Good evening everyone,
again this is probably going to be a long winded blog so grab a cuppa or glass of something! In fact I think it is the longest I have ever written!
Well as in my blog title Brighton marathon weekend certainly was a weekend of mixed emotions. And sorry to Jim for stealing some of your words but this is also going to be a blog full of honesty and not a 'woe is me' whinge.
All the training had been done, carb loading all week, sports massage on the Friday and then packed everything ready to head off Saturday morning. We set off about 10ish and as it was a lovely day we put the roof down on the car and took the scenic route rather than motorways, it took a bit longer but worth it to enjoy the wonderful sunshine.
Arrived in Brighton around 1ish, dropped our bags off at our B&B, parked the car and then headed down to get our packs/meet buzzers. We called into coffee republic first to say a quick hello to the buzzers who had already gathered there, then whizzed over the road to pick up the packs. Had a quick look around but headed back to CR as preferred to spend time chatting the other buzzers as time would soon whizz by & everyone would disappear for the evening. It was lovely to meet up with so many buzzers again (I won't name you all as you know who you are 😄) & have a good chat and catch up. I was a newbie buzzer last year at the VLM meet up so after a year of blogging everyone seemed so much more familiar. A shame that Yve had to leave earlier so didn't get much of a chance to chat to her but managed to grab some superb fudge she had made. So thanks Yve.
A few photos were then taken in the cafe & then over the road by the beach. It was then time to say our goodbyes for the evening and plans made to meet up the next morning at Preston Park.
After everyone had gone their separate ways me & hubby wandered down to the pier and strolled around there for a bit and then headed back to our B&B, which was surperb and they couldn't have looked after better all weekend if they had tried.
As I had stuffed an enormous pastie down my face a bit before I didnt feel hungry enough for a big meal so I grabbed a sarnie from the local Sainburys and Tony popped out to grab some sausage & chips.
Then after watching a bit of boring TV we both went off to sleep about 10ish, but by half 4 I was wide awake - not sure why I woke up this early as wasn't stressing about the day at all & had felt pretty calm leading up to the weekend. I might have drifted off again but soon the alarm went off & it was time to get up & prep for the day. After breakfast (in our room) of porridge & toast it was time to head up to Preston Park. As Em was staying a few streets along from us she met us at our B&B and we all walked up together. It was quite amusing to see some revellers from the night before making their way home, oh those were the days!
I enjoyed seeing the Vespa's & Lambretta's lined up along the route as was once a bit of a Mod in my youth & it bought back good memories of heading down to Brighton on the back of a Vespa! Loved seeing the bikes and minis as well.
Once in Preston Park we headed over to the sunny side of the building where all the other buzzers had gathered. Not all the buzzers had arrived by this time so me & hubby went to drop our bags off, we made our way to the top of the field as trucks in number order but couldn't find ours anywhere so asked a chap on one of the other trucks where 1-1999 was and he said it was the VIP truck at the bottom oF the field! So off we trundled back down again!
Hadnt got a clue why it was a VIP truck until Marc P saw we had a wrist band on and explained that as we must have paid by American Express card we had access to the VIP area at the start and use the facilities there, less busy toilets, tea n coffee and a massage, aaaaaaah so that's what the wrist band was for! I though that everyone had been given one! Doh. That serves me right for not reading all the instructions properly!
By this time both me & Tony needed the loo so went off to join all the others in the long queues (why oh why are there never enough loos!!) - some queuing were running in the 10k race and missed the start so felt for them!
anyway after what seemed like an age of a wait, toilet visit was accomplished & went back to join the buzzers again. As time had quickly slipped by there was only a few minutes for yet more photos before heading over to our various starting pens. As I am not the quickest of runners i was at the back in the green pen. and being the lovely chap he is Mr Bevlar always runs with me although he could go a lot quicker!
Soon we heard the klaxon go off and could see movement ahead but it was a while before our group started to shuffle forward and finally get tonwards the start line, then it was a great high 5 from Jo Pavey and I was over the startline. As I said before I felt remarkably calm leading up to the day and still did as we headed up the uphill round the park and then back round onto the open road.
We started off at a good steady pace and I felt comfortable and happy with the first few miles. About 4 miles in Tony said he didn't feel too good, I must admit he looked a bit rough and sweat was pouring down his face, but it was getting rather warm by then and he still had 2 tops on so suggested we stopped so he could take one off and just run in his vest. Thankfully for him this helped and he was Ok after.
We continued to run at a good pace and the miles were being steadily ticked off and i was enjoying the atmosphere, the great crowds & the good weather but it must have been around the 12 miles mark (not totally sure as hardly saw any mile markers on the way round?) that it all went horribly wrong for me!
I really do not know what happened but felt like I'd hit the wall that so many speak about but never experienced before. I have been tired in events but not like this, my legs just did not want to run and they felt like two lumps of lead. I took a gel as thought this might help but this just made me feel sick, I had tried the gels previously in training runs so unsure why? It was also getting warmer by now so the combination of lead legs, feeling sick and the heat just made me feel totally crap! I also wasn't getting on well with the water cups & felt I wasn't taking on enough fluid. I know they can be a hassle on the floor when discarded but I much prefer the bottled water, at least you can run and carry them & sip the water when needed. So maybe slight dehydration also played a part in why I felt so grotty? I started to get really angry and frustrated and no matter how I tried to push myself my legs were just so slow. I was so close to calling it a day as near to tears by now but no bloody way I stopping. Poor Tony was encouraging me to keep going so we tried the run/walk method for a bit and although it helped get me through the next few miles I still felt like I was wading through treacle!
And then to add injury to insult (not the right way round but that's how it felt to me) my right calf went and I was in agony and every step just made me want to throw up as it was so painful. I had never suffered from calf problems before so couldn't believe it when this happened. It must have been about mile 16 by then & Again I just wanted to call it a day as I thought how the hell I am ever going to get through another 10 miles or so. I also was thinking if I can't get through Brighton how the hell will I ever do Snowdon. Why the heck I was thinking about my next marathon when I was suffering through the current one I'll never know but I guess that's how our brains work!
I had to stop at a SJA post a bit further on and rest for about 10 minutes or so & gather my thoughts as my mind was in turmoil about whether to carry on or not, but it was then that thoughts of my dad (for those that don't know it was 30 years ago on Sunday that my father passed away) came to mind and how I wanted to do him proud and not let him down & also thoughts of my fellow buzzers came into my head and what you would be saying and I could hear you all cheering me on with your words of encouragement & willing me on. So no way was I stopping, I would get back to that finish line if it killed me. We did see Em a couple of times along the way so it was lovely to wave to her and see she was doing well and that helped me as well.
I told Tony as this stage to go on ahead without me as I must have been the miserable bitch from hell by this time as nothing positive was coming from me but as the reliable rock he always is he stayed by my side getting me through those oh so difficult miles.
We then got to what i think was the worst part of the course, those awful 19-23 miles up to the power station and back, it seemed never ending. God if you ever needed the crowds it is at this time during those really hard miles but it was so quiet and remote, just dreadful. I was really down at this stage and crying behind my sunglasses as felt so rough and every step on my right foot hurt my calf so much. I started to feel really sick just as we got to the turnaround point by the power station and thankfully there were some loos, so went in there and promptly threw up everywhere (apologies to whoever has to clean them!) although I told Tony I just needed a wee as thought he might make me stop if he knew I'd been sick and no way was I doing that now. Hopefully he won't read this blog and see this bit!
Strangely enough I did feel better tummy wise after I was sick and managed to eat a great big handful of jelly babies as hoped this would give me a longed for bit of energy that I needed to get me back.
we were then past the 23 mile mark and on the way home and although my legs had nothing left in them I think knowing you are on that home stretch just helps so much in your mind. The last 3 miles were in no way easy as I was still hurting so much but seeing the pier get closer and closer gave me such a boost and when that FINISH sign was just ahead I even managed a little sprint towards it. Me & Tony then held hands as we ran over the finish line together. we had done it! It took a bloody age, a lot of pain & tears but that medal was mine and a fantastic feeling it was went it went round my neck. All that pain was worth it.
I knew that all my fellow buzzers would have finished hours before me and hoped that some might still be around. I didn't expect anyone to wait for us as we were so far behind them finishing & knew they had family etc to get home to and long journeys ahead. I then had a FB update from Mark saying him, Jane, Em, Libby and Dave were on the beach waiting for us and what a wonderful sight they were. It was just wonderful getting all the hugs from them and I just wanted to cry again.
After a quick catch up and more hugs we all said our goodbyes and headed to our various destinations for the evening. Me, Tony, Jane, Mark and Em met up and had a lovely meal & celebratory drinks in a little Italian restaurant (yes more carbs) & although the food was fabulous I think I was too tired to really appreciated it. (Thanks again to Jane for lending me her flip flops to walk downstairs to the loo as I couldn't get my shoes on!)
By 9pm we all started to flag so called it a night so said our goodbyes until the next buzzer event.
Me & Tony also stayed in Brighton on the Sunday night so after breakfast the next morning took the chance to stretch our legs and walked around The Lanes to do some window shopping. (where we got caught up in the BBC filming a new TV series called Cuffs - so we could be buzzers on TV lol) Well he walked & I hobbled so didn't last very long and soon headed back to the car and made our way to home sweet home.
Now for the really down part of the weekend for me (if that was possible!) - I knew because of various ailments I had gone through the day before that my time was not going to be great and no where near the sub 5:15 I was aiming for but when I checked the website my time was 10 mins slower than VLM last year and I just sat and cried and all the joy of getting the medal the day before just faded away. I'm even too embarrassed to put the time on here (although I know you can all check it on the website!!).
I so wanted to do better than London and felt I'd let myself down so badly. I know it's daft but I also felt I let the Brighton Buzzer team down as everyone else had done so well in getting their PBs and followed this with my dismal result.
But I will not let this beat me, I will be in Snowdon, I will stand beside my fellow buzzers at the start and I will run/walk my way round. Gawd knows how long this one will take me so not setting any time to aim for, I just want to get it done.
Whether I will ever get a sub 5:15 marathon is unknown to me at this time. I will be 55 in October so they are never going to get easier for me but I will keep trying and hopefully they will be better than Brighton for me.
i don't want to end on a down note so will finish off with apart from the marathon result I had a most amazing time in Brighton meeting up with all my fellow buzzers, was fantastic to see so many of them & with laughs aplenty. Brighton is a wonderful, vibrant city and I forgot what a great place it is and want to go back again to sightsee a bit more.
I hope I haven't bored you to death with this endless blog but I wanted to get it all down how I felt and again to echo Jim be honest about it.
I want to finish by saying a big thanks to the true hero of this weekend and that is my hubby Tony as without him willng me on on Sunday I would never have got to that finish line. Xx
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