Finally! I have completed a marathon!
Welcome to my first attempt at a blog! Being a bit of a social network junkie I am quite tempted to make a habit of this!
Like many others I ran the London Marathon last weekend. This was my second attempt at a proper marathon (failed to finish last time) and was quite an experience. I have tried to enter the London Marathon on several occasions in the past and always been unsuccessful.
I broke my metatarsal in October, 2 days after receiving my race entry confirmation. I then spent 6 weeks on crutches in a fracture boot and had serious doubts whether I would be able to run the marathon, putting on 2 stone in the process – enjoying Xmas! Eventually, when I tried to run in December I had to give up after about 5 minutes as I still had a bit of pain and was worried that I would start training too fast and have to go through the whole fracture thing again. However, I kept going day by day and managed to build up to about 20 minutes running by the end of the month.
First day of official training was 1st January - 5 weeks after I would have liked to. I entered the Wiltshire 10 (mile) and Hogweed Hiily Half marathon to give myself some target races and applied to join my local running club, the Chippenham Harriers.
Although it was difficult at first I built up my training miles to a high of 44 miles per week combining long runs on a weekend with 4 miles to the office in the morning and club runs on a Thursday. That and cycling up to 100 miles per week..... and cross training!
I travelled up to London on Saturday morning with one of my sons (Thomas) and arrived at ExCel at 11am. Collecting my race number was easy and took about 5 minutes. I then spent a few pounds on London marathon souvenirs! The expo was really good – all the major sporting brands represented – a few freebies and kept both Thomas and I amused for a couple of hours. I spent the last 10 minutes having my body mass and composition taken by Virgin Active whilst Thomas was entertained on a cycling machine. I was pleasantly surprised by my results! Not such a fatty after all .
Race day arrived. I was awake at 3am and dozed nervously until 5:40am when the alarm went off. Most of London Underground was running by 6am. I travelled on the Piccadilly line to Green Park on a very early train! I then had a very pleasant early morning walk from there to Charng Cross and saw some of the final preparations going on.
I hoped to meet some of the other Harriers at Charing Cross but after waiting a while decided to catch the 0745 to Blackheath. The train was packed with runners from all over the world and we had some very amusing conversations. As I arrived at Blackheath in plenty of time I made a few phone calls and checked all my good luck messages. Amazingly, as soon as I went into the Blue Zone runners area I saw Liz Laird and Kate Walters. Steve Palmer soon joined up and after a wishng each other luck and a few photos we went our own ways towards the start.
I was in pen 8 which I soon realised was near the back with all the charity and “fun” runners! As my target was under 4 hours I started to think it might be difficult. However, once the race was underway and I had passed the start line at 9:56 I was able to maintain a good pace without being able to run too fast.
The first miles were so easy with all the crowd support which far surpassed my expectations – there were thousands of supporters. I soon managed to get past 3 rhinos and a pantomine horse!
It was a struggle dodging my way past all the slower runners but I was making good time and by the time I passed Cutty Sark I was on target for a time under 4 hours. I passed Kate and Liz at 11 miles, shouting "come on Chippenham!" as I approached. Kate must have thought it was coming from the crowd and started waving. When she realised it was me she said "you bastard" ha ha! I gave them a few words of encouragement and moved on ahead reaching Tower Bridge and soon after 13 miles and half way in just over 1 hr 50 mins.
As I ran down Commercial Road towards Canary Wharf I saw some of the elite male runners heading the other direction. I spotted a Chippenham Harriers vest – Stuart Leaney – and shouted once again “come on Chippenham!!!!” He was really looking good and was whizzing along.
By the time I reached mile 17 I was beginning to think it was going to be easy getting below 4 hours - I had about 2 hours 20 mins on my watch. I passed the 9 minute mile pacer (who had started at 9:45) and felt really good. However, as I reached out for water at mile 19 a runner stopped dead in front of me. I ran straight into him and accidently stubbed my foot on his leg. By the time I reached mile 21 I had stopped overtaking people and was slowing down. I was looking to the ground and digging in.
One of my friends had given me a good inspirational quote from Winston Churchill - "If you are going through hell, keep going!" and I did!
Each mile after that seemed to take forever. I was counting them down wishing the finish line would come soon. Other runners were stopping in their tracks or falling into the arms of paramedics. I was determined not to stop and kept telling myself to keep going. The support was building into a crescendo by the time I passed Tower Bridge again and I managed a wave at the cameras.
Less than 3 miles to go! Pain!!!!! I don’t know what my pace was but I was barely running. Other runners were going past me, or walking, or in so much pain they were losing the ability to put one leg in front of the other!
1 mile to go WOW – keep going. Westminster, nearly there. 800 metres nearly walking, wanting to walk but still going. Then, BUCKINGHAM PALACE. I wanted to put in an amazing sprint but I had given everything so raised my arms and tried my best to take in the whole finish experience.
By the time I reached the line my legs were gone. I stopped raised my arms and hobbled my way to collect my well earned medal!
Did I enjoy it? YES
Would I do it again? YES YES YES!!!!!
On Monday the 30th April the ballot opens for 2013
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