Monday, 28 May 2012

My First Marathon - edited highlights

I finish my first marathon in 4 hours, 19 minutes. I am extremely proud of myself. The stats are here!

It was hot but after a while I didn't really notice too much. It was hard for a whole number of reasons and the heat was just one of them!

I did a little dance at the start line and continued it at the finish line. I finished strong (doing 8.21min/mile!) and ran the whole way, even through the water stations.

The route was flat, pretty and included my home turf, which was brilliant - high fives with friends and shout-outs from my neighbours really made me feel on top of the world!
I had a few niggles but most of them came and went - hips, lower back and IT band aches were all overtaken by the pain in my thighs after about 16 miles.

My podcasts were great diversions, especially as, despite the beauty of the East Lothian coast in the sunshine, it is fairly repetitive view!!

I carried my water bottle and refilled it at the water stations, and consumed 7 energy gels.

My mum and her boyfriend Robert were there to cheer me on at about mile 13. That was lovely and lifted my spirits - in fact it made me quite emotional and I was choking back the tears!

I was so excited to see the big orange 25-mile sign and find myself still going strong. I knew that whatever happened I was going to finish the race now. And then I saw my husband and children!! What a thrill - they weren't sure they were going to make it! They gave me a big wave and took my picture - but now I was sprinting with joy! I still had about three-quarters of a mile to go though!!
3/4 mile from the end, grinning like a nutter and FINISHING STRONG!! (Note the non-chafeing bumbag.)
When I saw the finish line it gave it everything I had left, overtook everyone I saw and crossed the finish line with a massive shout of "YES!!", loud enough for race compere Bryan Burnett to comment on! The time on the gantry was 4 hours 36 minutes - the time on my watch was 4 hours 19 minutes!!

I was so happy to get my medal, I fixed my eyes on the medal lady and dipped my head to get her to put it round my neck. She gave me a big smile and said "well done, hen", and I was ridiculously, hysterically grateful and happy.

One I was out into the reunion area, I burst into tears. I'd done it! I'd completed my first marathon! After only 8 weeks of training (albeit after 15 years of building a solid running base!) it had taken me 4 hours 19 minutes to run 26.2 miles.  I could not have been any happier.

I did that little dance I'd started at the starting line (Paulo Nutini's 10/10 was the tune - it had been on the PA but I also had it on my ipod!) and tried to find hubby and weans. It took a while but we were reunited!
"Mum, can we go home now? it's too hot..."

I tried to have a shower but they were freezing! So I had a bit of a douse and put on my clean clothes. I realised my toes were hurting. "Well", said a lady in the changing room, who was a veteran of 5 marathons, "you can't do a marathon without expecting to lose a few toenails!", and she showed me the toes she'd lost nails from she'd lost in the last few years! I was unprepared for this - Marathon Training Academy, you should have told me!

Next stop was the Well Hung & Tender stall for a deluxe burger - featuring onions, bacon and cheese, accompanied with a cup of milky tea. It was so unbelievably good, I can hardly begin to tell you - but my face should give you a hint:
Nothing could have tasted better!

We had a long, hot, uphill walk back to the car, and I had to carry a nearly-five-year-old on my shoulders for most of it! It was possibly the hardest part of the day. But it was closely followed by meeting up with the other Leith Primary running parents in the pub. I was cheered when I arrived, and then hugged, congratulated, quizzed and bought drinks!

Eight weeks ago, I wasn't remotely confident I could run a marathon. I registered for the event thinking that I might well change to the half marathon. I knew nothing about fueling, or the wall, or what I was capable of. I feel like a wiser, better person than I was 8 weeks ago. I feel confident, creative and like I can do anything. Anything I put my mind to. I always knew I could, in theory. Now I have proof.

It remains to be seen if I lose toenails. It remains to be seen how much sponsor money I've raised for the Leith Primary playground fund. It remains to be seen whether I'll do it again next year (although I suspect I'd like to!). But I ran my first marathon in 4 hours 19 minutes. I do have what it takes to run a marathon and change my life. And I ROCK!!!

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