Monday, 16 April 2012

Week beginning 16.04.12

Tuesday 17.04.12
Had to attend exec meeting at school today, which meant I didn't leave until 6 and had tutoring afterwards, followed by running. Very tight - finished tutoring at 7.10 and headed straight to the club. Bex waited for me and we went out and ran 3.5 miles. Good pace of 8:40 and our last run together before the big day. Sad times!

Wednesday 18.04.2012
Expo in London - collecting the number - very scary! Eeeeeek!

Thursday 19.04.12
A short 2 miler this evening with Angela and Will - hardly seemed worth it! However, I really struggled. Felt sooooo puffed out. My only thought was, not sure how I am going to do this 13 times???

Friday 20.04.12

Getting ready - name ironed on and ready to go...

Saturday 21.04.12 - MY BIRTHDAY
Was up nice and early this morning as myself and Becky were on the radio. It was all pre-recorded but I was up and listening to the radio at 8.15. Had a leisurely hour or so munching on some brekkie, reading the paper and opening a few pressies before I headed out for a little run! Only managed 1.6 miles but I was worn out. It made me worry about the Marathon as I knew I'd have to do this about 20 times over. Eeeeek! Spent the rest of the day with family and friends for my birthday. Had a lovely lunch with a good friend - had half a brie and bacon baguette and half a chicken baguette! Probably not what I should be eating in preparation for the marathon. Had dinner out with my parents in the evening, which was great. We went to Brickfields, which I would thoroughly recommend for pre-running food. I had brown wholegrain pasta with roasted vegetables, chargrilled chicken and pesto. Perfect pre-marathon food. In the evening, I went to my Dad's friend's 60th birthday party because his wife has M.S and he has raised £200 for me. It really gave me inspiration when I saw Dick speak about his wife. Dick's friends had had a collection for his birthday and he wanted to use it to buy a bed for Vicky so that she could be assisted to sit in bed and read. Will definitely remember this when I run. 

Not too sure how much I slept last night - can't work out what was my thoughts and what was dreaming! When the alarm went off at 5am, I curled up inside the covers hoping that time would stop. Unfortunately, having Mum call up the stairs that we were leaving in 20 minutes made it all seem very real. Arrived at the station to find Dave and Angela waiting outside because the station was closed - a little concerned. A few people arrived with their London Marathon bags, all waiting to get inside! Thankfully, the station guard arrived with about 5 minutes to go. 

Ate my bagel on the train, couldn't face it at 5.15 but was more awake at 6.15! Travelled up with quite a few people from the running club, which was really nice, especially as they were all seasoned marathoners. Arrived at London Bridge and trailed after everybody, not before Dave rescued my Running club jacket from the seat! It was at this point that Angela got a call from Leah and Becky to say they had been in a car accident and were off to the hospital. It was such a horrible feeling. I was gutted for them and worried about what had happened and if they were ok. I was also thankful that I had changed my mind and got the train as I was supposed to be in the car with Leah and Becky and then that made me feel really selfish and guilty! It was such a downer and I couldn't think of anything but them. We were all very quiet on the overground to the next stop and our thoughts were with them both, as well as Baz and Cam (Becky's partner and son). 

On arrival and after a club photo, me and Steve said goodbye to our fellow runners, who were in the blue and green zone and headed for the red zone. When we arrived, I pulled myself together and decided to run well for Becky and Leah and do them both proud. Luckily, I heard from Leah, who told us that they had been checked out in the hospital and were given the ok to come home. That made me feel a little better and so I handed my phone in with the rest of my gear and pulled it together for my run! We watched the elite ladies head off on the big screen and the nerves began to set in! 

With our luggage handed in, Steve and I had 45 minutes to go, so we queued up for the toilets. Unfortunately, 40 minutes later we were still in the queue! I told Steve to find his pen and I waited in the queue on my own. I knew that I needed to go or psychologically I would be thinking about throughout the whole race! The race started and I was still in the toilet queue, 3 people from the front, with a huge line behind me. I literally ran to my pen but as I was in pen 8 and so near the back, my line hadn't moved at all. I was scared, nervous and excited all rolled into one and ready to take on the challenge after so much training...

I sneakily tried to pass a few people to get nearer to the start but with so many people I am not sure it helped that much. I saw lots of people running for such great causes and it made me feel so pleased to be part of such a great event. After nearly 20 minutes, I got to the start line - started the watch and I was off. In all honesty, I was a little frustrated from the start because I was so far back, I was running with people who were not worried about their time. I tried to overtake people from the off, particularly as so many people were walking before we'd got to a mile. I managed to run on the path behind the spectators for some of the first couple of miles, which helped with my speed. I was really annoyed when I needed a wee after 2 miles. I decided that I'd have to stop at the next toilet stop but when I got there, there was already a massive queue. I told myself I was fine and would wait to find toilets without a queue. Famous last words... at mile 25 I still hadn't found toilets without a queue but at this point, I knew there was no way I could stop. I do believe that men should be penalised (tehe) as they were literally going to toilet everywhere and anywhere! The poor ladies were clocking up the time whilst the men were going to toilet in the subways, in the hedges, on the grass. Not too fair I think! 

I remember the first time somebody called my name. It was such a lovely feeling and I bubbled with excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of somebody supporting me and cheering for me. What a super feeling! Found the 2nd mile a little tough as there was a sneaky hill thrown in there. I did notice the pub at the top! I remember complaining to another runner that I was told London was flat. The first 3 miles flew by and before I knew it, the red, green and blue starters were all merging into one. This became quite congested and I got a little annoyed that I couldn't move any quicker. I moved to the edge and managed to weave in and out of people. As a result, I managed to clock an extra 0.4 mile by mile 5. Woops! 

I ran comfortably until mile 5, when I started developing blisters, which panicked me slightly. Thankfully, I knew that the Folkestone Running Club team would be at mile 6 by the Cutty Sark, so I focused on this instead. I loved running past our team of supporters. It made me feel so privileged to be running and so loved to have such good support from both family and runners that have become good friends! The next 10 miles kind of disappeared in a bit of a blur. To be honest, I don't really remember that much about the while thing, except Tower Bridge. I remember lots and lots of bands playing - there were steel drums, bag pipes, string instruments. I also remember the crowds of people who were so supportive from start to finish. The whole atmosphere was phenomenal. Everybody came together... offering sweets, chocolate, oranges and so on. People offering encouragement the whole way round. I also remember nearly crying when I saw my Dad and co at the second stop. They were all so happy and cheering away that it made me feel so proud to be running!

My favourite part of the course was Tower Bridge and the only part of the race that I have vivid images of. I loved running up towards the Bridge, it was a super feeling. I felt comfortable (apart from the blisters and needing a wee) until about 18 miles, maybe even 19/20. I had seen the Running Club team (with Mum, Dad, my Auntie, Uncle and Cousin, plus all my lovely friends) twice, plus the second Running Club team (Tina, Graham, Lucy, Catherine and Poppy) and heard Nic and Georgie from school, which kept me entertained. 

I was waiting for 20 miles, so that I knew I could say I was on my final 6. However, when I hit 20 this was when I started hurting significantly and it dawned on me that I still had another hour of running. I can't say I hit the wall that people talk about but this was most certainly my toughest 2 miles. It got to the point where I got my music out to give me some inspiration. The crowds were amazing but after 3 hours of listening to them, I needed to pull myself out of self -pitying mode and into fighter mode! I listened to 3 songs and focused on each mile that I ticked off. 6 then 5 then 4. Once I got to 3 miles, I knew I was ok again. I put my music away and got back with the crowd. I saw my friends at mile 24, which spurred me on and was also waiting to see the Running club at mile 24, which also helped me pick my mood up as I had been so happy at each other mile I had seen them. Unfortunately, I didn't see the Running club but my friends gave me that boost! I did, however, see Sarah Shucksmith and couldn't speak but managed to give her a 'stroke' on the arm as I passed, hoping that she knew that was really me saying 'come on Sarah, nearly there!' 

I was so pleased to see the Big Ben (thanks to my friend Jo) who'd bought me a card for my birthday of Big Ben and told me that I had less than a mile when I saw Big Ben. At this point, the crowds were becoming louder and crazier! Seeing the sign that said 800m was such a buzz. I felt myself pick up and I pushed my legs to move quicker. I didn't realise how long 800m was, especially after 26 miles! I thought I was nearly there when in actual fact, I had only run 200m. Seeing that finish line was the most amazing site. I pushed and pushed as I ran forward and over the line. 

200 metres to go!!!

My watch said 4:13:44 which I was so chuffed with. I nearly cried as I was given my medal (and I am no crier!) However, as I was on my own I quickly pulled myself back together and swapped a few congrats with other runners. After running for nearly 4 and 1/4 hours needing the toilet, I finally found a row of toilets with absolutely no-one in any of them - typical! Went to the toilet but actually found I couldn't actually get back up again. I had a chuckle to myself as I thought of my parents and the running club sending out a search party because I was stuck on the toilet. Mustered up some strength and holstered myself out of the cubicle, only to bump into Sarah. We had a hug and a photo and collected our bags from the lorry. This was by far the toughest part of the day. With a big bag full of running gear, jackets, food, drinks etc, plus very sore legs that were stiffening by the minute, we had to walk about half a mile to get to the exit and to the meet and greet point where the family and friends were. When we got there, I gave Mum and Dad a huge hug and was very close to tears! I was overwhelmed by the support of everyone there and so grateful to them all for following us runners around for the day. Everyone was really pleased with my time too. Rhian, my friend from Wales, had travelled up with her Mum too and so she met us at the meet and greet earlier. I cannot believe the amount of support that I had from my friends, who had travelled from several different places to be there for the day - Rhi from Wales, Nic and Georgie from St. Mary's, Em and Bex (my school friends), Philie, Mark and baby Orla, Jo, Tom and my Godson Elliott, my auntie and uncle, my parents, running club friends! I am truly grateful to all of them! 

Spent an overwhelming hour chatting to people, hearing about other people's runs before Tim, Lauren, Louis, Will and Emma said that they would walk to the MSRC with me, so that I could say hello and get my massage. Unfortunately, this turned into an absolute nightmare as the rain set in and people tried to leave Horse Guard parade at the same time! All the gates were locked as people were panicking and it took us 3 attempts to find a gate to get out of. By the time we got out it was too late for me to go to the MSRC for my massage as we had to be back for the mini bus. This kind of put a bit of a downer on the day as I really wanted to see the charity I had run for and could have done with a massage.

Instead, we walked to Charing Cross (I am sure we clocked another couple of miles) and got a train to Blackheath where the mini bus was awaiting! 

After our journey home and a quick 20 minute bath (I always seem to be in a rush), friends and family started arriving. I put on my Marathon 2012 finisher t-shirt and medal and headed downstairs for drinks with good friends and family. A lovely evening with some special people to celebrate my first ever Marathon! 

1 - 9:24        2 - 8:41        3 - 8:41         4 - 8:24          5 - 8:57  
6 - 9:10        7 - 9:14        8 - 9:09         9 - 9:29         10 - 9:34
11 - 9:32      12 - 9:35      13 - 9:34      14 - 9:39         15 - 9:36
16 - 10:04    17 - 9:44      18 - 9:34       19 - 10:30      20 - 10:01
21- 10:17     22- 10:27     23- 10:30       24 - 11:00      25 - 8:52 
26 - 9:40      27 - 8:56

Average pace: 9:35

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