"Go on girl, you'll get there..." I bristled when I first heard this, I always did when someone commented or heckled. It was a regular occurrence living and running around East London. I would dread the school kick out time if I had timed my runs wrong and would have to run the gauntlet of far-too-confident-and-really-scary school kids as I jogged along. But, this comment, this was at about 4.30am on a cold, wet dark January morning in Newham, the streets were dirty and the bins and rubbish was out waiting to be collected, getting in my way as I tried to run. I was training for the London marathon and this year I was finding training really tough. Really, really tough.. The comment was soft and sounded heartfelt, like maybe he knew, maybe he was a runner? The words by a random stranger almost made me despair and cry as I felt so far away from my goal on that dark morning that I really began to question whether I would, as this man (who didn't know me at all but seemed to have so much faith in me) had said, ever "get there".
This was 2008, shortly after this I got diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia and had a serious of injections to rectify the problem. You know the image of Popeye after he ate spinach? That was me. It was awesome, I had found an answer to my immediate problem of 'why is this training feeling so, so tough and not producing any results'. Over the years, with the ebbs and flows of my running I have often used this strangers comment as a mantra. During a tough part of a race "go on girl, you'll get there". At the start of a training plan when you feel like the end is no where in sight "go on girl, you'll get there". And, more recently during a time of injury and rehabilitation. This time there was no quick fix, no injection to make me spring up and run out the door. This time is was months and months of hard work (go on girl), strengthening (go on girl), core work (go on girl), treatment (go on girl), posture correction and base miles until I have indeed, finally, nearly "got there" again. The "there" is at the beginnings of a training plan again, for the first time in over a year. It feels good, exciting and a bit scary. I really want to get there, to my goal.