Two years ago, while on maternity leave, I started the C25k (couch-to-5k) programme to get fitter. Yesterday I ran my first marathon, in 3 hours 25 minutes. My name is Kate, and I'm now an addict …
It's been a (CLICHE ALERT) rollercoaster to get here, at least in the past few months. A few weeks ago I pulled up during a planned 22-miler after 16 miles and couldn't walk for a week, and for a while it was touch-and-go if I would even get to the start line. Thanks to the ministrations of the brilliant Ruth at Six Physio, I got there.
The highs and lows of the race were intense. The first 10 miles, oddly, was mentally almost the toughest – perhaps knowing how long there was still to go, and with my psoas muscle – which had locked up on that 16-mile run – threatening to go. But it eased off, I found my stride, albeit a gradually slowing stride, and the next 14 miles seemed to go amazingly quickly. A massive cheer from the lovely folk at my running club at mile 14 and 22 (the route doubles back on itself there) cheered me no end, as did seeing the elites come the other way at more or less the same point. It was pretty obvious that Mo was a long way back, but every runner around me slowed down a little to watch and clap and cheer his name and spare a little willpower for him to get him home.
The high points: the wall of sound at the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge. The low points: quieter stretches where self-doubt crept in. The advice of a fellow RMR group member (thanks Sarah!) to "dedicate" each mile to someone when the going got tough really helped – mile 21-22 was for my eldest daughter, 22-23 my youngest. Every 5km checkpoint I crossed was for my better half, knowing he was tracking me on the site. The last two miles was for … well just for me. Just a mantra of "do not stop, do not stop, do not stop" over and over again.
Funnily enough, I expected to feel really emotional when I crossed that line but I didn't – just the most extraordinary pain. Amazing how you can go from running (albeit slowly) to utterly unable to walk in the course of a few seconds. Thanks too to the advice of my clubmates crossing the line roughly the same time to just keep moving. Everything was screaming to stop but walking (or staggering) around really helped flush out the pain.
Did I sleep last night? Did I hell. Mind buzzing, legs screaming, blisters developing blisters of their own. Am I going to do it again? Hell yeah.
Well that's quite enough about me – did you run London too, and if so, how was it for you? Did you do your usual weekend parkrun, or are you training for another marathon and rather wishing you were over that hurdle too? Oh, one final note, if you feel inspired by those TV pictures, the ballot to enter the 2015 London Marathon opens on Tuesday 22 April ...