I did it!!!
It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this, mainly because I’ve experienced a whole array of emotions and I think I needed a little time to process the experience.
A week ago today I still was sure if I’d be able to do it. Worried that it would be my longest run ever and anxious about injuries flaring up and forcing me to stop. I was determined, but also knew that not everyone who starts, finishes.
I want to make sure I capture, what is one of the best weekends of my life, in as much detail as I can, so as it’s likely to be a long one, I’ve decided to write it in two parts – this is obviously Part 1.
The weekend began with me spending quite a bit of time ensuring I had packed everything on the Friday night. Ensuring I had everything and was super organised was my way of staying in control and not having a major panic. I had a decent nights sleep on the Friday night and getting everyone ready to go on Saturday morning was pretty uneventful.
We caught the 08.56 train to London with my Mum and Dad and the kids on Saturday morning, again it all went smoothly.
Upon arriving in London we headed to our hotel, The Hilton Canary Wharf (I highly recommend this hotel if you’re doing the Marathon), dropped off our bags and then headed to the Marathon Expo at London Excel to collect our race numbers.
Once we arrived at the Expo, it all became real. We queued to get our numbers and tracking tags, posed for pics, had a walk round the Expo and had some lunch (a burger and chips!). By this point we’d been on our feet quite a while so we decided to head back to the hotel to relax for a little while. Simon also had to meet up with his Mum and Dad to deliver Oscar who was staying with them that night.
Back at the hotel I got everything ready for the morning. I wanted to know everything was ready to go, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it. After a little rest we headed out to find some food. By this point the carbo loading of the last few days was making me feel heavy and bloated so we decided to go to Wagamamas so that I could eat a relatively light carb based meal – I had a chicken and rice dish, which was perfect. Whilst walking back to the hotel we saw the 18 mile marker being set up, which was exciting.
I felt very calm, which actually surprised me as I’m a bit (ok, a lot) of a worrier, but I was more excited than nervous – it was really happening!! I even managed to go to sleep around 10.30pm, waking at 4.30pm and then drifting in and out of sleep (and having weird dreams about being a day late for the marathon) before getting up at 6am. I felt good.
We headed down for breakfast, which was full of other runners all too nervous to eat. I managed a couple of slices of toast with peanut butter and banana, just as I’d practiced when training. I was still feeling calm.
After breakfast we finished getting ready. I opened up a card from work with some amazing messages of support from my lovey colleagues and sent a few messages on my phone and on facebook. The support from friends was amazing. Once we were ready (and Simon had stopped flapping!) we said our goodbyes to my Mum and Dad and the twins and headed off to head to our starting points.
As Simon had a charity place and I had a a ballot place, we had different start points – Simon was at the Red start and I was at the Blue. I’d been a little bit worried about this and when almost all the runners got off the tube at Greenwich Station with Simon, I had a mini panic. However, it was fine. I changed stations at Lewisham Station and upon seeing lots of other runners knew that I was in the right place – phew!
I arrived at Blackheath at around 9am and after a short walk through a little town, arrived at the official starting point. It all felt surreal – I was really doing this!
I’d spent all morning trying to ensure I was well hydrated, which, arriving at the starting area,meant one thing… I really needed the loo! Easier said then done! I could only see signs for ‘Female Urinals’. I joined the queue, not really sure what to expect. I clearly wasn’t the only one. At the front of the queue was a box of cardboard things that I’m not even going to try and describe and then I was confronted with rows of women, standing up with their bare bums on show weeing into the cardboard contraptions. Now I was desperate at this point, but I couldn’t figure out what I supposed to do with the cardboard thingy and had a feeling that I could end up drenching myself. I really didn’t want to run 26.2 miles covered in wee!
I was directed in the direction of the portaloos, where I had to queue (again). I was getting very desperate now. I had a nice conversation with the guy in front of me, who sensing my desperation, let me go first (thank god!). Once that was dealt with I rang Simon, did a few stretches and heading to my allocated starting pen, pen 9. I was happy that the weather wasn’t as bad as predicted and the sun was even starting to shine, it was going to be a good day. After briefly chatting with a lovely girl it was soon time to go…!