The one where I run ‘the big one’!
I did it … I ran the London Marathon!!!
I was very lucky to get a ballot place on my first attempt, some people try for years and never get one. I had trained for it, I had even run a marathon two weeks before … So I was ready – and extremely nervous.
To make things easier I had picked up my number from the Expo a few days earlier so that I knew I had it, and could run. As we were taking the girls down on the train the day before, I didn’t want to take the chance (or need the hassle) of us all traipsing across London in a mad dash to get there on time.
It was the first time the girls had been on a ‘proper’ train, so the excitement was starting to build before we had even left the station!! When we arrived in London we spent the afternoon sightseeing and the evening watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was amazing!). With hindsight I should probably relaxed more rather than walking miles round the capital … but it was a lovely day and we all enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere.
On the morning of the race I was up early trying to fill my belly with porridge. It was difficult … it seems to be the case now that I struggle to eat the morning of a race, to the point it makes me gag. I really need to think of something else to start eating for my breakfast.
I said goodbye to the family and set off to Blackheath. The journey was relatively stress free, and although I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going I just followed the crowds of people in Lycra … And the smell of deep heat!
At Blackheath I met up with some of the other women from the ‘Run Mummy Run’ Facebook group which really helped with my nerves. I had got there for about half eight so there was a lot of waiting around until the official start at 10 … and because I was starting in pen 9 (at the back) it would be closer to 10:30 before I actually set off.
Everything else after this is a bit of a blur!!!!! It is only now, after the event, that I can really look back and think …. Yes, I enjoyed it.
- The first few miles were overwhelming. There were so many spectators and runners. The noise was deafening. The noise carried on for the whole 26.2 miles and I must admit that at certain points I did wish it was a bit quieter.
- Hearing an old school friend shout my name just after the Cutty Sark was brilliant. It was such a surprise to see someone I knew and really gave me a boost. It was even better to see him again at about mile 21 … And it gave me a bit of a push to the end when I was feeling a bit disheartened.
- Running over Tower Bridge was a definite highlight.
- Meeting up with the troops at mile 17 was amazing. I was struggling for all sorts of reasons, but a chat, a hug and a kiss from my husband and girls spurred me on to get to the end. Although just as I was about to run off my eldest shouted ‘daddy left me on a train’. This certainly stopped me in my tracks. What had actually happened is as they were getting off the tube, lots of people surged on and he lost grip of her hand. Fortunately he realised very quickly and managed to pull her out before the tube set off.
- There was an hour where I thought I don’t want to do this anymore. I felt rotten, I was tired and so I started walking, and then running, then walking again. But I carried on, in reality there was no way I was giving up. I knew I was getting closer to the end and was feeling a bit more positive. It was about three miles from the end that I sorted my head out and pressed on. I started to run again and from the moment I saw the Houses of Parliment I felt like I was running on air!!!! My legs were no longer heavy and lead-like and my head wasn’t hurting. And looking at the pictures I even managed to crack a smile!
- Seeing the finish line was amazing … But the last kilometre seemed to take me an eternity! It turned out the family were near the end and were shouting me but I completely missed them. I was in the zone!
- Meeting up with the family at the end was the most stressful part of the whole day. We had a plan … The plan didn’t work so I wandered about Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square and other places I wasn’t sure about waiting for them to turn up. Eventually we all met up and it was over!!!
After a difficult journey home (cancelled trains, booked taxis that didn’t turn up, tired children) I spent the next day feeling a bit disappointed. Disappointed that it had taken me over five hours, disappointed that I had let things out of my control bother me and disappointed that I hadn’t been quicker than Manchester.
And I’ve entered the ballot again … And entered the husband. Who knows … I might get lucky again.