I’m not sure when the marathon became harder work but the first half was relatively easy – and really good fun! I had my head down and was focused going into miles 14,15,16…but I really needed a wee and was growing increasingly frustrated by having to run around people. The road actually bottlenecked at one water stop but I’m not sure which one. Having to stop running because you can’t move, albeit very briefly, is not fun when you are running a marathon! I put the ipod on at around this point to try and focus my mind so my legs could follow – the people running around me were even treated to me singing along at times 🙂 A bit of Vanilla Ice definitely slipped out at around mile 19 :).
Possibly my favourite part of the marathon was running through an underpass, where it suddenly went very quiet, the crowds were left above ground so the cheering was muffled and it was oh so quiet but then there was a rumbling sound and as I ran through the underpass I realised it was a steel drum band and it sounded amazing as you got closer! Running on I was still needing the loo but every toilet block I passed had a massive queue outside I refused to let myself waste ten minutes waiting in line. I wasn’t drinking too much, maybe a couple of mouthfuls every second or third mile but it was warm so I didn’t want to cut down on my drinks. I was stll having to run around people – at one point running on the pavement so I could get past people, but also getting elbowed in the shoulder and arm as I tried to weave inbetween groups. I seemed to be overtaking walking rhinos constantly…
As I hit mile 21 I saw a loo without a queue so quick popped in and then off I went again – powering towards mile 22 where I was expecting to see my family. By this point the road they were stood on previously, the mile 13 point, had been cleared so I didn’t know where they’d be so was scanning both sides of the road looking for the big Guernsey flag. I gave up after a while and presumed they’d gone straight to the end as the roads were so busy with spectators by now.
Mile 23 was my mental challenge, as I had already run this far and I was expecting the next bit to be relatively easy. By this point though I knew it wasn’t going to be easy! The final lucozade checkpoint was manned by celebrity sports men – but I didn’t know this until days later when I watched a video of it. I ran through another underpass with big balloons with things written on like ‘pain is fleeting’, ‘glory is forever’ etc I read each one and thought ‘I can do this’….just moments later though I slowed to a walk briefly, for all of about five seconds before resuming running – which probably wasn’t much quicker to be honest. I then spotted the big Guernsey flag at around mile 24 and ran over – giving my dad a high five, waving at my Aunty Jane for a photo and running on again. The last two miles were tough but mainly because my garmin said I had hit 26 miles when I had only just run through the 25 mile barrier…..that was quite tough mentally as I knew I had another mile to go still! The road almost bottlenecked again where there was a sign saying 800yards to go – that was very frustrating as by then my legs wanted to stop again but I wanted to run the full way towards Buckingham Palace and up the Mall. By this point it didn’t matter who was cheering me on, I was fighting a mental battle to keep going. I can remember thinking ‘never again’ and just wanting to be finished so I would never have to run again – ever. I still wasn’t actually tired, but my body just didn’t want to run any further. I never actually hit the ‘wall’ but it was tough toward the end.
As I turned up the Mall I wanted to do a sprint finish, but there was no chance. I had my Guernsey flag in hand but didn’t bother waving it as I couldn’t see any cameras – but apparently I was seen on tv crossing the line. That was a briliant moment – first they cut my chip off my trainer then a lady gave me my medal, which took my by surprise for some reason. I could have kissed her!
I went straight to get my bag back and wanted to get out of the runners area sas quickly as possible so I could go and meet my family, but it took quite a while to get through. I think I may have seen the guy who died after finishing, on the floor. If it wasn’t him, it was another guy who looked very similar also being given medical help. Whoever it was, it was a reminder of how much effort everyone had put in to run the marathon and how much pressure it puts everyones’ body under.
When I got out and finally found the hotel where the British Red Cross had its reception I got a cheer as I walked in, and the offer of a shower and a massage. I didn’t want either though – if I had stopped to have either I may not have moved again, and I was flying home in just a few hours! I had a quick catch up with my aunt, uncle and cousins and my friend then we had to make a move to Gatwick. I wasn’t in any pain, I was just beginning to seize up a bit as I hadn’t stretched enough. When we got on to the plane home there were about six other runners, all in their kit with their medals on so I wasn’t the only person to go straight home!
I was on such a high when I got home that I didn’t go to sleep until gone 1am. I had a lot of messages to read through and reply to. Loads of people have been getting in touch which is so nice.
I was expecting to wake up on Monday morning in some pain but as it happened, my legs were a bit stiff and that was it. It did take a couple of days for that to ease off but I have finished the marathon with no injuries, and very little muscle pain afterwards, so the training must have all paid off!
A few days on, I am already planning my next race….I have a few goals, including getting my half marathon time to under two hours. Maybe, one day 🙂 x