I've just been for my last, very gentle, 2 mile run, before the big day on Sunday. I got a lovely send off from everyone at Southdowns RunClub this morning, which made me feel even more geared up. I think i'm all set to go. Well, apart from having not packed or even looked at the course map yet, but MENTALLY, i'm ready for a fun time on Sunday. No clock watching - i will of course wear my Garmin, as i'd feel too naked without it, but it will be worn so i can't see the time. I just want to enjoy this one. My Sub 4 hours can wait until another race (but i WILL keep going until I get it!!)
Yesterday, my girls were watching Blue Peter on the TV. Up until now, I think they (along with my poor, long suffering, but brilliant husband) have tolerated my constant droning on about everything running related. But they saw that Lindsey Russell, the Blue Peter presenter is also running on Sunday. So they are interested now and want to track her. Not only that, she announced that Hacker T Dog might be at the finish to see her. Those with CBBC watching age children, will be familiar with this puppet. Now they are super excited and want me to not only find him, but ask him for his "paw-tograph" and get a selfie with him. He's not real.......... So, we're all ready here. Jason and the girls wil track me from home, so that I don't have to worry about hurrying from the finish and Charity area and panicking about meeting them in London.
I just want to take you back a few years. When we were all younger, our family belonged to Brighton and Hove AC. Steve Ovett at the time, branched off and started up a competitor club, also in Brighton: Phoenix AC. Our family (me, the youngest, my sister, my brother, my mum and my dad) followed and joined Phoenix AC. My brother used to run at English Schools standard, with Jonathon Bigg (Sally Gunnells husband) and we were good friends with their family. Being a smaller club then, we were close to many of the families and our socialising revolved around weekend track meetings. My mum was the chief supporter (given this title because she had the loudest, most embarrassing cheering voice - think My Fair Lady for forgotten etiquette) My dad and a few of the other dads (inc Mr Bigg Snr) started running longer distances and trained to enter the 3rd London Marathon. His training didn't involve Garmin watches or gels, or mobile phones for when he was 20 miles away on his long runs. He used to come home from his long run, take out a piece of string that had been cut to the mile scale and carefully measure his mileage on the large, dog earred street map. And not forgetting his insistance on telling his 3 children everystep of the run, with a blow by blow account started with "I went out of the door, down the drive (which was approx 5 metres long) aaaaaaallll the way to the end of our road, up this road etc etc. It was painful listening! So when he embarked on his first marathon, London 1983, I was 14/15 years old and he would have been nearly 44. I remember thinking - you are so OLD to run a marathon. He went on to run a few more marathons, including 2 more at London, 1985, where he would have been the age I am now (So OLD, plus 2 years!) and then 1989, the year he turned 50.
As I say, there were no Garmins then. He remembers looking up at Big Ben and knew he had to sprint to the line before it struck 1 o'clock, to ensure going under 4 hours - how about that for accuracy? I've got a couple of photos here. He did tell me the reason that everyone looks they are doing the conga across the line in the first photo, but I can't remember - maybe someone will know? I'll ask him later, if not.
My dad is at the back of the photo, with his hands above his head.
Another great finishing time, which was obviously faster, but my dad just took his time as the clock time?
Not sure why that last photo didn't upload the first time? In 1989, his finishing time was 3.35.
But that wasn't the family record. My brother was more of a track runner: 400m and 800m and got to a fairly high standard. My sister, after moving to live in Italy, suddenly decided one year that she would train for a marathon. Like everything she put her mind to, she also put her whole heart into it to. She trained like demon and completed the Rome marathon (1995?) in a time of 3.30. I don't think that family record is going to get broken any time soon!
My first marathon was in 2010, the first Brighton Marathon. I completed it in 4.53, but with a smile on my face. Not the fastest of times, but i managed to run the whole way. I entered for the following year, but at Christmas, just before i was about to start my training plan for 2011, my sister, who had been battling Cancer for 5 years, became very ill. She had coped incredibly well with 3 bouts of Chemo over the years and although she had spent a lot of time in and out of hospital with other complications, she always seemd to pull through again. But this time my heart just wasn't in it and to be honest, everything went by the wayside. My sister passed away in August that year, just after her 45th birthday. I was so close to her. As I said, she went in 100% with every challenge she set herself and i think part of that determination has rubbed off when I think about my running, too. I think I was shaken up into realising how I had been just treading water over the last 8 months and not really motivating myself, or my family into doing anything.
It wasn't until March 2012, after doing a few long runs with my friend Michelle, who was training for London, that my Brother-in-Law said I might as well run a marathon. So i did. Well, I entered and STARTED the MK marathon, but only got to mile 9, when I pulled a muscle (or something technical, I don't know?) I waited 90 minutes in the pouring rain, for a vehicle to take me back to the start. Grrrrrr! Michelle and I got a place for Paris 2013, to try and forget my Godawful experience of 2012, but then Michelle became very unwell and a marathon was out of the question for her. So what better to do, than lay a ghost to rest and do MK again. 4.28, a PB, but a really unenjoyable experience. So I had another go in 2014: 4.14. Again a PB, but bloody gruelling and painful over the last 8 miles. So with 4.07 in Brighton this year, there is a pattern of minor improvment!
But every year since I was a teenager, the London Marathon has been a part of my life. On and off for the last 11 years, i have entered and been unsuccessful in the ballott. Until this year, 2015. I am beside myself with excitement. I am going to soak it up and enjoy every part of it. I hope I spot lots of you Real Buzzers, which ever side of the barrier you are. I hope I remember seeing you, as in past marathons, I seem to have huge chunks of memory loss? I cannot WAIT to get my medal, no matter how long it takes me. I will bore everyone shitless, with my tales of the race (I went aaaaalllllll the way....... - payback to my dad, for all the years of suffering his training tales!)
And who knows, I might even get a selfie with Hacker T Dog?
Apr1320159:38 p.m.Ahhhh! Normal life has resumed. Back to work today. The high of the weekend is still fresh in my mind and even more memorable in my aching legs. In fact aching...
Apr0520156:50 p.m.Which you are free to add you own comments to! When strolling in Brighton today......... Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3
Mar2920158:59 p.m.And Gaelle, too. Not much, as now that I'm sat on the sofa (in the dangerous "falling asleep" position) with the flippy foot rest bit up, I'm feeling less...
Mar2620152:54 p.m.Ok, everyone's in detention and no ones leaving until we find out who has taken it. Dunno what you're talking about, Miss? MY "energy" My "get up and go" My...
Mar1620154:35 p.m.Just a quick update, after my fall on the 7th March. Thank you for all your well wishes on my last blog. The swelling went down fairly quickly, but not...