The Robin Hood Marathon

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

Robin Hood Marathon just round the corner

 

I am running my first marathon in less than 3 weeks and nerves are kicking in…every run seems to feel heavier and heavier and my motivations are running low…it feels like I have been training for months (ok I have) but it is not getting easier.

 

According to my Nike + stats I have ran a total 601km to prepare for this marathon…the reality is that I have probably done a bit more than that as my iPod has played up and had multiple cardiac arrests during my sessions.  The furthest I have gone is 32.25 km which was a brilliant milestone for me as mentally I thought that 10k on top of that would mean a full marathon…what’s 10k? Well it will all depends on the state of my knees, blisters and bladder…not very glamorous ending that’s for sure.

I am looking forward to it though and keen to see my time on completion I am also really looking forward to not having the training pressure as it has dented my initial inclination to running as well as dictated my wine consumption…I am French after all.

The important bit is that I am raising money in the process for Cancer Research UK and I have raised over £100.00 so far on and offline – if you wish to sponsor me my page is here.

 

Wish me luck – if you have any tips please leave a comment x