I am sitting with cauliflower feet, aching thighs in a post marathon state still not quite realizing that I did it, my very first marathon.
The journey is one of self discovery – it’s a big physical commitment but goes way deeper mentally. I came to the conclusion that no training could really prepare you to a first marathon and I am so happy to have experienced one.
On the morning of the race I was surprisingly collected and calm, I ate smoked mackerel on toast and headed for Nottingham. As I arrived at the race village I collected a free Lucozade, took my place in the queue to the portaloos and enjoyed the packed atmosphere with runners full of anticipation.
I made my way to my time departure line – I had calculated that based on my previous long runs (20 miles was the furthest I went) I should be able to finish the marathon in 4h30…
I loved the atmosphere straight away and finally 5 minutes behind the gun shot my wave started running – I had set up my iPod Nike+ device on marathon mode but decided to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the buzz of the crowd of supporters and opted to keep the music for later. I did not know the route at all, I just knew that after 13 miles it was flat.
I started slowly in order to preserve myself for the hills and I am glad that I did as I felt hot but well 10 miles in, the weather started rather sunny but changed as we progressed into the marathon.
13 miles in was a real strange experience as most of the runners split – the half marathon runners went left toward the finishing line while the full marathon runners took a right along the river Trent, the sun was getting hotter and I picked another Lucozade from one of the many water stations.
My legs felt good but I was disappointed to see that I had been running for already 2h20 and had to do the same again, I knew then that I would not finish the marathon as early as anticipated. I carried on and decided that now was a good time to listen to music, I was immediately uplifted by the Scala & Kolcany Brothers version of Creep by Radiohead and must have played it about 10 times throughout the marathon.
The crowd was amazing and really made a huge difference, children were handing out sweets, communities gathered in the streets and in front of churches, this really made the event special.
Mile 15 I decided that I could wait no longer and made it to the first available portaloo. I also took a few minutes to stretch as my thighs started to feel hard, the rest felt good no pains in my knees or calves.
Mile 20 and things started to feel a lot different, my body is slowing down and I am surprised to hear that my iPod update is a mile ahead of the race. My pace is not the only thing changing the weather is too, the sky has turned dark and the wind has picked up – a very painful head wind is keeping me company for the next 2 miles and I am really pleased and relieved to see Kevin at mile 22, he can tell straight away that I am having a hard time and runs besides me till the next water station. At that point I hand him my iPod, I made the stupid mistake to press the wrong button and thought I had deleted the whole marathon data…by then I am angry with myself, exhausted and wondering how I am going to run another 4 miles…
So I kept telling myself that I was going to pretend that I had started a run and was going for a casual 4 mile run, unfortunately my body takes over, the Lucozade gel has a nasty side effect and I know that the next portaloos are likely to be 4 miles away…
I started having shivers, felt faint and panicked that I would not make it to the finishing line – I felt like a loser as I alternated walking and running till mile 24. Running the last miles all I could think of was that I could finally go to the loo…not the very epic ending that I had expected, I reached the final line at a time 0f 4:57:43sec (my chip time was 4:52.02 I was pleased to have finished but felt gutted with my time.
My retrieved unofficial aborted nike+ marathon time:
Judging by my iPod data it took me almost an hour and a half to complete 7 kilometers – I am not sure why there was a whole mile discrepancy between my ipod and the race, someone pointed out on facebook that the 26 miles went further…maybe he too had a Nike+ run chip?
I am not too worried, I am taking home with a me a fantastic experience, the Experian Robin Hood Marathon is a great marathon with a beautiful scenic route. I am hoping to do it again next year, with what I know now I can work out a plan for the last 4 miles, I will definitely stick to dry apricots and water like I did throughout my training. I am hoping to run it with Kevin, he was gutted to pull out of training in February due to a hip injury and I really felt for him on the day as I knew how much this meant to him.
The other good news is that we raised a total of £181.00 for Cancer Research UK – this is fantastic and I would like to say a big thank you to you all 🙂
If you have any marathon stories feel free to share them here x