So…. as the title says I did it and I couldn’t be more pleased. Things didn’t go quite to plan along the way but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that I reached that finish line…. when I logged on this morning I had an email from virginmoneygiving with a poem that I thought said it all really (and it made me cry…again!)
every….day, for the rest of your life, you are a marathon runner
On Friday evening…..
I came home from work, cooked a huge pasta dinner and ran round like a lunatic making sure that everything that I needed was either in the ‘going’ pile or ready to go into the pile as soon as I’d finished with it. I was also determined to get into bed early as so many people had said that this night was the crucial one for getting lots of sleep. I knew we had to be up early so I ate, had a nice relaxing bath and went straight up to bed with my book. I was snoring by about 10pm!
…. the alarm went off at 7am but I was already wide awake. Elliot had crept downstairs about half an hour before and used his new found tv channel finding skills to sneak some kids tv in before his Dad got up and hogged the remote control! I got up, threw my dressing gown on and started to pack all the bits and bobs that Grace needed for her 2 nights at her friend’s house. I nearly forgot that it was her friends birthday too so she was very close to leaving without the presents that she’d spent ages choosing a few weeks ago!
Mike set off with Grace at around 9am at which point I ran another bath which Elliot and I hopped into. I wanted to be as relaxed as possible and the bath and a book (or in this case a nice old natter with my wee boy) does it for me every time.
Unfortunately about 5 minutes later Mike arrived back at the house, without Grace, without the car and without having dropped her off. Some (insert expletive here) grockle had run him off the road on his way out of the village. The car suffered a blow out and the idiot tourist just carried on her merry way without realising what she’d done. Bless him though, Mike managed to stay calm and just took my car, picked up Grace (who he’d left with his car) and went and dropped her off. He then limped his car back to our house very very slowly so as not to damage the wheel. I was feeling a bit kerrrazy by this point anyway so his calmness was much appreciated!
….we shipped Elliot off to his friend across the road. he was VERY excited as it was his first proper sleepover (he doesn’t count family ones!). We packed up the rest of our stuff and headed over to our friends’ house to wait for her to finish work. Poor Kerry finished work at 3.30pm, got home at 3.35pm and we were in the car on our way by 3.45pm! We were staying at a travelodge in Chigwell so it was a fairly long journey but it went pretty well until we tried to use the car’s onboard satnav (soon to be re-christened the shatnav….) to find the travelodge. We went round in circles for a bit but eventually found the place!
The others went down to the pub for a drink whilst I stayed in the room to lay everything out ready for the morning. This was when I realised that I didn’t have a bag with me….. luckily I DID have my running shoes, clothes, number and chip…all the most crucial items. Unfortunately I did NOT have my breakfast porridge, vitamins, compeed plasters, torq gels, endurolytes or my lovely tutu! I was NOT a happy bunny.
I was about to throw myself on the bed and just sob but realised that that probably wouldn’t be a great course of action so went to join the others at the pub instead where I sat and drank a diet coke and quietly seethed about how it could have happened. I also texted my friends who were running in the hope that I could blag some gels and endurolytes. I managed to get 2 gels but not the endurolytes.
We were planning to eat in Loughton at a restaurant booked by Kerry’s brother so when we got there I nipped into Morrisons and got some imodium, ibuprofen and a 4 pack of Lucozade sport which I figured would help with the electrolyte issue. I also got a 4 pack of hot cross buns which I figured would do for breakfast!
Unfortunately my next problem was with the menu at the restaurant. There were 2 pasta dishes and 1 risotto, however 2 of those were seafood based and the other had a very creamy sauce and I didn’t want to risk upsetting my somewhat fussy tum with any of those! I ended up ordering a chicken and mushroom salad and asking for some spaghetti on the side. I explained that I needed a big pile as I was running the marathon but when it arrived they’d subsituted the salad for the spaghetti (rather than adding it) and didn’t give me much of that… Mind you, what I did have was totally delicious so all wasn’t lost……unlike us, not long later when we used that bloomin shatnav to try and find our way back to the travelodge again!
We eventually resorted to using Mark’s iphone and found our destination (rather than the flyover that the car was telling us was it!) I was quickly in bed and trying my hardest to get to sleep. Rather unsuccessfully. Probably because the excitement was just building and building. I did eventually go off but was rudely awoken (along with the rest of our floor) at around 4am when some very kind revellers came back and decided that the hallway was a great place to have an impromptu gathering (and dope smoking session by the smell of it the next morning!). They did eventually disappear but that was it for sleep for me. I doubt if I’d have slept a lot more than that anyway!
I got up and dressed quite quickly, packed up the bags and tried to eat some hot cross buns. I did manage 2 but it was very hard work. I was just too excited and nervous and silly feeling to eat!
Luckily our taxi arrived dead on time at 6.30am and we were off! We met Kerry’s brother en route to the tube station (he’d kindly offered to accompany us into town so we all ended up in the right places!) It was really exciting to be allowed through the barriers without paying whilst people smiled at you and said encouraging things!
I left the others to go eat breakfast and got on the overland train to go to Blackheath where the start is, and where I was meeting up with my charity. There was supposed to be a team photo at 8.30am but when I walked down there I was told it was delayed until 8.45am and I was just too jittery about getting to the start on time to wait so I said hello and goodbye and headed off to meet my fellow Purbeck Runners at the blue start.
It was lovely to have people to chat to in between trips to the loo and trips to the luggage lorry and that 45 minutes seemed to absolutely fly by. Before I knew it I was heading down to starting pen number 9 which was a long long way from the start!
The next 10 mins of waiting was as slow as the previous 45 had been fast. I’d lost my friends by that point so was just nervously chatting to anyone and everyone around me. 9.45am came and went without any sign of movement from our end but a few pogos soon confirmed that people were moving at the front of the line!
We walked all the way to the start line but luckily at that point the crowds spread out a little so we were running by the time we crossed the line. Wow, that was an amazing feeling. I nearly started to cry at that point but realised that I’d have a hard time stopping if I started!
…. went really fast and most of us summoned up a little cheer as we passed underneath it. I checked my pace and I was going a little faster than planned so I tried to slow it down a bit but found that hard as there were a lot of people running a lot slower than I wanted to so I had to run round them which naturally means going a bit faster. I felt very comfortable though so decided to just go with it for a while as long as I didn’t go any faster and tried to get into a good steady rhythm.
At around mile 4 I realised that everything just felt really right… my socks were comfy, my shoes were laced just right, the sunglasses case that was deputising as a gel carrier didn’t feel too bad stuffed into my sports bra, my knee wasn’t hurting at all….that lovely running fairy was most definitely with me!
The next couple of miles passed by in a bit of a blur. I kept taking on sips of lucozade sport and sweating it out just as fast! It was getting hotter and hotter and the slight haze that we’d had at the start had disappeared and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. At about mile 6 my left quad started to tighten up a little bit which was a bit weird as it had never happened before.
At mile 8 I started to feel a bit rubbish but then I remembered that mile 8 does seem to be my ‘oh no, I feel a bit rubbish’ mile when I’m on a long run so I started my ‘just keep running, just keep running’ mantra (done in Dorey from Nemo styleeeeeee). By the nine mile marker I felt okay again, except that my tummy had started the dreaded rumbling that signifies an onset of runners tum…. why oh why did I not take the imodium for breakfast.. I ALWAYS get a dodgy tum on a long race. I had to stop at the toilets by mile 10 and I lost quite a lot of time but at least it gave me a chance to send a status update to facebook! What really annoyed me though was that there were 4 toilets…..4 toilets for a 37000 very nervous runners! I also took the opportunity to call my hubby, who didn’t hear his phone! I did eventually get Mark to answer his phone and told him I was at mile 10. he thought I said Aisle 10, dunno if he thought I’d stopped off to do the shopping on the way!
As I approached Tower Bridge my tummy was rumbling again so I knew I’d have to stop again soon but the sight of a clown being interviewed meant a quick stop behind to wave and shout ‘hello mum!’. She didn’t see it though!!! I then spotted Anya from my club running just ahead of me so I caught up with her and we had a hug and ran over the bridge together. A definite highlight of the race for me. We were then trying to spot a pub where I could stop for the loo but there weren’t any in that next stretch so eventually I had to queue again. Another long wait that was just frustrating.
From there I couldn’t wait to get to Canary Wharf to the Citibank building where I knew that Mike, Kerry and Mark were. I really needed that boost that seeing them would give me. I got a glimpse of the building about 4 miles before I actually reached it. Those were a very long 4 miles I can tell you! I then nearly ran past them as I was looking on the left when Mike had told me the right. Luckily though Kerry heard someone shout ‘go on Rose’ and saw me and yelled and I turned round and ran back to them where Mike got this VERY flattering picture of me (ahem…)
From then on it was quite hard work. I had to do a bit of walking every now and then but having my name on my tshirt meant that whenever I did I got loads of encouragement to get going again which really helped. My quad also tightened up a bit more and I had to stop and give it a good old stretch which really did the trick.
I don’t remember much about this bit except the lovely sticky feel of passing through the lucozade stations (think grimy pub on a busy night!) and the brilliant lift that passing live music gives you. I said congratulations to a couple getting married en route, another getting married in two weeks and third who were celebrating their 40th anniversary that day! Running for the charity was good too as whenever I spotted another starlight runner we always said hello and little things like that do give you a couple of meters of extra spring in your step!
…. I was really struggling. I had to keep picking out landmarks to run to, promising myself a walk as a reward if I got that far. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t. At some point I also had to visit the loo again, this time there wasn’t a queue but I did have to stop and ask a kindly spectator if I could have some tissues! I kept telling myself that 3 miles is a short, easy run and that the sooner I did it the sooner I could stop!
I could see Buckingham Palace in the distance and the roar of the crowd and so many people calling my name made the emotions really start to kick in and I nearly started crying. I knew that if I did cry at that point I’d have a job to ever stop so I had to swallow it down and concentrate on the task in hand. As I passed the 385 metres to go mark I managed to step up the pace and then we turned onto Pall Mall, I could see the finish gates up ahead and I managed to step it up a bit more and even overtook some people on my way to the line. I think that it is incredible that the top half of my head didn’t fall off at that point my smile was sooooo wide!
The marshals were brilliant…..
my tag was removed, medal was given and congratulations dished out before I knew it. I stopped and had my photo taken in the ‘finishers’ area and then picked up my goody bag and kit bag.
This bit was horrid, from there it was quite a long walk down to the ‘P’ area where I was meeting everyone. I hadn’t thought about how heavy my bag would feel at the end and all I wanted to do was drop to the ground and not walk another step. Trying to weave round all the people waiting on the pavements for their family/friends was like torture to my poor legs! My darling hubby saved the day though, he spotted me and came and took my bags AND me over to where they’d bagged a spot and was finally able to sit down! Boy did that feel good. Mike, Richard and David from club were already there (with Francine and Caroline) which was lovely. It really added to the whole thing being able to congratulate each other at the end. It was a shame we didn’t see the others but it was so hectic that it was hardly surprising.
I’ll tell you about the massage and party and how I feel today in another post as this one is already far too long and I need to go to bed.
I do just have to say another HUGE thank you though as I got an incredible number of messages both before AND after the race and it means the world to me.
lots of love