Did I finish?

So If you read my previous blog post you would have seen that I was preparing myself for the crazy task of running 26.2 miles in the Brighton Marathon. Well….

I ONLY WENT AND DID IT!!!

Oohhh yeaahhhh

Oohhh yeaahhhh

I finished! 26.2 miles of running non stop in a time of 4:09:51. I can’t even describe how happy I am.

I know in my last post I didn’t really sell the idea of doing a Marathon, but boy, it leaves you with the most on top of the world feeling that just stays with you. I’ve had this “I’ve done it” smile on my face for days now. Don’t get me wrong it was hard but oh so worth it. I managed to raise £935 for Cancer Research UK and my brother raised a whopping £1105 for Alzheimer’s Society. Both charities mean so much to our family and we’re pleased we could do something to raise money and awareness of these crappy diseases. If you have it on your bucket list, just sign up. Yes it will be 6 months of hard work and training but it’s a great thing to say

“Yeah I finished a marathon”

It started Saturday morning with a pleasant train ride through the countryside. My fella pushing lucozade towards me and constantly ordering me to “DRINK!” “HYDRATE!” I really appreciated having him there to remind me to keep drinking, to calm my constant nerves and be excited with me.

With what felt like everything, including the kitchen sink, in my backpack we left the station and headed down the steep road (constantly praying that I wouldn’t have to run up this) and arrived at the Marathon Expo along the seafront. As we entered we were met by charity stalls, massage areas and surrounded by excited faces. You could tell who the runners were from the look of panic just peaking out from behind the over enthusiastic smiles. As we entered the main hall, that’s when it felt real.

wooaahhh

wooaahhh

I excitably collected my race pack and we perused the many stalls laid out around us. Looking at new race gear, entering competitions and sampling the many free energy goodies they laid out. I think me and my fella nearly cleared them out of blok samples. The dark cherry ones were sooo gooey and goood!

The rest of the day mainly consisted of carbs, meeting my brother and his wife, carbs, hydrating and more carbs. Time for a long sleep.

Now would my body let me get to sleep? Noooooo! Knowing I needed to sleep made my mind race. “But you have to sleep, you only have 9 hours..now it’s 8 hours” The more I tried the more my heart raced. My poor fella having to deal with my tossing and turning, crying, and fidgeting some more. At one point I started to drift and my mind realised “yay you’re going to sleep” With that I was awake again. After 4 hours of sleep my alarm went off. FUCK!

There was no time to think about it, I couldn’t let the fact I’d only had 4 hours sleep panic me. After some calming down from the man I got my head back in the game and got myself ready.

Once again, I am so thankful that the man was there with me. As we walked the long walk towards the starting area, he constantly held my hand, telling me how great I was going to be and that was just what I needed. I could see that my sister in law was doing exactly the same thing for my brother. With my mother and godmother on the way I was glad that we both had an awesome support team for the race.

So at 9:15 I found myself at the starting pen, I waved goodbye to my family, wished my brother luck and I stood there, not quite believing what I was about to do. As the masses in front of me start walking forwards towards the start line, I turned my tunes on and I turned them up loud. What time was it? Business time! Before I knew it, I was across that line and started my watch.

Miles 1-5

As I headed towards Mile 2 I spotted my man, my sister in law, my mum and my Godmother and I couldn’t help but beam a smile at them as they waved and cheered at me. I felt good and my confidence rose.

I spotted a lot of people heading off to the sides and darting into portaloos within the first couple of miles and was pleased that I did my hydration plan right. Usually that was me running into the loos within the first 6 miles. At mile 6 we hit the seafront and the cool breeze and grey sky were welcoming.

Miles 6-12

These miles kind of just floated by. I’ve done this kind of mileage many times before during my training, so I just kept track of my pace and enjoyed the atmosphere. I glanced at hand made signs and the variety of costumes and charity vests that surrounded me. My shin was feeling good and I felt prepared for the next half. Knowing that my family would be looking out for me at around mile 13 I decided to pause my music. The cheering of the crowd soon replaced the bass and it was a wonderful sound. I had my name printed across my vest and strangers were cheering for me, I couldn’t help but smile.

Mile 13

I heard my name being called, thinking it was another stranger, I peered to my right, looking to say thanks with a smile or to see if it was my family.

That’s funny that looks just like Ry…wait a second that is Ryan, and Natalie and Fiona, Oh wait that’s a banner for me AHHH all my friends are here with my family

Well I went from confusion, to shock, to happiness, to happy tears and laughter all in a matter of a couple of steps! My friend Paul captured my reaction perfectly!

The change of emotions in all of 10 steps

The change of emotions in all of 10 steps

I’ve never been so surprised in my life. My fella apparently had started arranging this back in December! He got all my work friends and home friends along to surprise me. I truly believe that this helped me get over the wall later on in the race. I was so excited to see all their smiling faces at the end, and also the added pressure of “I definitely can’t fail now in front of everyone!” By the way, it’s really difficult to cry, laugh and run at the same time. Best surprise ever!!!!

I had to compose myself and get back into my strides. Ah but I was so happy. I honestly didn’t have a clue and felt so so lucky!

Miles 14-20

They talk about ‘hitting the wall’ and I found that I reached it during these miles. My right knee started hurting, and when that stopped I started getting terrible stomach cramps. When that subsided, my left knee started sending shooting pains up and down my leg. Panic started to take over, “What If I can’t finish?” “What if I have to stop?” I looked down at my forearms. Written in big black marker, although slightly smudged was “For Mum” “For Dad”. I decided to keep my eyes fixed ahead, slow the pace down a little to make sure my knee didn’t completely lock up and push through. At this stage your legs don’t feel like your own anymore and you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.

keep...going....

keep…going….

Miles 21-26.2

I thought I would panic again after I passed the 20 miler mark as I had never ran that far before in my life. But instead I realised I only had 6 miles to go, that was it, I was well over half way, my knee pain was starting to edge off and I felt good. Then I saw the 22 miler sign. I’d taken my last corner and that was it, I was on the home stretch. Ok… a 4 mile home stretch, but I couldn’t believe it was only 4 miles to go! I kept an eye out for my friends and family around the 26 miler mark. With ‘Faithless – God is a DJ‘ blaring in my ears, I spotted them all smiling and cheering for me. I couldn’t help it, I raised my arms and whooped my way past them! I must have looked crazy, smiling and waving my arms around after 26 miles. I saw the sign for 400metres to go and that’s when I gave it every little bit of energy I had left. I willed my legs to move as fast as they would go until the line was behind me.

My brother was waiting there for me and greeted me with a massive hug. We did it! He did awesome, he managed to finish even with Hamstring issues in 3:57:00.

beer in hand and happy

beer in hand and happy

I seriously had the best day. I managed to finish a race that had been on my wish list for years. I did it surrounded by awesome mates and loved ones! I know my Dad would have been so proud of us!

Pain is temporary, but Pride is forever.

So go on, the ballots for next year’s races are or will be open soon. 2015 is your year!

Now what challenge shall I do next????

— MooFace —

 

 

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It’s only 26.2 miles, how hard can it be?!

The email popped up in my inbox. To do it or not? On the one hand it would be an amazing experience, raising money for a great charity, something to tick off the old ‘life list’. On the other hand though it would be some tough training both physically and mentally, taking over my life for the next 6 months.

“Come join the Brighton Marathon, there are still charity places available”

I toyed with the idea for a couple of hours before I made my decision…Ah sod it! You only live once and this was one thing I’d love to say that I’ve done. Luckily I managed to persuade my older brother to join me in this crazy task. We both thought it would be great to follow in our Dad’s footsteps. He ran 5 London marathons in his life, the fastest being 2hours 57mins. Isn’t that just mental!!! Ok so we’re not likely going to be finishing in that time but this will be a nice way to honour his memory and make him proud.

So with the money paid and charities assigned to us, we were approaching mid Winter and the training was beginning.

No Pressure

No Pressure

Initiate Stage 1 of training: relaxed/denial attitude training.

Now I can’t be the only one who doesn’t take training all too seriously for the first month or two? You have 6-7 months ahead of you, a whole half a year to get yourself physically and mentally ready for the gruelling task. Plenty of time right?, soooo if I don’t give up all the booze and miss the odd training session here or there because of plans with friends, or having to work late, it’s not that much of a big deal right?!  WRONG!

Stage 2 of Training: Panic training!

Suddenly, whilst reading a magazine (instead of running) I heard the familiar song come on the tv. No it can’t be, they must have got it wrong. It was the fricking CocaCola advert declaring to the world that “the holidays are coming”. Christmas was once again upon me. At that instance I ran upstairs, got changed, threw my trainers on and ran out the door for a 45minute run.

Destination Christmas. Destination: overload of good food, drink and tv

Destination Christmas. Destination: overload of good food, drink and tv

After a week of indulging in chocolates, crisps, mounds of turkey and Christmas pudding the New Year suddenly snuck up on me. A night of boozing with my friends, seeing in the brand spanking new year. Oh crap…if it’s the New Year that means only one thing…I would be running a marathon this year and not only this year, in exactly 96 days! It dawned on me that even though I had been running, I still hadn’t even got to the 13 miler mark yet. My brother, who is a personal trainer and my coach through this, assured me I was on schedule, but I couldn’t help but panic slightly and wish I’d treated my body more like a temple than a brewery.

My fella will be running the London marathon a week after my race. It has been nice to share the experience of after work runs and early morning runs every Sunday. The trouble we both found was juggling training with our jobs. We both work for a large Visual Effects house in London producing various fx for films. Even though we are contracted to work 9-6 in Foggy London town, you seem to be stared at with disbelief and slight confusion when you turn your monitors off and pick up your bag at 6. It’s like an unwritten rule for fx artists to work all the hours under the sun in order to meet crazily short deadlines. Now I was working on a show that had the finishing deadline of end of March and I was working with new, unreliable software. This resulted in many working days staying until 11-12 at night. Having to miss runs or run around the streets at 6pm in the dark and then come back to work. The training, the job as well as other sad matters I was having to deal with were wearing me down and I wondered whether I would have to drop out. How could I keep going when my head wasn’t in it and I was struggling to stay awake at my desk.

“Everybody loves a montage!”

Sadly I didn’t document my training progress. However, I feel every running blog needs a montage, so here, have this, it’s just as good:

Stage 3 of training: Constant and ever changing injury training

I never really thought about the amount of injuries you would come across whilst training. I thought as long as you followed your plan and stretched a lot you would be fine. The trouble with training in London, you don’t have a lot of access to off road areas, which results in a lot of pressure hitting your legs from all the road running. I think I have had 5 different injuries since I started in October, as soon as one went, another started. But that was partially my fault, sometimes I would rush my stretching, forget to ice and I put off buying new running trainers for too long. My original ones had completely lost their support and caused me terrible pains in my foot. Can’t recommend enough getting yourself a decent pair of trainers. Even if you aren’t training for a race but just going to the gym, decent support on the  old footies will be so beneficial to the rest of your body and your workouts.

Icing...and not the good cakeyness kind. Innovative hair band stylie

Icing…and not the good cakeyness kind. Innovative hair band stylie

Stage 4, the final stage, of Training: Wishing you had done things differently training.

So as I type this I only have 2 days to go until the big day. I trained up to 20 miles so I’m feeling confident…ok sometimes I feel confident. My niggling shin splint that I’ve had for about a month now isn’t going away any time soon so that worries me slightly. I start to think of how I would have done things differently if I was to go back in time to October.

1. Improved my diet. Just because I ran 10 miles doesn’t mean I can then have 3 slices of Nutella on toast for breakfast as well as biscuits after my dinner. Healthy fuel for a healthy body.

2. Wish I’d taken Stage 1 of training a bit more seriously.

3. Army crawled my way out of work at 6 during deadline time and hoped they wouldn’t notice me running out the door.

4 . Bought new trainers earlier.

But I can’t think like that now, I’ve done my training, I did my best as a first time potential marathon runner and all I have left to do now is…actually do the race!

I know once I get past that 20 mile mark a little voice will call to me

“Steeepphh you’ve never done this far before. PANIC!”

But I can’t cave into this voice, I must stay calm, stay in the zone and think about why I have chosen to do this crazy crazy race. Just push through to the end where I hope there will be cake!

MMMMmmm….cake!

So I shall leave you at that. Bit of a hefty blog post for my first one. I’ll let you know how it goes, well unless the worst happens and I don’t finish then I shall change my name, reinvent myself and pretend this never happened…just kidding.

Not all my posts will be based around running, just thought I’d go right in the deep end with this one as running has been my life lately.

Welcome to the wonderfully weird world of Moo

xx MooFace xx