Hi everyone, big congrats to all who completed this years London Marathon!!! Great to read everyone's accounts of the big day, it was quite an event. About time I posted my thoughts on the day and on my run.
I was feeling very relaxed about the whole event until Sunday morning really when I began to get quite nervy. I tried my best just to keep calm on the journey to the Greenwich. Time seemed to pass very slowly in the few days prior to the marathon but on the morning of the event it went by very quickly. It seemed as though I got up early in the morning and then not too much later I was at the start line! The 30s silence was a good way to begin the occassion and it seemed to be very well respected.
Time to go and I just told myself to take it easy and enjoy the day. I had no specific time in mind, it was always my objective just to get across that finishing line. Nevertheless, I felt I'd be comfortable with around about 10 minutes per mile. When I finally crossed the start line I certainly got a buzz. I've watched bits and pieces of the London Marathon on TV over the years but it doesn't do justice to the reality of the occassion. For the first few miles I just kept saying to myself 'I don't believe I'm runing in the London Marathon over and over'!!
I managed to get set into a pretty comforatable pace quite early on and I have to say I was loving it!! One of the highlights of the race for me was the section around the Cutty Sark - it was immense. My first 20K was completed in right around 2 hours (2 hours 3 seconds to be exact). On paper, so far so good. Unfortunately around about the 15K mark my knee began to feel quite uncomfortable. It's something I was familiar with as it posed a problem about half way through my training cycle but it seemed to disappear. So not something I was too worried about before going in to the race. By the time we hit Tower Bridge, things were memorable for all the wrong reasons. I would say that I was in agony, I and believe that I ususally hava a fairly high pain threshold!! My comfortable run had turned into an excruciating walk and I was genuinely worried about finishing. Things just went from fantastic to absolutely terrible in a matter of minutes. To leave Tower Bridge and see all those other runners who were 8 miles ahead of me coming in the other direction didn't fill me with too much confidence. I stopped and had a good stretch and told myself just to push on as far as I could. Walking wasn't an option as it was too painful and I certainly couldn't run, but I did manage to adopt a sort hobble (putting most of the weight on my left leg and keeping my right leg as straight as I could) that was almost bearable.
The next 4-5 miles were one of the toughest things I think I've ever endured. My head was down, I knew that I just had to keep going for as long as I could. I don't actually remember any details of the race during this point - it was really just a bit of a blur. From my splits its clear to see that something went wrong. My next real memory after crossing the halfway point was seeing the banner for mile 18. The pain had eased to a point that it was tolerable, I think my body may have realised that I wasn't going to stop anytime soon so it decided to just shut down the pain receptors or something!! At this point I though that if I could make it to mile 20 then there was a good chance that I'd be able to go the distance. Very slow going but I just kept saying 'if I can get to mile 20 we're on the home stretch, if I can get to mile 20 we're on the home stretch'. When I saw that 20 mile marker I KNEW that I was crossing the finish line no matter what.
I became quite emotional at this stage. I was finally able to keep my head up and passed the next 2-3 miles by looking at all the different runners' (who were passing me) charities and pictures of loved ones that people had on their running vests, and thinking about how amazing it was that all of these people were doing something so remarkable.
The last 3 miles were, in comparison to the previous 10, an absolute breeze. I really drew on the support and encouragement of the crowds, they were absolutely fantastic!! At 600m before the finishing line I was overtaken by a rhinoceros. Potentially slightly embarrassing but I couldn't care less!! I crossed the line, got the medal around my neck and just thought to myself, 'you did it'. Pretty sure I suffered a mild case of sunstroke and my shoulders and arms were very badly burned but I got there! My time in the end was 5.09.
I must apologise to Angus as I said I'd see him for a pint afterwards, but unfortunately didn't quite feel up to a drink until a good few hours after I had crossed the line. I did eventually manage a couple of beers later that night and they went down quite well.
Just want to say a HUGE THANKYOU to all other Realbuzzers for supportive comments along the way and a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who competed in London on the 21st.
I will keep running, although I'll need to keep an eye on the old knee! I'm already thinking about my next challenge...
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