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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 —