As you may have seen in my previous blog I didn’t have the best week for marathon build up. On Thursday night/ Friday morning I wasn’t sure I’d make the start line so I was really happy to be getting myself ready for the start of the London Marathon on Sunday morning.
I stayed at my friends house the night before and I was driven down to Blackheath Common (the car was let through as I flashed my number at the stewards). I got a good luck hug and recreated the picture we took 3 years ago before my 1st marathon, then I chatted with another runner as we headed across the common to the red start.
I left her in the loo queue and I headed off to sort my bag and drop it off and then join the loo queue myself. It was a fairly long queue but I’d given myself plenty of time and each queue was for plenty of toilets so it moved along at an ok pace.
I headed to the pen to get ready for the start. Last time I did London it took 20-25 mins to get over the start so I was expecting similar, this time I was in a pen further towards the start due to my expected time being much faster this time so it actually only took 10 mins.
I got off to a good start. It was busy but I got into a good pace and didn’t feel held back by the crowd at all. I checked my pace and was going faster than my target pace but I felt happy and comfortable so I went with it. I love running around south east London as that’s where I’m from so I know all the areas quite well and enjoy the crowds. I saw my friend and her mum near mile 3 where the red and blue starts join on the course. I got a big cheer and I was feeling great.
When the red and blue starts joined, we were all at very different paces. I was way ahead of the red 4 hour pacers at this point but the blue 4:45 pacers were just ahead which meant in the congested areas it was tough to keep my pace going. Between Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge there were some really congested areas where the road narrows, or the crowd were coming onto the road quite a lot. It made keeping pace tough but I was enjoying the crowds.
I started to feel a bit light headed so I tried to take on a gel and a bit of lucozade sport at various stages to try to get rid of that feeling. I wasn’t feeling 100% and my pace was slowing as I was coming towards Tower Bridge.
At about mile 12 I was feeling excited as we neared Tower Bridge, and then the red 4 hour pacers over took me, I swore a bit as that had been my target but I was still feeling ok so didn’t mind too much. EXCEPT…..when the red 4 pacers came past it as quite a narrow congested area, I was happily running along until they come storming by. The pacers were great but the runners with them were not- I got pushed & shoved out of the way by a good few runners- come on people- that is not what this day is about. Don’t push other runners out of the way! If it’s congested we’re all trying to get through, if your PB is that important to you that you’d push others out the way then you’re a twat!
Ok rant over….
I felt a bit grumpy after being pushed around but then we turned the corner and myself & the other runners whooped and cheered as we could see Tower Bridge and ran towards that fabulous highlight of the course. The crowd went wild and it’s a stunning landmark,
After Tower Bridge I kept a close eye out for the ukrunchat cheer point but missed it completely- I didn’t see the signs or the dominos they’ said they were near in either direction along the highway.
I was loving having my name called out but my handmade sign didn’t last the distance- as someone called my name it fell off- the guy laughed and said I can be known as ‘Run’ from then on (as it said it on my top) and I sure got a lot of “Go on Run” (which was amusing but not fabulous when I was walking for sections).
I wasn’t feeling great and knew my pace was slowing. I crossed the halfway line at 2 hours. I saw JK & Kaya shortly after that and they gave me a good cheer, Not long after that I was feeling a bit ill. There was a tunnel around the 14 mile mark that I walked through and had a bit of a cry as I wasn’t sure I could make it to the end- let alone in the time I had trained so hard to achieve. I stopped for the toilet but one look at them made me heave so I carried on. I ran walked for a while and then found some other toilets that were clean & had toilet roll- lush! Once in there I felt really sick and was dry retching, it didn’t help that I could hear the person in the next stall being really sick too. I got out of there and knew I had to sort myself out- my target became to get as far as I could (assuming I didn’t get too ill) and do my best to finish that race. I was determined to get to that finish line. Once I had that focus I continued on. I kept a bottle of water in my hand and walked, and had a little jog when the crowd was really pulling me along.
As I was walking along one bit I saw fellow Team Reebok runner Tim sitting on the side of the road so I stopped to check he was ok. He’d been quit ill and needed to sit down for a bit. I checked to see if I could get him anything or give him one of my sos rehydrate packs but he just wanted to sit so I wished him well and walked on.
I was running a little when I bumped into Darren. It was great to see him and we stuck together run/walking for a few miles. It was so good to have company for part of the race when I was feeling low, it really lifted my spirits and helped me enjoy the rest of the race. Run/walking was keeping the sick feeling away and I was able to enjoy the crowds and the music along the way.
Once we hit embankment the crowd was electric! I saw the 4:45 red pacers and wanted to beat them to the finish. Unfortunately Darrens knee was playing up a bit but he insisted it was ok for me to run on so I started to run my best for the last section of the race. I was loving the crowds and then saw Tash and Nick- I went over for a big hug and had a quick chat. They were quite surprised to see me as their tracker said I had finished- not quite (it turns out they were tracking the wrong Jenni Morris lol). It was great to see them and it gave me a great boost. I knew my race had been rubbish but suddenly my target became sub-5 hours. I knew I was close but I was feeling good and the crowds on embankment and when you turn right at Big Ben are incredible so I fell into a quick pace and ran my best towards the finish.
As I turned towards Buckingham Palace and the Mall I was so happy to be there. It had been a tough day but I made it! I crossed the finish in 4:57:19- an hour over my target but I was super happy I got to the end after doubting that I would part the way through the race. I had a little cry when I was given my medal. It’s a beauty.
Collecting bags after was wonderfully organised, as always. It was really quick & easy to walk along & get my bag. When I made it out of the runners only area it was so busy- mush more busy than when I did it 3 years ago. I was walking to the meeting points and it was pretty over crowded, a man went into the back of my legs with a pushchair too. A bunch of us had arranged to meet at the ‘Z’ meeting point- thinking we were being clever choosing an unpopular letter….seems a lot of people had that idea as it was really busy. I sat on the grass till I was joined by Tash, Nick, Carl & Darren.
The original plan had been to head to the charity reception for a shower and massage but it seemed far away and we just wanted food & drink and I wanted to get out of the crowded area rather than walk back through it to the strand. We headed across the river to a lovely pub and managed to get a table, we were joined by my friends Emily & Alex and we all had some good food and drinks. I only had coke but then managed a prosecco before we left- it’s only right.
I was feeling pretty knackered and we all headed home. I ordered Dominoes and had a shower. I ate and then went to bed.
The t-shirt and medal are really smart this year!
Now it’s all over I am a bit disappointed. I feel that all my hard work in training went out the window because I got ill. But, in my 12th marathon, it shows it doesn’t get easier. I didn’t have time to recover properly from being really ill on Tursday night/Friday morning. On Friday I wasn’t sure I’d make the start line but I managed it and, more importantly, made it to the finish. I’m pretty proud and happy with that.
I’m giving myself a little rest before I pick up running and training. I’ve got some big races at the end of August, September and October so I’ll make the most of having some down time and try to shake this cough off. I’m dying to sign up for another race so I’m sure some more races will appear in the diary as a warm up for the Ultraks 46k in Zermatt at the end of August.
I’ve been feeling a little low this week- 12 marathons in and I still get the post marathon blues. London was my focus for so long and I was so excited to do it. I love the London Marathon. As long as I am a runner I will always enter the ballot and hope for a place. I will consider a charity place in the future but I’m not sure when. I am feeling happier now and am sure I’ll get back into training soon, but for now a well deserved break is needed, for both my body and mind.
It has been an absolute pleasure & privilege being on the Reebok Team. I am definitely going to miss having a running coach. It has helped me focus and train harder than I usually would. The kit is fabulous and the trainers are really comfortable. I had never run in Reebok before and I would definitely recommend them and buy them again in the future.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to Reebok UK; Sweatshop; the Running Bug team especially Neil; the Livability team especially Fabian; my wonderful coach Shaun; everyone that came out to support and cheer me on the day especially JK, Kaya, Tash, Nick and Carl; Tash and Rob for looking after me the night before; Darren for lifting my spirits when I really needed it; and Emily & Alex.
The Ballot for next year opens tomorrow (Monday May last till 5pm Friday May 5th). If you fancy getting involved (& I highly recommend that you do!) the ballot is HERE (& I recommend donating your entry for more of a chance- the reject top gets better & better every year-I have a collection).
Good luck everyone!
I have just been sent some fabulous pics from David Altabev. He didn’t know I was running the marathon but managed to spot me and get these fabulous pics. I love them.