SUNDAY NIGHT ..later than I want to admit.
Its been a bit of a stressful week if i'm honest. We have both had a few hospital appointments, complications selling our house and Em has had a few stress melt downs. Stress to someone with MS literally shuts them down; Like an off switch! Unfortunately this has resulted in me having to prepare my own food. (chauvinistic northerner bastard I am)
I've been gym training (mainly to keep myself semi sane) but I have reduced the intensity and not done any running since Sunday. I've been trying my best to stretch my legs for tomorrow.
pmsl listen to all them crap excuses! I'm a few hours away from my first full marathon; the longest race i've ever done. My training has been great, i'm (almost) in the best shape of my life (not really saying a lot), i'm really happy with the kit i'm using yet i'm shitting myself.
The plan is to take it easy, keep the kms just under 6 mins and don't fecking stop.
I've got carb/caffeine gels, ibuprofen, tissues and a bladder full of electrolyte water crammed into my race vest. Don't forget tissues Lee! There is nothing worse then seeing someone doing a snot rocket in a busy race. I'm also taking my new go-pro camera; Partly so I can do video updates for this blog but mainly so Emma can experience it with me. I'm going to bore the arse off her with a extra long video.
Trying my best to set a personal record of coffee consumption, partly to wake me up secondly to make sure I go poopy. Ive been very lucky racing so far and desperately want to keep it that way. That curry may have been a mistake last night.
Ems awake and nursing a mega strong coffee too. she had a little slip/fall on friday and is still in a bit of pain luckly her friend Liz is coming too. Shes just as nutty as Em so I know she's in good hands and is going to have a giggle. They have the route planned and are going to try and go to a few points to cheer for me and perv out at my ultra short shorts!!! Huge thank you Liz you have no idea how much this helps us both.
Wow i'm wired after all the coffee. some great music on absoulte radio helped. I've Taken my inhalers, montelukast and naproxin!!!! first time i've remembered to take them all!
Feeling very confident. All I want to do is finish, its my first marathon no matter what I do its going to be a personal best! as long as the the ultra competitive dick-head does not surface ill be cool.
"Don't stop running until someone puts a medal round your neck!" Dean Karnazes
Now it's all over and done; I've got my medal and finish time (4 hours 42 mins and 50 seconds) and Emma has managed to get me home....just. I'm going to try and re-live it while it's fresh in my mind. Also before I have time to exaggerate ;-)
The stadium was awesome but as usual I turned up unprepared and didn't have a clue where the start line was. Because I was tired and full of nervous energy I did the typical bloke thing and refused to ask for direction. 3 laps of the stadium later one of the really cool marshals asked me if I was lost? She kindly directed me outside to the start line. I must of been looking like a lost puppy.
Outside I found the blue pen with 10 mins to spare. Half of the runners were wearing the new on the bone head phones and complaining like hell. "They are much better if you put them over your ear holes!"
Seamed to take forever to get started, I was wearing stupidly thin and scarcely there running shorts and vest, so was rapidly going through a sex change as I stood there in the wind. I'm a really crap northerner.
The atmos was great but I really struggled to get into my stride. It was the 6th km before I started to feel loose and alive. (check out the excuses)
We did a few loops round the town center and there was a ton of people cheering with cowbells and horns. It was awesome to see the elite come absolutely smashing past on the return loops. Man those lady's and gent's can move!!!
It was a hell of a lot more picturesque once we got into the first big Park/lake. Really enjoyed it. The paths narrowed to walking paths and was a little busy but the other runners were really cool keeping to one side letting me past (bad idea on my part)
I was trying to be sensible and keep my kms about 5.40 and felt fantastic. I did the first 13.5 miles in 2.02 mins and decided walk for a min or two, do a few selfies, a little video beside a really big lake, send Em a "I'm half way" text and take a caffeine gel. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day and I had this!!
I struggled to get going! Things started to feel heavy! My stride got shorter and I started to struggle to keep my pace under 6mins/km. I managed to keep going (slowly) up until mile 17 or 18. We had passed right through the middle of some really pretty estates and running past the local bars got harder and harder! Some were playing some pretty awesome rock music and I was fantasising about Pepsi Max -Cherry (my favourite drink)
I had to start to walk! This was soul destroying for a competitive dick head like myself, but a lot of people had adopted the walk/run technique. I think it was at mile 18 I said a tearful
fair well to the four hour pacer, I had been 20 meters behind him the whole time.
Still running through some beautiful Park's the only thing that kept me running was the people cheering and offering sweets. I love this about racing! Local support is so fecking cool!
At a couple of random points in the parks there were guys hiring push bikes out of a cargo container, I've never wanted one so much in my entire life. It was not easy running past.
I think it was mile 21 when the 4,15 pacer sailed past. Lol... I tried my best to keep him in sight but didn't manage to keep up for long. I had been chugging at the gatoraid and water (my vest was empty all my gels long gone) at the last drinks station and it was sloshing about in a not to pleasant way. Thank you to all the guys and girls at the drinks stations! I got a lot of encouragement from all the awesome volunteers.
I was still having a great time; the other runners and spectators were really encouraging and to be honest I was having a real laugh.
My legs weren't responding at all come mile 23 it was laughable how I could not seam to run/fast hobble for more then a couple of minutes with out doing a bit of walking. untill.... I got talking to a woman called Chloe (I'm so sorry if I got your name wrong) she encouraged me to pull my finger out and start running again. She was having a slow race too. Not shit! Just slow. We came up with some great excuses together!
At mile 25 I was so close to the finish, but desperate to stop. Chloe was absolutely awesome and refused to let me stop or go on without me. There was no way I was going to ruin her finish so I pretty much gave up on trying to breathe and just went for it. We approached the stadium and was sent on another little diversion, Bastards! Teasing you with the stadium and making you run around it! lol.
We entered the stadium to a really sharp decline and both decided on a photo finish. Sprinting onto the pitch I was horrified to see we had to do a loop around the pitch. The crowd was awesome though.
The second I got in I could hear Emma and liz screaming!
I tried my best to finish strong and stick my arms up high for the photo finish.
What a fecking experience!!! I love these stadium finishes.
I found Emma and Liz just past the finish line. It wasn't hard they were still screaming; Emma had a cold bottle of Pepsi Max Cherry for me! Wow!!! this amazing woman knows me too well! One of a million reasons I married her.
After draining the whole thing in two swiggs and getting a big hug. I went to get my medal and to hug/thank Chloe!
I was absolutely exhausted, smelt like a teenager's bedroom and waddling like a duck but what a smile I had!! Tired but happy!
I'm laying in the bath as I write this sunburnt and cramping pretty badly. The dehydration is pretty bad you really would not belive the amount of fluids and gels I've consumed today!! I don't think I'm getting out anytime soon!
I've already confirmed the ladybower trail marathon in the peak District for next month
and put my name down for the London marathon.
Only a year ago I could not run 100 meters. I was so amazed and thrilled when I managed to run across one side of salt hill park without stopping. I was not athletic in school in any way. Starting running really was not easy for me, but it's a lot more rewarding then you think. If I can do it you can too! just dont give in.
I had the time of my life running (stumbling) my first full marathon.
Huge thank you to all the organisers, volunteers. Marshals, cheering crowd's, everyone with sweets!! Chloe And of course Emma and Liz!!!!