What an experience for me.
I’ve previously said that running the London Marathon wasn’t something I aimed to do. I’ve never been a sporty person and never in my wildest dreams would I have said that I was going to run, never mind run a marathon. I decided to take up running four years ago after having my children. It started with mud running at Eastnor castle, to Merthyr half marathon then to joining Croft Ambrey RC. As many know that I love racing and I race a lot, the buzz I get and the extra boost it gives to make me work harder is why.
So last year I went in for the public ballot for the London Marathon thinking to myself ‘I won’t get in’ which I didn’t. I thought to myself ‘phew’ then I go in for the club place and I get drawn! Now I’m excited and scared stiff but I knew I had to knuckle down and put in the effort to run proud in the sky blue colours.
I trained the best I could, building mileage up weekly, including circuit training and continuing to race. I got up to 22 miles pre London and felt happy with that.
Race day came around very quickly. A country girl heading to London was exciting and a bit scary. My worst fear was not getting myself to the start on time but I did it.
The sky’s were blue and it was hot but I just kept reminding myself that there is lots of water, keep hydrated and I will be fine.
In my pen waiting at the start line, the atmosphere was amazing. People cheering, music playing and then we were off. I started off well, a little concerned I was a little too fast for what I planned but I kept with it. I got to 15 miles and dropped off slightly just with the fear that I still had 11 miles to go. It was a little scary when your running along seeing people falling over/passed out on the pavement, it gave me a little reminder just to enjoy the race/don’t worry about time/it is after all my first marathon in very hot conditions. I took on loads of water, used most of the showers and was feeling good. Around mile 19 I could start to feel my legs tiring but I knew they were ok ‘it’s mind over matter I thought’ and kept going. The crowds of people cheering and the music keeps you going too.
Getting to 20 miles and thinking that it’s just 10k to go, then getting to 23 miles and thinking it’s only 5k, that’s just parkrun then I’m done. Then it’s the final couple of mile markers which are making the smiles bigger and time to pick up the pace to finish well.
I’ve never been so pleased to turn that corner and see the finish line, to grit my teeth and give that final push to the finish line finishing in 3:53:25. The overwhelming feeling to complete a marathon and that being the London Marathon was amazing and chuffed to be sub 4 hours.
It was a struggle to walk after finishing but I soon numbed away the pain enjoying a cold pint of cider down on the south bank wearing my medal with so much pride. I did say I think London will be my one and only marathon but I think I’m going to have to give it another go just to prove to myself I can get the 3:45 time I set out to get. My finger is hovering over the enter button for Chester Marathon in October and I have gone back in for the London ballot for 2019.