Well, today has pretty much been spent sleeping, hobbling, watching the marathon on iplayer and smiling….! I’m so so chuffed with myself that I completed my fourth race this year and my fourth London marathon 🙂 here’s my story!
The day before, was pretty much spent distracting myself from the task that lay ahead. I did some all important fundraising, a lot of housework, and got my hair done…. Got to look good for the finishing line! Then in the evening Matt and I went for a meal (Italian obviously). By the time we got back I realised that I had clearly been avoiding the fact that I had a marathon to run the next day as I had got nothing ready! Cue work to get all my stuff together and iron my name onto my orange vest 🙂
I went to bed about 2300 as knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep before that, nerves always get the better of me. Thankfully I fell to sleep fairly quickly and apart from a 3am wake up for 30 minutes slept until 6am.
You all know what comes next, it involves reluctantly eating porridge……
Onto the train station I went and the platform was packed! Mostly with runners and their supporters, along with the odd person here and there that were just going about their usual business. I took a slightly different route to what I am used to as there are rail works going on until January, and this change in routine did not help the nerves. Everyone getting off the train at Greenwich had the same look of “where do we go now?” But the answer to that is always simple, follow the 37,000 other runners!!!!!
Then came the all too familiar walk up the hill to the Red Start. There are three starts for the London Marathon, Green, Blue and Red. Charity place runners head straight for Red 🙂 I’ve always been in the Red Start, so not sure how I would feel should I ever get a ballot place and have to go to Blue!
Once in the Red Start area you can feel the tension and excitement bouncing around and off every single person. Some will be first time runners, others have run many many times before. One thing however is the same for all of the runners, we are all nervous, excited, proud to be a part of London tradition, and have one aim, to get across that finish line!
I was keeping my eyes peeled for other #teamorange runners but it was so so cold that we were all very much covered up. Slowly some of us found each other and we made small talk but it was obvious we all had the race on our minds!!! Group photo and it was time for us to all find our way into our ‘pens’ like a herd of cattle and to wait for the start.
The pens were getting full pretty quickly, and I always hate being at the back of the pen so I did a sneaky climb over the barrier and snaked my way towards the front. There was the hum of chitter chatter in the air as everyone bounced around trying to keep warm, stretch in the confined space and think about the task that lay ahead, 26.2 miles……..
A countdown from the International Space Station begun and we all joined in, then we were off! Well, kind of……
It took 25 minutes for me to reach the start line and I had to remind and reassure myself that slow and steady was definitely the safe option. Too often when I’m running I come across people really struggling, and I was really keen not to be one of them! There was a long way to go and I was definitely in it for the long run….
The first miles passed by comfortably and quickly. At 8 miles I felt strong and my pace was good. I was going comfortably quick for me and felt confident of a good finish time. Matt was only 2 miles away at mile 10 and with my all important wine gums!
Two miles came and went, then I was at mile 10, met Matt and it really lifted my spirits. It was so great to see him and get not only a sugar boost but a confidence boost too. He made me feel wonderfully like a winner 🙂 and spurred me on to continue strongly.
A mile or so later came my next reliable cheer point organised by a friend, Sabrina, and her family, they made a lot of noise and Sabrina even got a sweaty hug from me, lucky gal!
Not far away was Tower Bridge, and this is always a massive landmark in the marathon, by this point you are almost half way and you know this is where you have to start digging deep to keep feeling good. Also for Team Orange, this point comes in the form of a cheer point so loud you almost want to take off!
At mile 19 Matt was again there to cheer me on and provide the all important sugar boost. I stopped here for a quick stretch (and moan) and bags full of reassurance. The last mile had been significantly slow and my ankle was very sore. One thing was for sure now, I wasn’t going to get under 5hrs but I would bloody finish!
I decided on a walk/run technique, and started to walk for 2 minutes at each mile marker before running on to the next mile marker. This worked amazingly well and surprisingly I never got to the point of feeling like stopping completely. The miles came relatively quickly to me (I had also decided not to chase the miles), and before I knew it the finish was in sight!
By this point I decided it wasn’t far and that running to the end was my only option. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the feeling of turning off Birdcage Walk, into The Mall, and seeing the finish line, I cried the whole way down the Mall and blubbered like a child once over the line 😂😂
My finish time was 5hrs 13mins, only 3 minutes short of my PB in 2008, not bad considering I was out of training for nearly two weeks with an injury and that it made an appearance with a fair few miles to go. Obligatory hobble to get the wonderful medal, and to find my bag, goody bag and husband. I collapsed into his arms and he helpfully assisted me put my jogging bottoms on 😂😂
Then a pose (trying not to look like I’m in pain)…..
From here we strolled onto the post race reception for a brief catch up with people, and the most important task of getting a massage….! The charity and other runners have been the most amazing support for each other throughout the whole marathon journey and without each other this journey would have been so much harder. The noise when you arrive back at the reception is rapturous and in all honesty I was a little embarrassed, but nice to know the miles are appreciated!
After the massage (thank of goodness for the massage!) and a quick chat with people I felt like I just wanted to go home, eat and have a long hot bath. I couldn’t wait to see my babies and my parents, for who this journey is equally as important. After all, I haven’t just run the marathon for me, every step and every breath is for Graham and others affected by MD. 4 years ago today we laid him to rest.
We decided to walk back to Waterloo as not moving wasn’t really an option if I was going to make it home without needing to be carried. Walking back to Waterloo is always worth it just for the view 🙂
Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this journey so far. We are now 1/3 of the way through and almost £1700 raised. Only 8 races to go!!!! Not sure I can beat yesterday’s experience but I will do my best!
If you would like to donate to our cause then please visit
If you would like to know more about my 2016 challenge then check out my other posts!
Did you race this weekend and if so how was it??