Well I ended my last blog with - London's Calling
And calling it was. My first London Marathon, THE Marathon, the only one that matters, the longest etc etc
I've had many opportunities to run it, I actually got in on my first ever try through ballot, got injured deferred then found myself on Ultra scene. silly. Then I've had GFA for ages, being so good for my age, obv. (and thats super soft for girls quite frankly)
So this was the year! Cant say I was excited about it if I'm honest. I love watching it on telly, love tracking folk but being there, I had no desire really. I supported Ian a few yrs back when he was running & loved it but to me I thought I'd need boxing gloves to get folk out my way.
Training for a marathon & a 100miler isn't so easy though, because I was targeting London for a PB it meant trying to get speedwork and long road runs in as well as making sure I got the long trail runs in too. Been averaging 75 mil weeks peaking at 99.3 yes really, and no I wasn't tempted.
2 weeks out I did cutback week after my back2back weekend of 78 miles (that 99.3 week) and did 51 miles & had 2 full days rest, next week again 2 full days. On Good Friday we were both off & went out on out nice wee 5 mile loop we have through blackford & braid nature reserve and I said to Ian I was getting shooting pains in my knee. Randomly, not all time. This was before even leaving house & happened couple times on run. It made my leg buckle, not so good. had good run so thought nothing of it. Rested next day then we headed off to St Andrews for a wee break.
We went out for run around golf course, trails & beach and although it was glorious, I had a proper niggle in my hip. This didn't go away & only got worse as day went on moving into my back. By Monday I was sitting with hot water bottle against lower back, taking drugs (paracetamol, don't worry) and desperately trying to appt with my stupidly popular busy physio this guy...
He said he'd call me if he got cancellation and I got apt for Wed morning. He did his best to make me scream a lot ( does everyone else bite their tongue he always tells me I'm very vocal) gave me some exercises to do. Said I hadn't damaged anything & that "I'll probably hurt" on Sunday, but that I could run. Friday night & Saturday morning my back still hurt. I managed it with wine pretty much.
It wasn't all about the Marathon though, Ian bought me (us) tickets for Les Miserables for the Saturday for my Christmas. I was so excited about that more than marathon it has to be said! We were both working Friday so arrived at Airport separately, I went straight to lounge and got tucked into the wine & Ian arrived about an hour later. We arrived at hotel and got bite to eat before heading to bed around 11ish. having been up since 6am
Up early Saturday to head to Expo, needed to get there, see bit of it, get back to hotel then head out to Theatre, busybusy! I forgot to mention I'd bought myself new shoes at airport. I love Kurt Geiger & bought I pair of shoes in same style id had before which were comfiest ever. So I wore them.
Sometimes I worry about my decisions, this was one of them. 6 miles of walking and 5 blisters the day before you're trying to PB at a Marathon
Add to that the Lrg Wine & 2 prosecco with lunch. The 2 Prosecco during theatre (which was magnificent b
Had bottle wine (that I shared) with Gayle
I guess my prep isn't quite textbook!
On the plus side, my sore feet made me forget about my sore back, that's good right....
Ian walked me to station to se me on my on way, by then I was starting to feel really nervous. I don't get nerves. Not even for WHW race, I'm usually as chilled as a chilled thing. I think I use my nervousness leading up to that normally as I'm usually in tears all week watching Home & away &whatnot, Maybe this week because I so worrying about even being on start line it took that away only for it to thrown itself on me on race morning
Its a lonely old world and not one person had spoken to me til I was finally finding my way to green start & heard an almighty holler.Could only be the voice of Gavin, who is even louder than me. What a great wee boost that gave me. they were in jail so I had to kiss them through the barricades
off I went to green start & met up with more Scottish folk! hurrah. David & Caroline at start, knew I wouldn't see them again once we got going. When someone dressed as massive toilet roll joined by pen I made sure I was well away from them!
I positioned myself passed on my good luck wishes and suddenly we were off, It took only 2 mins to cross line but immediately I got stressed. So so busy, no room to move anywhere for first few miles it was worse then we joined the red start. Made it even more busy. I was asked plenty times what time I was going for.Training indicated between 3.30 & 3.35 so I told everyone 3.35 which was genuinely what I thought I would do. No chance of choosing pace had to go with flow at that point, Luckily they seem to have starting points correct so everyone looking at same sort of pace. I deliberately went ahead of 3.30 pacer guy as I as I so used to running on my own and didn't want to be slave to that then lose heart if I lost him. And I prefer to have bit in bank. He didn't pass me till about mile 23
I calmed down about 4 miles in when there was bit more space, I always took the outer route when I could rather than cut corners, I even saw runners run down pavements behind supports. wtf. roads have been closed for you guys, fucking use them and let the pedestrians use the pavements.
I deliberately didn't put my name on vest, not sure if it was because I was nervous about my pb attempt & if ended up walking didn't want *go Sandra, looking good* when you feel anything but! or if it was just a selfish thing, this was about me.
Have to say, the miles flew by. Incredibly so. I passed Antonia & we had quick hug. I knew she'd pass me later ( & she did, super speedy girly) There was 2 moments when I got clipped-barged by folk who didn't apologies- they heard me after for sure *insert swear words*
I knew Ian was going to by Fetchpoint at mile 12 ish which is a station set up every year by Fetcheveryone see link here... fetch ( I've supported there before and set up same in Edinburgh, its proper awesome. I was so excited & emotional leading up to there, was still on course for sub 3.30 at that point and just hoping it wasn't a fluke
The cheers I got gave me massive boost, and I knew that the next 10 miles til I saw them & Ian again would be tough. I sometimes regretted not having name on shirt but most of time I was happy being ingocnito so to speak. Back to FP & I was still running strong, I high fived all way along and again it put spring in step, Didn't see Ian though, then suddenly at 23 miles I heard him scream my name! my goodness what that did for me you have no idea. I kept thinking, when am I going to blow up, when will I need to stop, to walk... it never happened. I kept telling myself over & over " Sandra, you're an ultra runner, you've ran much further than this etc" I still expected to massively slow down though.
That last 200m felt like 2 miles. I was so so delighted to finish in 3 hrs 30 mins & 56 secs. A stonking 10 minute PB! I was a bit tearful when I finished & even more so when walking past all the baggage handlers who were applauding us. The organisation is tremendous, from start to finish. I walked through to met up area and found Ian waiting and cried again.
Bloody hell I've worked hard for it though, I take my hat off to all my friends with young children. How they do it I have no idea. I think I got my time down to bigger mileage, smarter training and better eating. Marathons are damn hard work. Given I'm so close to sub3.30 I may well train for one later in year once I've recovered from SDWrace.
So that's London done. London's not calling anymore but Winchester certainly is - few more runs to fit in before my 100Miler.
reasons to run, click here!! for my sponsor page- very worthy charities.
Here are the some of the stats, quite impressive reading I think...