My 26.2 mile journey... by Simonetta26_2

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I am a part time working mum of 2 young girls. 3 years ago, I ran my first marathon, in my birth town of Brighton, In a time of 4.53. Last year, I "st...

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Total posts: 121

Started: 3 Jan 2013

Last post: 24 Apr 2015

  • It's (nearly) showtime!

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    Apr24201512:10 p.m.

    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?

     

     

     

    Comments (15)

    • Vin 'OMG Simmy!!!!!!! 😢I finished ready every word carefully going back in several places to ensure I took in what you just blogged. Winner of this week's RB blog Simmy. Love this blog. Heart felt and no holding back. I like that. You don't need advice from me running London for the first time. And you know my feelings about London. My first in 2012 I didn't have a watch. I went out with a boyhood dream in my heart. And afterwards I was on a high for a whole month. Since then I'm envious of what you tell of your dad. The old days where a string is just as good as gamin. No goo no gels. No chasing time. Not really. Just a desire to run and retell the story to his children. Gold pure gold Simmy. Dump the watch and create memories for your 2 girl to retell. You have the right plan for your first London. Don't chase time. Chase joy. And time will sure to look after itself. This blog has made my day although I needed to wipe a tear. Tell Jason if I find you and shout loud enough would he mind I get a hug. Just a hug 😃😃😃I won't say good luck. You won't need it. I say soak up the memories. Look around you on Sunday and smile a big big smile as I did back in 2012. Fandabadosie Simmy. Well made up for you. Better stop now 😂😂😂' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • Berlin_Bolt 'I echo Vin's words, Simmy, that was a super heartfelt blog and I never knew half of that. I am honoured to say I have met your lovely Dad, wow he was good and has every right to tell his stories forever and a day! I too used to use the bit of string method when I first started out long distance running!! So sad to read about your sister too but I'm sure she'll be up there, looking down, yelling the loudest on Sunday. See you Saturday and CCCCCCHHHHHHHAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGEEEEEE!!!!!' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • gloshawk 'Gosh, as Vin says, one to have read word for word, and twice over. You're from a talented family of runners, Simmy, there's no doubt of that, and you are another one of them. That sub 4 WILL come. London HAS come. The time is yours now; it's your day, and you will chew the tarmac with the best of 'em. Hopefully, you also know us well enough to know that we won'y get bored of hearing about it - every moment of everyone's VLM is special. You have made yours more so with the back story you have given us. I'm a firm believer in the power of "the look." There will be one heavenwards on Sunday, maybe as you cross Tower Bridge. Your sister, with the best view in the house, will cheer you on and be bloody proud of you as she does. I'm so excited for you. Go and bloody smash it!!' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • Simonetta26_2 'Ahhh, such lovely words. Thank you. Where will you be watching from, Vin? (Roughly what mile, as I don't know the landmarks, yet) And yes, Susanna my sister will be looking down and cheering. And my mum, too. I'd probably hear her from heaven, as well..........' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • runnerbarbie01 'Great post Simmy! You deserve to enjoy every step of London and I'm sure you will have a fantastic time! I love the vintage photos of your Dad running in the marathon - my Dad also ran it in the 80s and has an ADT medal - so cool! It sounds like you have a fantastic family and support crew around you, who have been through some tough times. They will all be cheering you on on Sunday and I will be too - I'll keep an eye out for you on the telly! Best of luck! xx' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • libbylaird 'What a Blog Simmy and what a family of runners you come from! You'll absolutely love London, it is amazing, just run and enjoy! I'll certainly be looking out for you at around mile 14.5 and then 21! Hopefully see you smiling Sunday!' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • Runwithroxy 'Hi Simmy, I too hadnt released what a great running tradition you have in your family. Great Blog. Very best of luck for Sunday. Hope you have a fantastic day, soak up the atmosphere and the noise and just enjoy. i don't think i will ever forget the roar of the crowd that you start to hear as you approach Tower Bridge' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • gaellebryant 'What a great heartfelt post...and sorry to hear you gave list both a sister and your mum... Who knows...Sunday your dream might one true as you will run without any pressure ... Enjoy every minute of it, the atmosphere, the crowd, the sights... Have a great strong run!' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • moose10 'What a heart felt post Simmy London will be so very very special words will never be able to do it true justice in my book. Enjoy the moment enjoy the day you and the support team truly deserve you'll be brilliant and those ladies watching over you are going to be so very proud. ' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • AngusMc 'Really great to get your back story Simmy, I love a family record! London belongs to you on Sunday, soak it up and keep it forever. I'm sure your kids will do it one day and carry on the tradition.' added 24th Apr 2015

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    • bevlar 'Wow what an amazing blog Simmy, and what a great family you have, truly inspiring. Have a most wonderful day on Sunday and I echo the above, once you get to tower bridge and you hear the crowds it will be the most fabulous noise you will ever hear, it's giving me tingles just thinking about it. Enjoy the day, the crowds, the atmosphere, the london landmarks, drink it all in as those memories will be with you forever. Best of luck xx' added 25th Apr 2015

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    • DavidHaworth1965 'Ahhhhh Simmy! What an amazing blog. Thank you for sharing. I jad no idea you came from such a running dynasty. So sad to read about your sister. Dedication, guts and determination obviously run in your family. Your own times have bren getting better and better every time and I'm sure the sub four will be yours soon. Perhaps not tomorrowas time Iis not important. I love the idea of you running it like your dad; big ben being the closest he came to a garmin! Tomorrow you will write another chapter in your family's amazing running story. Do it with a smile! Enjoy! And the best of luck! ' added 25th Apr 2015

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    • HOBSCowboy 'Oh gosh Simmy, what a back story. Very interesting to hear how running flows in the DNA, and so sorry to read about your sister. What an amazing day is yours to be had tomorrow, out there to enjoy and savour every moment. The slower you run it the more tales you will have to tell. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! See you at 22' added 25th Apr 2015

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    • KickAS_Kat ' Just a truly amazing and special blog Simmy and what a fantastic running background you come from! It's just so awful that you lost your Mum and sister. Throughout the tough miles, they'll be there in your heart, encouraging you onwards and they would be so deeply proud of the runner that you've become. Time is irrelevant tomorrow, you've waited a long time to experience this one so go out there and soak it up and enjoy every minute. Huge good luck wishes for tomorrow 😊 xx' added 25th Apr 2015

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    • Simonetta26_2 'Such lovely comments to read - I feel even more spurred on for tomorrow, now. Just finished a rather excessive carb loading session with the lovely Mr & Mrs Bolt (!). I'm in my room now, getting the number pinned on & my kit bag ready. Bit of BGT before an early night, then BRING ON SUNDAY!!!!' added 25th Apr 2015

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