I did it, I survived, it took me 4 hours 54 mins and 33 secs. Im very happy, I wanted under 5 hours and I achieved it. Did I enjoy it? Not really, not until 22 miles. Would I do it again, no. Was it tough, yes.
I promised in my last blog a race review so here goes.
I expected the start to be much busy with lots of elbows but it flowed nicely and wasn’t at all pushy and shovy. It took about 10 mins from the gun going off to me crossing the start line. I started nice and steady at a sensible pace, Dave had warned me about setting off too fast, so I did as I was told (first time for everything – eh). I saw Dave at 3 miles cheering me on and felt great, nerves had settled and I was determined to enjoy it. At 4.5 miles I nipped in the bushes with the boys for a pee stop!!! and then took my first gel at 5 miles. Dave was then at 9 miles with vaseline, fortunately I only needed it for my lips. Then I saw my sister (chief cheerleader) a bit further up from Dave, we had a little slight emotional moment but no drama. Dave was around the 12 mile mark when it was a hill over the motorway, had I not seen him I might have been tempted to have a little walk, but seeing him at the top spurred me up the hill. I then saw him on the way back just after 13 miles. Ive got to admit it was starting to get tough now, but I’d had 2 of my quarters of jam butties and was excited that I’d cleared the halfway mark. I also knew Id see my supporters again at 16 miles, so I had something to look forward to. However, when I got to 16 miles my legs were tired and I had a complete meltdown, I burst into tears, threw my arms around my sister, telling her I was ok but my legs hurt, I think she was a little traumatised. Another runner told me “its ok we’ve only 10 miles left” I think thats what I was crying at! But she was encouraging nonetheless. My meltdown wasn’t over though, because then I saw Dave again, just a few hundred meters further on and did the same thing again. I then had a tough time and at 18.5 miles I had a little walk, but I soon discovered that walking hurt more than running, so had to run as much as I could. There wasn’t an awful lot of supporters at this point, especially after there being so many in Altrincham and on the first half of the course. When I got to 20 miles I decided I would risk another gel, something had to help my legs and thankfully my tummy tolerated it. When I got to 21 miles I felt great again, my legs were still sore but nowhere near as bad as they had been and I thought I might actually complete this marathon. I saw my sister again at 22.5 miles and she said I was looking great especially compared to 16 miles, I told I was ok and to let Dave know. I saw my mum and dad at 24 miles by which time I was enjoying myself and flying. Dave ran alongside me around 25.5 miles when I felt a blister fill on my toe, then left me to run the last 400 meters by myself. I ran across the finish line with my arms up high and a smile on my face, I had finished! I thought this would be the time I would cry and I thought Id be crawling, but I didn’t and I wasn’t, I was on a high. Then I muttered those famous words, never again!
The crowds were amazing, they really helped spur me on especially when I was suffering, I couldn’t have down it without them, I also couldn’t have done it without Dave (my husband) or my sister/ Chief cheerleader Heather, they were both amazing on the day and got round to lots of different points on the course to help me along, they were full of encouragement and motivation, they’re the best.
People have asked me if Id do it again, the answer is definitely NO. Im glad Ive done it, I got a time I wanted, I experienced it but I don’t feel the need to do it again. The training takes a lot out of your week, it kinda takes over your life for a good 3 months, I would definitely recommend it though, but be prepared. Or as prepared as you can be. Nothing prepares you for the emotional side of it, 2 of my friend also did the marathon and cried at different parts of the race, I don’t think any of us expected that.
My next challenge is fell running! you know how much I hate hills!
I just want to finish off by saying thank you to everyone who sponsored me, sent good luck messages and words of congratulations. So far Ive raised £778 online and have offline donations too, I will update you all when Ive collected all the money as to the full total.
Now its wine o’clock.