I have been struggling to write this blog. Almost 5 months of training and fundraising has gone in a blink of an eye. Or maybe a few thousand blinks but the marathon feels like months ago.
We must have read the final marathon instructions a thousand times in the hope that it would reveal a. a secret shortcut b.the secret to flying round the course at top speed without hitting the wall. Alas, neither. We had to rely on some good old-fashioned determination.
To my surprise, no walls appeared but when I asked Dan if he thinks he hit the wall his reply was ‘only 5-6 times in the last 6 miles’. Ouch
Weirdly the day itself felt very relaxed. So relaxed in fact it could have been very easy to miss the start (there was no big announcement or anyone ushering runners to the starting blocks). I must shout out big thanks to Faye Warren who kept me company as we found our way to the start line and chatted away any remaining nerves!
All of a sudden I was two miles in and thinking ‘I’m actually doing this!’. Mentally I kept re-setting the mileage every time I felt a little apprehensive about the distance. All I had to do was to stay comfortable, ignore my watch and just listened to my body to keep pace. I wanted to soak in every last ounce of atmosphere, in fact at times I was so busy scanning the crowds for familiar faces I forgot that I was running.
Truth be told between miles 14 and 20 I got a little bored, maybe I wasn’t running hard enough (I refused to test that theory) or maybe it was that the crowds thinned slightly and the landmarks scattered, but mentally I got tired.
Plodding along from tower bridge on the final stretches, I was ecstatic to hear some familiar voices!! It makes such a difference to spot friends in the crowd! I ran back to hi five, desperately wanting to brain dump the entire experience on them there and then but knowing that I MUST keep going. I think I yelled something incoherent, and ran off beaming from ear to ear. I’ve got this in the bag!
The final stretch was a surreal experience. Having stuck to my training times and luckily not felt any particular niggles en route, I was thinking that I could ramp it up for a glorious final push. But the last 800m was the longest ‘mile’ of the day. I had nothing left to give, I was spent but I was SO close. All I wanted to do was sprint but it felt like I was going backwards! I had dropped some gels early on in the run so my fuelling was a little out of whack. But suddenly Boom! I was over the finish line!!! Someone was placing a medal over my neck and someone else telling me to pose for photos. What just happened? It was over? A sigh of relief.
The real beauty of the day is that thanks to the generosity of all our friends and family, we know that all our running efforts will continue to have some effect for the families, friends and staff of St Joseph’s Hospice. And hopefully we can make a difference.
Big big thank you to all those who have generously donated and our amazing cheer squad that kept us going! Now better sort the wedding….