Somewhere under a tree on Horseguards parade, about 6 hrs after I started running. There I was, sat on the grass, enjoying my pink lady apple and marvelling at the fact that I could still walk, still talk and still felt like smiling forever.
I’d brought flipflops and spare trainers with me as I thought that a change of shoe would be very welcome. I ended up giving my flipflops to poor Kerry as she had a horrendous blister on her ankle from running round London all day supporting me. I think that the spectators have as tiring a day as the runners and get none of the glory! I took my shoes off expecting to see some sign of damage but the only casualties were my two middle toes, both of which had nail issues and the left one had signs of a little blister on the end and on the side. I also had a tiny blister on the joint of my big toe. That one needed a plaster before I could put fresh socks and shoes on but was gone by morning.
My charity had a post race party….
… at the very lovely Rubens Hotel on Buckingham Palace Road. I was actually in two minds about whether to go or not when I finished. Not because I didn’t want to but because I knew it would be hard work fighting our way through the crowds to get there.
However, Mike persuaded me that I’d be sorry if we didn’t go and he was absolutely right. It was a pain to get there as we had to go down to the bottom of Horse Guards, across to Birdcage walk and then try and fight our way back up towards Buckingham Palace which all took rather a long time as we kept getting stuck behind all the queues of people trying to get across the road between all the runners who were still coming in.
However, it was all worth it. We arrived at the Ruben’s Hotel to find the party in full swing. There was a gorgeous hot buffet which was VERY welcome, cold and hot drinks and some of the Starlight children were there. We recognised a couple of them from the TV programme and it really brought it all home to me how much all the money raised means to me and to them (it’s not too late to sponsor me if you haven’t yet!!!).
I ate first and then went and got into the queue for the sports massage. It was only at that point that I thought about the fact that I was wearing very inappropriate underwear and didn’t have any shorts with me! Oops! Luckily they had a supply of very large towels so my modesty was (pretty much!) preserved.
The physio started gently and it was lovely but then she said that I had very tight hamstrings and asked if I normally had trouble with them. I don’t so I guess it was just the effect of running 26.5 miles! At this point she called another physio over and they took a leg each and started on my hamstrings. Oh my goodness, that did hurt. As did my calves and my soleus. My left leg was particularly bad and I’m now on a strict massage regime to prevent shin splints developing that side (any other hints very gratefully received).
Funnily enough my ITB wasn’t particularly tight at all so all Anne-Marie’s hard work must have paid off! The other thing that I haven’t mentioned before is that my knee didn’t even twinge once during the marathon and hasn’t hurt once since, not even on Tuesday when I was pushing heavy go-karts full of children up the slope at a local farm park!
….as we still had to get back to Chigwell and then back down to Dorset. I have to admit that the thought of that journey seemed quite daunting when all I really wanted to do was to go somewhere and relax and have a large glass of pink fizz!
We asked the Ruben’s doorman for directions to the nearest tube and luckily it wasn’t far away. We stopped in the entrance to try and work out the easiest route back and the chap manning the gates came over and asked if we needed some help. He was so lovely, he worked out the route with the least steps for me and gave his congratulations too!
It took about an hour to get back to Chigwell tube station and the car was still about 15 mins walk away at the travelodge carpark. Kerry and I took the executive decision to send the boys! Unfortunately I realised that I was desperate for the loo (all that water had to catch up with me at some point!) but there were no loos nearby. Luckily another tube station employee saved me as the lady in the ticket office said I could use the one in there. I was a bit alarmed as my (tmi coming up!) wee was rather blood red. It definitely wasn’t dehydration so I’m not sure what it was but as I felt okay I thought I’d just keep an eye on it and see what happened.
….and we cast our luck with the shatnav again! It told us that there were long delays on the M25 so we decided to go with its suggested alternative of using the North Circular. Unfortunately there were also long delays on this…… I won’t bore you with all the details but it took us a very long time to get home and our enforced stop at Fleet services saw my post race nutrition being a portion of chips and a chicken and bacon sarnie! Mike and I eventually got back home at around 11.30pm whereupon I finally cracked open a bottle of wine and had a very large glass! Despite feeling very sleepy all the way home I woke up the minute I got home and couldn’t go to bed till gone 1am!
I forgot to say that when I was at the party my daughter phoned me to see how I’d got on (she’s 9). I told her that I’d finished okay and that it had taken me 5.5 hrs, she replied “oh, that’s really good you didn’t have to be taken off in an ambulance mum!” I’m so glad that she had such faith in me! My friend that ran texted me later and asked if my kids were proud and I didn’t know how to reply! However, when Mike brought her home the next morning she ran upstairs and gave me a HUGE cuddle and told me how proud she was.
I was a bit scared of getting up on Monday…..
I wasn’t sure how my legs (or the rest of me would feel!) but I was very pleasantly surprised. I was a bit stiff for the first 5 minutes or so but that soon went after a soak in a hot bath (I figured it was a bit late for the cold one!) and a wander around. A bit later my lovely mum arrived with Elliot and a cake just for me! I was really touched as I didn’t expect that at all.
We had quite a relaxing day on Monday, I went and did the shopping and we pottered in the garden a bit. We finished up with a bbq a glass of fizz to celebrate. Lovely!
I was also okay on Tuesday, again a bit stiff when I first woke up and my quads were a little sore to touch but other than that I was fine. I decided that I needed to release the fluid in the blister on my left middle toe as my nail was starting to lift but I was shocked to discover that it wasn’t a blister on top and another on the side, that was one huge blister that was right under the nail. The liquid poured out and continued to do so for most of Tuesday. I couldn’t see a blister on the toe on my right foot but it was actually in the same state. Unfortunately I only discovered this when I caught it on a shoe and the nail nearly came off ….oweeeeeeeeeeeeee! However, I got rid of all the fluid and pushed it back down again and it seems to be hanging on okay!
By Tuesday evening going downstairs was proving a little challenging (why is down so much harder than up??) but it wasn’t by any means impossible and by the time I woke up on Wednesday I was feeling pretty much back to normal.
I’d had 2 long foam rollering sessions on both Monday and Tuesday and I’m sure that helped, as did the sports massage so soon after the event.
On Wednesday evening I put my VLM jacket on AND my medal and headed off to club. I was amazed that Dave was actually running (so isn’t in the photo below) but four of us turned up just for the drink and the opportunity for a post marathon comparison session. It was lovely and I felt really proud to be wearing my medal
….is it just me or is it bloomin insulting to call us ‘fun runners’? Have any of those journalists ever tried to run 26 miles? I’d like to see if they call it fun then! I’ve been reading quite a lot of the press coverage and to be honest a lot of it is downright insulting to the months and months of preparation that us ‘fun’ runners put into this event. Sure there are people who rock up unprepared but they are very much in the minority and certainly everyone that I spoke to was of no doubt of the significance of this event to them.
My official photos are online now and there are some really great ones. I’m going to have to shell out and buy them I guess so I won’t post the link here but save them until I’ve bought them (after payday!)
I’ve still got lots to say about the day and my preparation so I’ll save that for another day!