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Becca's Journey so far with Off That Couch Fitness



Watching the runners come through the 22 mile marker at London Marathon 2023,

there was part of me that doubted I'd ever be able to run long distance again. After

almost a year with a back injury I'd spent my first winter on Zwift, a long run was 7

miles and every pain free outing was a cause for celebration.

Fast forward a year to London Marathon 2024 and I was pinning on my stripy bib,

lacing up my Vaporfly's and walking under the arch to the Championship start.

After finishing Outlaw X in September 2023 it was time to accept that I had

absolutely no idea how to train for a triathlon. My first 70.3, two weeks after my first

ever tri and only swam the 1.2 miles in training twice (would not recommend), but I'd

dragged myself over the finish line in 6:07, so it quickly went from a one and done, to

signing up for the next one to try and take off those 8 minutes.

A couple of weeks later I officially came on board with Off That Couch Fitness. We’d

booked Benidorm half marathon for some winter sun in November, leaving us two

months to prepare.

Despite a series of marathons and ultras under my belt, I’d never actually raced a

road half marathon. So we decided Coventry half four weeks out would be a good

way to get an idea of pacing. I’d done the Outlaw run in 1:49 but had no idea what

shape I was in, so lined up in front of the 1:40 pacer. Despite being hillier than

expected I was shocked when I crossed the line in 1:28:09, but celebrating a 21

minute PB was cut short after realising I’d missed the London champs qualifying time

by 10 seconds.

That time did qualify me for the elite start at Benidorm half though. When we arrived

in Spain I assumed the pen would be full of other runners. My stomach dropped

when I saw the very small number of serious looking runners wearing the same bib

as me. With ten minutes to go, despite some protest, my friends pushed me under

the barrier to take my place with the others at the front.

Once the gun went the nerves disappeared and it was game on. Despite a 5:30pm

start it was all about those 10 seconds. Making our way along the seafront and

through the bars, 1:25:16 later I was over the finish line, 5th female, 2nd in AG and

London was in the bag.

Waiting for the championship entries to open felt like an eternity and the day the

results were released it seemed like everyone had an email but me. I couldn’t work

out why they hadn’t made contact…until I checked my junk mail and there it was,

“Congratulations, you’re in”.

The next 3 months were a blur of rain, sessions, rain, long runs, and more rain

(anyone who trained through winter 2024 IKYK) and included taking the win at a


tough local trail race, but the real test of my fitness was in March, our big local race -

Stafford Half. It’s described as undulating but it feels like the first 10 miles are all

uphill.

After a pep talk on the start line I went out hard and 5km in checked my watch and

couldn’t believe I was still holding the pace.

After hearing a couple of “Well done, second lady” I looked around but there was no

one else there.

Time to dig deep. I knew the last 5km was downhill so stepped on the gas at the end

of the last climb and moved into first place. With a mile to go I thought I’d overcooked

it but the atmosphere from the crowd was electric. The adrenaline started pumping

and I threw it all out there, getting over the line in 1:22:12.

A few weeks later, shake out done, sat in the Airbnb when my phone pinged. A final

coaching message from Steve “What’s the dream time for tomorrow?”

I paused, thinking it was one thing but actually saying it out loud was something else,

but I was starting to believe the impossible “sub-3” I wrote back. Send.

“You can do it” came the reply.

Sunday morning we woke up to bitter winds, but I layered up and made my way to

the start. It was so exposed in the pen so we kept moving as much as possible.

Someone commented “We’re burning through glycogen trying to keep warm” so I

had an extra gel and tried not to worry. This was it, after years of spectating, I was

running THE London Marathon

With ten minutes to go we started to move towards the start line.

The first half was incredible, before I knew it we were at Tower Bridge with my family waiting

around the corner. Although I felt like I could go on forever, I’ve got enough experience to

know it wouldn’t last. At mile 15 my quads started to cramp and by mile 20 I couldn’t

stomach any more gels. I’ve never run the business end of a marathon without fuel so this

was unknown territory. Even seeing my family again couldn't pull me out of the pain cave.

You don't train for the first half of the marathon and at 23 miles the tough training block

started to pay off. All I could think was never again, but every time I checked my watch

somehow I was still holding the pace. Finally as I turned the corner, with Big Ben dominating

the skyline and my legs in pieces, it sank in that I was actually going to do it. The last 400m

down The Mall went on forever as I felt the last of my energy drain away, but somehow I

held on and made it to the finish. 2:59:05.


It's been a whirlwind 8 months since becoming an OTCF athlete, managing to achieve things

I never thought were possible and were just getting started.

Next up - Outlaw Half Holkham (and yes, I've swam the distance more than twice in training

this time)



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