When I started writing this blog a few years ago, I didn’t expect it be writing this post. Firstly, I had every intention of writing every week about my running journey, but it is quite clear that that hasn’t happened. What I do find astounding is that I called it Marathon Pipe dream, because it was just that; something that I was in total awe of but something that was way beyond my capabilities. To think that I have achieved that goal is mind blowing and I’m still not entirely sure that I have processed it all yet. I am sort of hoping that if I write about it, I might be able to figure a few things out in my head.
Training started in January and for the most part went well. My previous post tells of the only “injury” that I suffered and that didn’t last long. The weather did everything that it could to distract me from training including ice, snow, hale, rain and wind, but I was not put off and completed most training runs as per the instructions.
Determined to achieve a sub 5 hour run I chose to follow the intermediate plan and really push myself. This fell apart after three weeks when my legs were just so tired that I had to rest them more. I hadn’t got the core fitness needed to run 4 times a week and I was pushing myself harder than I was capable. At week three I had to re evaluate and settled for a 5.15 target time. Looking back, there were runs that could have been longer and more intense, but I found a balance that was working and a happy medium.
Despite running on tired legs I equaled my PB at the MK winter half and was proud to have run for 17 miles solid in the Bedford 20. I finished this in 4.03 putting me in a good position for a 5.15 finish in London.
The week before the marathon saw a sudden and unexpected change in the weather. Having trained all winter in cold temperatures, the forecast was suddenly for a heatwave. To give you a full idea, I hadn’t had the chance to go for a long run in my marathon vest, simply because it hadn’t been warm enough to run with no sleeves and here I was facing the hottest marathon on record. I don’t run well in heat and this did knock my resolve a little.
I was so excited to line up at the start and get my dream started, but I have to say that I was filled with a sense of dread due to the heat. We had had countless emails from the organisers warning us to slow our pace in order to stay well. As the run started I felt the heat and realised that the whole thing was going to be a struggle. I think that the first few miles went well as I was just excited to be there and was soaking up the atmosphere, but as we merged with the ballot start I was already tired. Luckily at this stage I was the 5.15 pacer and decided to follow him for as long as I could. This kept me reasonably steady for about 8 miles but that is where is all ended for me. I ran past yet another medic tent full of people lying unconscious or being sick. At this point I lost the psychological battle. I didn’t want this to happen to me so I told myself to slow down and give up on my time dream. And I walked. By the time I reached Vicki I was a blubbering wreck. I just remember telling her that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t see how I could finish if I already felt broken at mile 8.
I’m not really sure what happened in the miles between here and 13, I just kept moving but I have no recollection of my feelings. But I do remember reaching tower bridge and thinking, this is an important stage. This perked me up a bit, along with the thought that Simon was only a few miles away. I was further boosted but seeing Martyn and having a friendly face to chat with. I ran the last mile to Simon, so desperate to see him and I was over the moon to be able to have a huge hug.
Shortly after this I bumped into Zoe and this gave me a renewed energy. She was struggling as much as me and it was great to have someone to share with and to have someone to focus on. I pretended that I was totally fine and that I had to focus on her. This meant that I kept moving forward, probably at a faster rate than I would have done alone. Chatting to Zoe about nothing really kept me focused. We ran/ walked out way through a good few miles.
At mile 20 my shin suddenly felt as though it had been hit by a sledgehammer. I’m not sure what happened but it really hurt. I didn’t tell Zoe as I wanted to pretend that it wasn’t happening. We carried on and eventually crossed the line in 6.14.59, holding hands.
The thing is, it wasn’t my dream. I know that I should be over the moon that I finished and that I am in the 1% club, but I trained hard and really wanted to run it. I don’t feel that I gave it what I could. I know that people were slower than me, and I may seem rude to moan, but I was only running in my own race. I was only racing against myself and I can’t help but be disappointed with what I achieved.
So, I’ve got to do it all over again now…….