorkshire, we're a stubborn breed, and we do things reet!

This time I'll better prepared mentally. I know what to expect, and I know I can physically get round.

Oh ******* **** otters. What am I doing...

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