Good morning team realbuzz!
A very tired but elated head coach hollywood here! You all probably know the reason im tired but let me explain to you in the words below why im elated!
On sunday i ran the london marathon,my second london,and my 6th official marathon in total. It was also the third marathon in my ten marathon challenge this year for the Institute of cancer research.In 2013 london chewed me up and spit me out,yes i completed but i was in the first aid tent for over an hour afterwards as it bashed me up and knocked me off my feet. i didnt like that feeling,ive not been knocked down before and ive not forgotten how that felt. So in the run up to london i was after revenge.
On the saturday morning i was buzzing,i felt great,i had ran 2 marathons in the last 3 weeks and i wasnt doing any more damage to my bones then i had already, i had ran very well in manchester and brighton alongside huge heroes of mine and confidence was very high.Sadly though after a telephone call at around 10am i felt very heavy and very deflated, my brother found out he had cancer of the kidney, yes...it knocked me hugely,my elder brother died of a heart attack last year and this brought back all those feelings,for the rest of the saturday i was on the phone to family but especially to his wife as i know what it feels like to live with someone fighting cancer. ill help in any way i can...but the last thing on my mind was to run a marathon on the sunday.
I woke early on the sunday,took a while to get out of bed,not through major injury but just through how tough life is right now. Had my normal huge pot of coffee and 4 pieces of dried bread and 2 apples and off towards london i went. I had planned to meet fellow realbuzzer vin the warrior at the start as he wanted to personally come to wish me luck,what a man this guy is,hiding his own personal torment of not being able to run london this year due to illness but still to come out to help me.it wont be forgotten bruv. Me and vin had a few pictures taken just before the starting entrance and then we were joined by fellow realbuzz legend moose the bullet! what a man this guy is too! getting himself up early to come to wish me well too! it wont be forgotten roomy!. a few more pictures were taken and then it was time to go through the entrance and try to get myself ready to rumble.
The baggage drop was smooth and very efficient and made even better by being able to give my bag to another realbuzz legend in flying machine yve! i surprised yve because i was hiding behind someone before giving my bag to her! her face when she realised it was me handing a bag over was priceless and her tears in giving me a hug meant more than any words ever could. she didnt want to let me go and she done that as she wanted to help me and try to give me strength through her beautiful cuddle. After the baggage drop i went off to find my starting pen.
At this point and to be honest during the whole race my mind wasnt spot on...i tried to fire myself up but i was subdued.the flick i have in my mind wouldnt switch on,it was at this moment that i knew the 5 hours stretched out in front of me would be very very tough.
Across the line we went,40,000 warriors attempting something very very tough,i have and still do have huge respect for every single one of them,we all had the same goal,cross the start line and however long it takes ...cross the finish line. We were off. My plan was to try to hit halfway in 2.15 and then increase pace a bit between miles 13-20 to get to 20 miles in around 3.20 and then to the huge cheering squad at mile 22.5 in around 3.50ish...if i could do that..........if i could just do that.....
Well..all was going ok.....i was settled into pace,the mind wasnt clearing but it was still pushing me on, the sheer amount of people running london also makes it a very tough race to settle into pace,you often find yourself darting left or right to avoid people or you try to dart between a few people to find space, this inadvertantly tires you out.The thing i love most about london though is the crowd,every hand i saw stretched out in front of me i high -fived,and believe me there was a lot of hands! every cheer i received or shout out i got i turned and thanked them or gave them a clenched fist in acknowledgment.This tires you out too but i wouldnt change it for the world. Days like london make you very proud to be british. The best of human nature comes right to the forefront of hundreds of thousands of people.
I knew my charity would be at mile 12....so i positioned myself to see them,they have been great in the lead up to the 10 marathon challenge in it was my duty to stop and hug them and thank them for giving me the opportunity to run these streets once again. That was done and immediately i turned right and saw the majesty of tower bridge in all its glory in the sunshine stretched in front of me. This was the point i got the crowd going....clapping them,waving to them,stopping to thank them,a few cheeky kisses from the ladies too but dont tell mrs h! and onwards i went! I had hit halfway in around 2.17...not bad considering the stops id been taking with the crowds. At this point i decided to increse the pace as per my plan. Mile 14 was a sub 10,mile 15 was a sub 10,i was on the charge and i was back in with a shout of going sub 4.30 if all held together....sadly it didnt. It was around halfway through mile 15 that my left thigh felt like it had been shot,wow,that slowed me in my tracks....lets try to run it off....nope....its not going away....damn.....right....lets compensate and go harder on my right leg.....ouchie.....im cramping now on my right.....oh crap....still over 10 miles to go......
So, it was time to refocus....sub 4.30 was gone,just in an instant it was gone,right......lets get to 20 and see how we are...so for the next 4 miles i plodded and winced and cursed and high fived the crowd and kept putting one foot in front of the other.....this was the london marathon....it had knocked me off my feet 4 years ago....i wasnt going to let it knock me down again. i ploughed on,i saw many friends in the crowd who had come to support me...i made sure i stopped with every single one of them to say thank you and to have pictures taken. This helped me as it meant i could rest up for a minute or so.....i got to mile 20.....surprisingly in not too bad a time! i was thinking if i could just 10 min mile in from here i may go sub 4.40 but once i started running it was clear anything close to 10 min mileing was a pipe dream!
My next target was mile 22.5....the legendary realbuzz support crew! oh my...how much was i looking forwards to seeing all those legends...i wanted to get there as quick as possible so i limped onwards and ran sometimes to get to them quicker than i thought i could. I went past mile 21....mile 22.....as i turned right i think i saw the speed camera( the pace i was going it was ironic seeing a spped camera!) and i saw the 'on a yard' sign......and then i saw what i had been waiting to see for ages....our realbuzz heroes!! wow...what a line up....what a bunch of brilliance that i threw myself into! every single one of them huge heroes of mine....the rest of the crowd standing next to them did not know their greatness...but i did. it was a huge privelage of mine to run in front of them and to hug every single one of them.I wanted to stay forever with them but i also knew i had 3 and a half miles still to find. so with a heavy heart i moved onwards,but as luck would have it i got a shout out from a fellow runner....it was only mattlondon! realbuzz legend! great to see him looking so good and doing so well! i cant wait to be at mile 22.5 next year once again but this time ill be on the outside of the ropes cheering all you heroes on inside them.
I hit mile 24...i still had a shot at sub 5 hours...i havent told anyone this but i will now....i want every single marathon i do this year to be sub 5....its a personal goal of mine to see this through.....i didnt want to fall at the third hurdle...so...even though the thighs and now my calfs and my right forearm was cramping i charged on...deep breaths...re-evaluate the situatuon and go again. At mile 25 i saw my lovely physio...a quick hug and a wave and i was off and turned right at big ben, i saluted the gates where that lovely policeman was killed a few weeks ago as a mark of respect and then i saw a fellow runner struggling....i stopped to see what was wrong with him 'its my I.T band mate,its F###ed' . right.....arm round his shoulder...his arm round mine...lets keep walking mate....we in the last mile now,we stayed like this for a few minutes and then he seemed to be getting better so i pushed him off my shoulder and told him to 'go get this f###king job done!' he quickened off into the distance and i didnt see him again.
I turned right at buckingham palace....i saw the finish line....i also saw the grandstands to my right where i knew my beauty and the reason i run again was to be. I managed to run,no pain was going to make me walk towards her, i looked and looked out for her but somehow i didnt see her and she didnt see me! i kept looking back to see if i could see her but to no avail....so there was only one thing left to do.....finish the job i started nigh on 5 hours previously ago. As i ran towards the finish line i kissed the necklace mrs h and the kids got me for my birthday and stuck 3 fingers in the air on my other hand.....number 3 had been completed....number 3 was delivered. My official time has me down at 4.50 but i dont think thats right.....im sure it was 4.58 and im taking 4.58 as my official time. sub 5 delivered....marathon number 3 delivered....many memories delivered......learning to dig through once again delivered.
The after party at the union jack club was fantastic, what a privelage it was to be invited into an ex servicemans club by sir bolty and lady bolty. a huge honour for me to be in any establishment to do with our armed forces and humility ran through my veins whilst talking to a few of them.i showed one my medal,im sure he has many medals fighting for his country but he took great pride in seeing the look on my face as i showed him my medal. quite a few drinks were had with the realbuzz supporters and i salute you all,you all know how i feel about you and now mrs h knows why i feel like that towards you all,she was so happy she got to meet the faces behind the tales of brilliance i tell her of daily of all the expolits you do.
One touching note from the union jack club was a lovely lady who came up to me and said 'thank you for running for me'...i had my charity tshirt on and she had just finished her second course of chemo-therapy. i didnt know what to say....we chatted for a while and i chatted to her lovely hubby too and ill use those words she said to me privately in all the following challenges left to do..those words are now stored in my mind...more fuel to the fire when the cauldron starts to get cold.
Yes london has damaged me once again,my thighs are very bad and painful to touch,my calfs are bad too but im hoping not torn,the hips are about the same and the back is holding on for dear life.....but....i wanted to walk away from london and not be carried away like last time.....this i managed to do.....it was a hell of a fight....blow after blow from both sides ....but with the greater supporters on my side and with the best trainer in mrs h i leave with my arm held high above my head......round 3 to the rhino (but only just!)
onto belfast now this weekend and god only knows whats going to happen there!!
keep fighting everyone!!
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