So, today has been mostly spent being unable to walk down stairs – I’m a little stiff to say the least! Yesterday I promised a geekily detailed summary of the London marathon, and here it is!
I wrote yesterday that running the London Marathon was the hardest thing I’d ever done and it certainly was. At one point I was in so much pain, I swore I’d never exercise again, let alone run! Boston was obviously very much in everyone’s hearts and minds. Just before the gun went off, a whistle blew for 30 seconds of silence to remember this wonderful city. It was incredibly powerful and followed by a tumultuous round of applause. It gave me goose-bumps.
For the first few miles, everyone was on top of each other and it was really hard to weave round people to follow the 4:30 pacer. Eventually I decided to give up on the pacer, and just run my own race. Friends and family had strategically placed themselves every few miles along the course and I can’t put into words how nice it was to see their faces. The London crowd was just phenomenal. Having a random stranger look you in the eye, screaming out your name and telling you to dig deep was a really powerful experience. I wrote before that I was worried spectators wouldn’t come out because of what happened in Boston, but it seemed all the more people came out in defiance.
Disaster struck on mile 17. I could tell my pace had slowed and my right leg started to twang. Then it hit – the dreaded cramp – something I’d never ever experienced running before. I stopped, stretched then a nice first aid lady massaged it a bit, told me I hadn’t far to go (which was a bit of a lie!) and sent me on my way. It’s funny looking back now, but at the time I was really annoyed with myself. I knew I’d be finishing way slower than anticipated and I thought I’d let myself down. Then I caught a grip. I, yes I, the kid who couldn’t finish the 800m at school was running a marathon! I told myself the quicker I ran, the quicker this would all be over and I could see my friends and family. The last six miles flew by due to the amazing crowd support and before I knew it the finish line was in sight.
I didn’t realise what an emotional day it would be. I had a picture of my granny pinned to my back and looking round at what other people had displayed on their gear, it became obvious that there were thousands of stories on that course. I was a bit choked up when I crossed the line. Then a lovely volunteer lady looked me in the eye and said ‘You have just run a marathon’. Well. That made me burst into full blown, histrionic, heaving sobs. Everyone around was being very nice to me and a soldier came over and gave me a big hug! Eventually I composed myself and was re-united with my loyal supporters who’d hung around all day to cheer me on at as many places as they could. It was an amazing, amazing feeling and the buzz had carried over into today. I really hurt everywhere but it was totally, 100% worth every step.
As I said, during a race I like to dedicate a mile to someone/something meaningful to me and that really helped my on those tough miles. Tomorrow, I’ll give you a run-down, though I can’t promise it’s perfectly in order!
But for now, sleep beckons – nighty night