So it’s just over a week after my first marathon. And what a marathon it was! The hottest London Marathon on record!
Let me start from the beginning of my training. 6 months ago I had hardly put one foot in front of the other. I smoked, I drunk way too much, was always out very naughtily partying and had the most horrendous diet! I had no purpose, no direction and thought what the fuck am I doing with my life!
I’d been trying to get into the marathon for the past 5 years after going up and supporting compete strangers. It struck something inside me. I wanted to do that! So I applied. after 5 years of not getting in. I rang up Children With Cancer and although not having any personal reasons I wanted to raise Money for this charity. Watching children on children in need and comic relief it broke my heart to see them suffer so I couldn’t think of a better charity to raise Money for. I spoke to a lady at their head office and they gave me a place! I was over the moon (I actually cried) this was something that meant so much for. Not only for the kids but for complete selfish reasons as I wanted to do one of the famous and biggest marathons in the world! It was literally a dream come true. I wanted to put my everything into it.
So that was that. I stopped smoking that day. I gave up drink and I set out on my first run... horrendous! Just a pitiful 2 mile run (not even running) I walked most of it. My lungs were on fire. I couldn’t breathe. I thought how the hell am I going to do a 26-mile run. I really hadn’t thought this through! But I persevered and pushed further every training day.
January came, time to get serious. I started upping my mileage. Yay I just did my first ever half marathon. Non-stop, on my own and it felt good!
Now to carry on and get that mileage in and up! 16 mile run, done! 18 mile run, done! Wait, what 18 miles!? Have a I just done a 18 mile run!?! Such an achievement. Right now to the next stage and get that 20 mile run in.
I joked at the beginning of training. I wanted to run from Brentwood to Southend (look at it on a map, it’s far) Well that joke turned into reality. I set myself a route. A127! Perfect! 3 hours 20minutes later, I’d done it! How the fuck did I just do that!? It’s amazing what the brain and your body can do when you’ve got a goal set. After I’d finished that run I cried. It was such a massive achievement for me. I thought I’d never be able to do something like that. Still 7 weeks till marathon. How am I going to keep this up? 2 weeks later. Another 20 mile run, done! This was the most incredible feeling. All this hard work is showing results. Now in my training I’d purposely picked routes where I knew there were hills. The London Marathon is relatively flat so I knew if I train with hills it would help when it came to the marathon! I remember once, in my second 20-mile run, it was freezing (it had got to be one of the longest winters I’ve known, it snowed, it was always so windy and it was so cold) I came to the bottom of this hill. I was 15 miles in. I was freezing. It was so windy and I was running against it. I cried! I literally was running and crying. I looked like a crazy person. This was one of the hardest runs I’ve done BUT I completed it. It lost my confidence for the marathon a little bit but deep down I knew I could it. This is the perfect thing about the marathon. You really find out who you are in these runs and what you can achieve. You pull this inner strength out you thought you never had. It makes you a stronger person mentally and physically. You really do surprise yourself!
Now 2 weeks until marathon day. Time to taper down. I was reading every day about what I could do. Diet tips, stretching, resting. I read it all. It was all I could think about.
4 days to go. Time to get my number from the expo. The buzz, the noise was incredible. Everyone is so excited to be there. It really was a lovely day. What an experience!
Night before marathon - I had so many friends ringing me wishing me luck, asking if I was feeling nervous. My only answer was I am so excited for this. I literally felt like a kid at Christmas. 5 years waiting for this moment! Tomorrow everything will all be over. It was a really surreal feeling. It felt like I was going on a holiday of a lifetime tomorrow.
Marathon Day - I was ready. I put my kit on and headed on my way to get on the coach. I used this time to really think. Thinking about all the training and focusing on just enjoying the day. Feeling incredibly proud of myself and how far I’d come. Just one last long run to go. I read somewhere the best way to think of a marathon is. “Your training is the real marathon. The last 26.2 miles is your victory lap” and your medal waits at the end! It helped putting my mind at rest. I had planned to put my headphones in around the Canary Wharf bit as I had only ever run with music. I thought how am I going to run without any music. Boy I was wrong. From the second I crossed the start line the crowds took over! I didn’t think once about putting my headphones in. How could I? The atmosphere was like nothing other than I have experienced before! From start to finish I was smiling, high fiving strangers shouting my name. Seeing my family and friends randomly appear on different parts of the route, it was an incredible feeling. Them jumping up and down. Smiling! Its the rush and push I needed to get through. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if they weren’t there!
I past the finish the line at the famous scene at the Mall, outside the most famous building in the world. I couldn’t wait to finish but I didn’t want it too either. It was a strange feeling. I got my medal. I cried, happy tears. What an achievement! Now I know what it feels like to be a marathon runner!
I waddled like a penguin to the end of the mall to be meet my family. They spotted me. Run over and gave me the biggest hugs and congratulations. What a feeling! It will literally stay with me forever!
My bit of advice is, if you’re thinking about doing the Marathon. Do it! It’s made me really find myself. What I want from life and what I don’t. It’s made me realize what I can achieve with some hard work and dedication. It’s given me a purpose!
Thank you for such an amazing memory London Marathon!