Yesterday saw me completing the most difficult goal I’ve set myself to date – run a marathon! My reason? Nothing exciting I’m afraid, it was just to see if I could do it.
And I can!
The night before wasn’t good. My anxiety was horrendous and my chest has never felt so tight, breathing was becoming difficult. It wasn’t the distance, it was the number of people who were going to be there and I was going to be by myself. I also felt under pressure to get a ‘good time’ – which is riddulous given its my first marathon. I had to push that out my head.
Morning of the race we were, in true Ella style, running late. We picked my mum and headed through to Edinburgh. I was meant to be meeting some people from a Facebook group but we couldn’t get parked. I ended up running to my pen after radio announcer said ‘2 minutes to go’. I didn’t have my ear phones in which helps calm me down as there has been a lot of talk about disqualification for that. I’m not running 26.2 miles to the be disqualified! My husband, mum and kids caught up to my pen about a minute before I was off. I couldn’t look at them. I was honestly about to burst out in tears. As it was only one or two escaped.
My plan was to run the first half at about 8:30/8:45min miles. I managed to keep to that too badly. There were so many people running with someone else though it was difficult getting past some so I didn’t get the safety blanket of time at the beginning I had hoped for. Once I got past the first mile my anxiety settled down. I was running for the charity SAMH and heard someone shout ‘hey there’s another SAM H’. I made myself turn round and smile instead of shying away. Little boosts like that do help.
By mile 5 my quads were hurting. What was this? I’ve never had sore quads when running before. I had a sore hip but that was holding up ok. This could be a problem.
I was trying to be strict with my nutrition and hydration – I have a shocking habit of not eating unless I’m hungry and I’ve learnt the hard way I need to prevent hunger – so I took water at every station. I was meant to have a gel at 10k but had it at 12k, not bad really. I even had a couple of jelly babies from the fantastic Edinburgh people!
I began looking for the hubby and my mum at this point. I was quite excited to say ‘look, I took a gel!’. 10miles in and I thought they might be at the point where you pass every one coming back. They had my sunglasses and the patch to put on my hip and also pain killers which I was hoping would do something for my quads. Unfortunately they weren’t there though. Must be further up.
Just under 2 hours in and the car went by marking the elites were just behind it. I was quite pleased I had gotten that far before seeing them come back if I’m honest. It was a really hot day so not easy conditions for me. There were quite a few comments around me ‘makes you sick doesn’t it’. It was all in good spirits though.
At 17miles I was wincing through the pain in my legs. I text my eldest to see where they were and was so disheartened when he replied ‘at the finish’. They must have had problems trying to get to places on the route, not easy with a buggy I know.
18 miles and I heard someone shouting my name! A woman from the Facebook site was on the other side of the road heading up to the turn. That was certainly a good boost! She looked fresh as a daisy too as if she was out for a stroll!
When I stopped at the next water station (I can’t run and drink) the pain was almost unbearable when I tried to run again. Looking back I think the cycle section of my triathlon the week before is what has done it. I took it easy on the run but went hard on the bike. A hard lesson for the future.
Going past the racecourse I knew I wasn’t too far away now. I was still looking everywhere for my family but couldn’t see anyone. I thought they must have gotten a good spot at the finish chute.
As I hit the corner going in to the park and onto the metal grids I breathed a sigh of relief – almost there! I looked up and saw the finish line. F@ck it, I’m going for it!! Where that extra boost came from I will never know but that section was without doubt the fastest I ran all day! I passed so many people determined to get to that line. I was hyperventilating afterwards but it was worth it – it got me in in 4hrs 15min!! If I hadn’t sprinted it would have been 4hrs 16 and YES that makes a difference ha ha.
I sat down on the grass looking for my family. I couldn’t see them and the panic started so I left the finishers area and stood at the gate until they came. I got a much needed massage from the people at SAMH (again something I wouldn’t normally have done but I’m trying!).
It was too much for me by this point and I just wanted back to the car so we left and I walked a fair bit but it was taking me too long so my lovely hubby went on ahead to get it.
I’m still in the ‘honeymoon’ period of my achievement. It’s an awesome medal! A bit miffed my tshirt doesn’t say ‘marathon’ or 26.2 but yeah, that’s more my ego ha ha. I will be meeting the lovely people from SAMH again in 2 weeks when I do the obstacle course.
Last year I did the 10k and it was good, this year I went the full distance and it was great!
And yes, I’m considering another marathon……….