I actually did it, yesterday I became a marathoner!
The run started at 9am so I got up at 6am, had some porridge, strapped up my legs and got ready to leave the house.
I was getting the train to the start line because so many roads were closed but the journey ended up becoming a nightmare. We had to get a replacement bus for the last part but our train was delayed which meant the bus left before we got to the station –> nothing like a 3 Mile walk to the start line to warm up.
I got to the race village, dropped my bag off and then made my way to start line. In all honestly, the whole thing was a complete blur –> the realisation and nerves had fully kicked in by this point. There were only 1,400 Runners –> London marathon had around 39,000 runners so the start line was pretty small.
All of a sudden we were off and I had a slight moment of weakness and I was so tempted to run the opposite way but I got myself in the zone and set off.
The marathon had a time limit of 6 hours so the idea was to run the first half comfortably but at a good enough pace for me to relax during the second half if I needed to.
When I got to mile 9, the elite half marathon runners caught up with us and I was completely in awe of them –> they moved so effortlessly and with such confidence, their strides and strikes were perfect and they were flying. The marathon runners started an hour before them which meant they had ran 9 miles in around 45 minutes –> absolutely incredible and a real pleasure to see. I realised that I had never actually watched a race before so I’m going to make sure I do that this year.
I ran the first half well –> in all honesty, it went by ridiculously quickly. I tried to run most of it but I knew I had lots more miles ahead of me and I didn’t want to push it too much so I walked the really hard parts –> the itchen bridge was one of these! I managed to run the first half in 2 hours and 40 minutes and I felt really good. I was tired but I wasn’t fatigued –> I knew I had another few miles in me before I would start to struggle.
I got to 14 and a half miles before the pain kicked in. I felt as if something snapped and the pain was unbearable –> I had 12 miles left and I could barely walk. I still had 3 hours left before the time limit was up so I decided to power walk for a little bit. By mile 18, my legs were killing and I mean really killing –> it was agony to walk but I was so close and I knew I couldn’t give up.
Unfortunately, the crowds had gone by this point so there wasn’t any support and I think that made it worse. The marshals were brilliant and they stayed right until the very end but there were long periods where there wasn’t anyone around and at times it was quite difficult to stay motivated.
I hit mile 22 and although I was close to the finish line I knew I had to do the itchen bridge again and I died a little inside. The mental stress a marathon puts on you is more than I imagined –> yes it is physical and you need to have a good level of fitness, but the mental aspect is even more important!
I was still an hour away from the time limit so I knew I would be able to walk some of it still –> I walked up the bridge and walked / jogged down it. By this point it was agony to even run downhill. The last mile went back through town and it was such a strange feeling –> people were out doing their shopping and had no idea that runners were just a mile away from the finish line. The barriers had come down and I was just walking with the crowds –> something I found extremely strange!
With half a mile left to go, I took my shoes off and limped towards the line a little faster. As I got to the last 200m I saw my boyfriend and I knew I was close –> the relief and happiness to see him was so overwhelming. I don’t remember much but I remember giving him my shoes and running as fast as I could towards the finish line. It was then I heard the rest of my family –> my mum and her boyfriend, my sister and my grandparents and it was better than I could have imagined. I passed the finish line and just felt so much emotion –> the relief that it was over, the incredible feeling that I’d actually done it and the overwhelming love that so many people came to see me. My boyfriend ran up to my side and gave me a massive hug over the barrier –> honestly one of the best moments of my life!
I can honestly say I can’t imagine running another marathon but I am so so proud that I did it. It was something I have always wanted to do and I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.
I crossed the finish line in 5 hours, 58 minutes and 28 seconds –> just under my target time of 6 hours!
I am really feeling it today but honestly, the pain was absolutely worth it.
I DID IT!