My first marathon
After running everyday for a nearly a year and whilst watching the London marathon I decided I wanted to challenge myself with a marathon too. Thanks to @RunningHeroesUK I won a place in the Dublin marathon October 2016 - Here's a little run down of how the marathon went for me.
After a suitable breakfast, shower and getting dressed I was ready to go, but not before Jonn took some photos of me. I know, the vest is slightly too big for me but I had the perfect outfit on for the temperature that day, 15 degrees and the sun even came out at the end! Don’t worry, the three sports bras kept we warm!!
Strangely it was Jonn that seemed to be more nervous than me, worrying about seeing me half way round. As it happened we missed each other, I was running faster than expected and he was running late! (He’d been for a nice 10km run himself and then walked nearly another 10km to try and see me at the half way point). I felt like he was with me the whole way round anyway, as he’d done a playlist for me and every now and then he had put a personal message of encouragement on (with an Irish accent), I lost count of the strange looks I got from laughing/singing out loud or even dancing at his choice of music and messages. One of which was caught on camera…
I got to the half way point (21km/13miles) and soon realised that I wasn’t going to see Jonn before the end. Maren and Gary were planning on shouting me on too, but I had no idea where or when I would see them all. As asked I stayed to the left hand side wondering which corner I might see them on. I was surprised at how good I felt and started wondering if I should pick up my pace, but being my first marathon I just wanted to finish and be happy with the result, so I tried my best to stay at a slower pace until the finish line was nearer. As I approached 30km I was very happy to come across some toilets… I’ll say no more about that! While I felt fine (more so after the pit stop) my quads were starting to tighten up and I started to slow down a bit. I started thinking back to all my training and remembered that I had done some intensive sprint training, I knew I could sprint for 25minutes at a really fast pace. I started thinking, when would be the best time to pick up the pace. I decided to plod on at what felt like a snails pace and as I started to recognise/realise how close to the end I was I decided to go for it.
Unbelievably, I managed to see Jonn in the crowd as I was coming towards the end (the orange jacket helped) but Maren and Gary were nowhere to be seen. He told me they were further down on the opposite side. So I removed my headphones and sprinted (kind of) over to the other side. I heard my name screamed out and there they were, Maren on Gary's shoulders screaming at the top of her voice! (deafening Gary in the process) It was just the push I needed to race towards the finish line as fast as I could - it was my fastest lap of the whole marathon…. all I could think was I should have gone faster sooner…
As I crossed over the finish line and turned off my watch, I realised that I’d done it quicker than expected. My aim was 4hours and 30minutes, I crossed the line in 4hours 21minutes and 22seconds! I was so over joyed but realised I had one more challenge left….
As I made my way through the crowds, picking up medals, t-shirts, bags etc. my legs slowly started to seize up. It’s quite a funny experience, as everybody is bouncing off each other because they no longer have control over their limbs! I couldn’t get to the meeting place so I ventured back to the flat, as my phone was inside and I could call my supporters to tell them where I was. Then I faced the final challenge, how the hell do you get down a flight of stairs when your legs don’t work anymore??? Backwards is the answer! I managed to get down the stairs, eventually. Aimed straight for the bathroom to take my cold bath, and it bloody was!
It was quite a strange experience sat in the bath, drinking champagne, surrounded by your husband and friends, being fed chocolate by a man I’d only met on a handful of occasions (Gary, Maren's lovely fiancé) who was sat on the toilet…
No pictures of that I’m afraid! My request for lunch was a bacon sandwich, beef hula hoop crisps and a cadburys crunchie bar - none of which I can get in France!
I was so lucky that my Air Traffic Controllers from Pau had bought me a 2 hour massage for my birthday, so I chose to have this at the end of my marathon. Bizarrely, it was my back that was in knots and my legs weren’t too bad. Then Pizza Express for tea, where I ate more than I’d eaten all week!
The following day was quite entertaining. My legs were aching but I was determined to go shopping. I left Jonn at the bus stop, as he was flying out to Amsterdam with work, and I slowly wondered into town. I’ve never based my shopping around whether a shop has stairs or not, but today I had to. Some I didn’t even venture into because I had to go downstairs to get into them and I checked if there was a lift before going up to different levels. Now I know what it feels like to go shopping with a buggy!
I tried so hard to rest up and not run for a few days afterwards, but by the forth day I was going crazy, so I went out for a short run and came to the conclusion that my legs still worked and I wasn’t broken. A week later I ran a half marathon, which wasn’t my brightest idea, so I’ve eased off slightly for the time being. I’m now just running 4 days a week, instead of everyday. I do have a meeting this afternoon with my gym instructor to put a training plan together for my next marathon at the end of April In Annecy!! Several years ago I did the half marathon here and it’s around a beautiful lake - watch this space!!
Thanks again for your support.