I BLOODY DID IT!!
Lets just take a few moments or so to let that sink in, because even I haven’t got my head round it yet despite being in complete agony after tackling the 26.2 miles. Also, let me apologise now as I have a feeling this post is going to be a little bit all over the place as the whole event was a whirlwind!
The morning of the race I was surprisingly calm however the minute Sol left me and I got on the train my nerves hit and I started to feel nauseous. Knowing this was all in my head, I closed my eyes focused on my breathing. Luckily I played follow the runner as soon as I got off at West Ham and bumped into a man called Chris who was also travelling alone to the Red start pen. so stuck with him until we arrived which kept my mind off thinking so much about the race and more about why I was running as we were talking charities the whole way.
I soon met up with Team Cardio as planned by the Lucozade stand after dropping my bag off and chatted away the final hour until the gun time. Seeing as I was in Red 7 with a predicted finish time of 6 hours which meant that I didn’t actually cross the start line for another 36 minutes! This annoyed me a little bit as I just wanted to get going but surprisingly the time went very fast and before I knew it I was running.
I followed my run walk plan religiously which got me a 5K PB and would have got me a 10K PB too if it wasn’t for my toilet break (Rookie mistake – I tried to wee in my shorts but couldn’t do it for love nor money). The route started to head into central London just as the heat started to become unbearable and the water stations became empty, meaning I was powering through on determination and Pip & Nut Almond Butter. I lost a lot of time here because I just had no energy but as soon as I saw Tower Bridge knowing my charity cheer squad was at the bottom I came to life.
Luckily by this point some water started to become available as Marshall where collecting half empty bottles from the floor, pouring them into cups and handing them out. Unfortunately as appreciative as I was – and still am – for their efforts to keep us going it was all a little to late. Just after 15 miles I started to feel dizzy. I stopped in the middle of the road determined not to be sick and to not pass out if I am honest. I thought everything was over and started to cry but a follow runner Debbie came over to me doused me in her two water bottles (she wouldn’t get any more for a mile), talked me into trying to move again as I was now on the countdown heading into Canary Wharf.
I tried to continue to run but cramp kicked in pretty quickly meaning I couldn’t run more than 30 seconds at a time. I put this down to the fact I stopped as my legs were still feeling fresh beforehand, but know deep down if I hadn’t of stopped I would have passed out and pulled out – I mean my heart rate was only just bellow 200 BMP! I decided at this point I had to walk to the finish or I would cause serious damage and never hear the end of it from my parents.
My head went down; I stared at the floor, focused on counting taking deep breaths and putting one foot in front of the other. Surprisingly I started averaging 15 minute miles which made it clear to me that no matter what, if I didn’t stop I would make it. I called Sol & my family at this point, hearing all their voices kept me distracted from the pain shooting up my leg and back and reminded me why I was here. It made mile 22 flyby thank god and I knew I only had 2.5 miles left until I could get my hugs.
The course opened up to the public (this is your warning you have 1 hour to go) just as I was coming up to the 40KM mark and I met back up with Debbie who reminded me that any moment now I would meet Sol and only had 1.5 miles left to go till I could call myself a Marathoner. Before I could take another step there he was and by god I was so happy! The moment was actually caught on camera (photo bellow) as he was standing just in front of a cameraman. He joined me on the course and stayed with me till the end even pushing me to run/waddle the last 50m.
I finished with an official time which has me one step closer to completing all 6 majors before I am 30 – to me that’s all that matters. It may have been 1 and half hours slower that anticipated, but as they say a 6 minute mile is the same as a 12 minute mile. I STILL COMPLETED 26.2 MILES!
Did my experience put me off running more marathons? Not in the slightest! Sorry Mum & Dad but I am going to be an Abbots World Marathon Major 6 Star finisher if it’s the last thing I do. With Boston’s qualifying time to even enter the ballot being 3 hours 30 minutes, it may just actually be the last thing I do.