I only went and bloody did it!
I can’t believe I RAN THE LONDON MARATHON! Of course, I didn’t run all the way and had many, MANY stops along the way to pee, drink, cry and hug my family. It was really hard, I can’t lie, both physically and mentally, but that feeling of accomplishment I feel, even still now weeks afterwards, makes it all completely worth it. I ran for Samaritans on their official charity team, and as you may know if you’ve followed me for some time, they personally helped me at one point in my life, so this was the perfect way to give back to them.
I wanted to write up an honest account of my day so that I can relive it, but also to hopefully reassure and encourage those out there that want to do it so badly but are scared…just like I was.
I got an early morning train up to Greenwich from Kent. My boyfriend dropped me off and I felt sick with nerves. I hadn’t really been able to eat breakfast so I had packed some to attempt to eat on the train. For some reason I thought the train up to London Bridge would be a ghost town, but to my surprise it was full of fellow marathon runners. I just sat with my headphones in the whole way trying to stomach my peanut butter sandwich thins without having a meltdown or anxiety attack.
Once I got to Greenwich it was CRAZY BUSY which made it really difficult to find the rest of the Samaritans team. I was hoping I would at least be able to find someone before starting just to make sure wasn’t the only one freaking out. Luckily, about 20 minutes before setting off, I found another Samaritans runner and we decided to set off together which was great – I had someone to run with at least for a small chunk of the way.
I hadn’t eaten as much as I would have liked to before running 6 hours…but I honestly couldn’t stomach too much. They were giving out free Lucozade Sport so took one of those to give me a little boost of energy.
Slowly shuffling towards the start line I kept wanting to cry. I could hear the cheers of people watching, helicopters above us capturing the day for TV, I couldn’t believe I was about to start something I had trained and dreamt of for months.
DURING THE MARATHON
I got off to a good start, I actually ran my fastest 5km pace EVER, which looking back probably wasn’t the best idea…but it gave me a boost at the time to believe that I could actually do it. I stopped at the portaloos just gone 5km and went really lightheaded whilst I was queuing. I think it was the adrenaline and psyching myself up so much before setting off catching up with me. Luckily after a pee and some more water I felt ok to continue.
I was now running alone and decided not to listen to music so that I could take in the atmosphere and honestly, it was the best decision I made on the day. You hear all the time that the crowds get you through the marathon, and it is 100% true.
The first 15 miles seemed to fly by and I was feeling pretty good. I was slow, but I had managed to get past the half-way mark without serious injury or discomfort. Only 11 miles to go! However, this is when my feet started to rub and, just saying, NEVER underestimate how badly blisters can affect to during a long distance run.
From around 18 miles it got REALLY hard for me. I was in so much pain thanks to my blisters and I started to worry that I was being too slow. I never set out with a goal time, but me being me, I felt the pressure to not get a ‘slow time’…whatever that is.
The 23 mile mark came and went and this is when I just could not control my emotions. I kept crying, from pain and disbelief that I was in the middle of the London Marathon. I had watched it on the TV for so many years and got emotional, so imagine what I was like actually participating! A mess! The last 3 miles felt like they went on forever. I was mostly walking by this point as the pain in my feet had gotten to a level where I just needed to focus on getting to the end and not stopping otherwise I may not start again.
On the final mile the crowds were insane. I couldn’t believe how many people had come out to support the event and the runners, and it was just incredibly heartwarming. I saw my family, gave them all hugs, and walked on determined to get over the finish line by this point.
Crossing the line was incredible. I got in line to collect my medal and just burst into tears as soon as it was around my neck. A volunteer saw me and gave me a huge hug. I was just overcome with pain and joy. I had just done something I thought I would NEVER be able to do. The girl that hates running…just ran The London Marathon!
I expected to feel starving hungry and ready to eat everything in sight, but actually I just felt pretty nauseous and didn’t eat that much for the rest of the day. It’s safe to say I made up for that the days following though.
My feet took the absolute brunt of running the marathon. I had countless blisters on both feet all over the place, and I even lost a toe nail. I was sore all over from my calves to my abs to my shoulders. It’s crazy how many muscles you use for distance running. I would say for two days after the marathon I septs most of my days sitting or lying down as I was just exhausted and incredible sore all over. Epsom salt baths, cooling gel and just general rest and laziness sorted me out the days following – would highly recommend.
“Would I do it again” was one of the questions I was asked a lot afterwards. I said “definitely not” straight away, but I think I would! I would want to do it for charity and not anytime soon, but I would do it again.
NEVER underestimate what you can do. I labeled myself as a ‘non-runner’ and never imagined myself running a marathon. I put limitations on something I hadn’t tried before. If running a marathon has taught me anything, it is that I shouldn’t underestimate myself and not be afraid to try new things.