On Sunday I managed to complete my first ever Marathon I have done the Great North Run five times but this was double the distance and therefore double the test. My panic and nerves kicked in a full week before the race and I was being physically sick. Not ideal preparation for running 26.2 miles when you cannot eat anything. As the week went on I managed to eat more everyday, which was a massive plus of course!
Until the nerves kicked in again on the Friday as I went to get the train from Newcastle to London and I felt awful, my legs felt empty and heavy and I hadn’t even ran yet. Luckily thanks to a UK Run Chat group on Twitter as I found out I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
I went to collect my number and something incredible happened! I met Paula Radcliffe who was for some reason in front of where you had to collect your number at the incredible expo! Unfortunately I did not have much time to look around (and buy things). Only bought some Runderwear which made a massive difference in comfort for the race! The only other thing I really wanted to buy was an Adidas London Marathon hoodie but they had none left 😦 I’m hoping when the online store reopens I will be able to get one.
By the Friday night I was totally burning up and had a really bad sore throat. This then continued on the Saturday rushing to find a Boots to buy some throat spray and be told I had an infection. My panic was probably making it all worse but I was seriously thinking I would not be able to run!
The Sunday morning I had a 6am alarm with all of my stuff sorted the night before. The worst thing it was chucking it down with rain and no tubes were running yet from the one just round the corner from the hotel. I then had to get a taxi to Victoria station to catch a train to the start line. Which seemed to take forever but luckily I had made two friends on the platform, two men who had done the race before and I sat with them for a while before heading into the starting pens.
Then the most incredible thing happened 39,000 doing the marathon I wandered into pen 6 starting to feel even more real now and bumped into someone I knew and worked out in Hong Kong with!?!? What were the chances of something like that happening, absolutely unbelievable.
When the race started it was all about pacing myself through the miles and not going too fast to begin with. I managed to do this well and felt really good for the first 15 miles and made the massive mistake of a toilet stop. As soon as I stopped my legs thought it was all over, nightmare!
The real struggle came between miles 18-23 and it was hard going with running, fast walking and walking all going on. I entered a world of pain by that point and every time my foot hit the ground my lower back hurt! I managed to build myself up to properly run the last mile and a half again as I wanted to be running past Big Ben and then Buckingham Palace.
The finish line – that was certainly a great moment. So great that I almost burst into tears when I got over it!
An incredible physical and psychological challenge which I managed to overcome. Finishing in a time of 5 hours 27 minutes. Something which I know I will be able to improve with in the future, not bad after no sleep and hardly anything to eat. 7 Energy gels throughout helped out! Not to mention that my Nike Running app tracked that I actually ran 27.2 miles!!!