- Date/Time: Sunday 06th April 2014 / 09:00am
- Distance: 26.2 miles!!!
After a night of 20 minutes sleep here, a toilet break there and relentless tossing and turning my alarm finally went off at 6:45! GAME TIME!
The first marathon hurdle – no microwave to warm my baked oats! Every long run I had done had been fuelled by baked oats courtesy of Deliciously Ella and I was not going to change things up now so YES I was that sad person that brought their own breakfast in their own tuppawear to a friend’s perfectly well stocked kitchen … hey ho! After working out how to use the oven and trying to relax the trainers and my infamous shwings (and other special additions thanks to my gorgeous friend) were laced up and off we went to the start line.
Luckily dodging the serious amount of puddles and mud along the canal acted as the perfect distraction on the way to the start line … though as we got closer it was impossible to ignore the noise coming from Old Trafford, oh hi nerves!
After a quick group shot with my lovely ladies Harriet and I went in search of toilets which were thankfully in large supply. The first of many ticks I would give Manchester Marathon. Yes of course there were still queues but they moved fast and the toilets were … well … fine. Whilst in the queue Harriet managed to find me a race blanket which apparently made me look like a superhero … more race inspiration!
Harriet had very kindly offered to stay with me to the bitter end but en route to the “starting” line it seemed like anyone could join in so I grabbed my parents and went in the direction of lots of other nervous faces. I found the 4:45 pacer and thought I would position myself there to make sure I started slow but my amazing team pushed me to the 4:30 having full faith in me and my legs! Then people started moving so I gave my team a quick smile (I was nervous and excited now) and off I went …
I knew that I was going to see people at Mile 5, 9, 16 and possibly between 20 – 23 so these were going to be my markers … and the first few miles went so quickly! We passed the new BBC studios which included the Coronation Street set. This definitely kicked off my goofy marathon long smile as my family are huge fans?!
Now I had promised myself that I would stick to roughly 10 minute miles for at least the first half of the race. In my training runs I had been going faster but after that dreadful 16mile race my goals had changed and I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed the day. I kept the 4:30 pacer in my sights bobbing away ahead and that was just fine (plus I am all about the sprint finish ;D).
By the time I reached the 5 mile point I was feeling good, the amount of people who had turned up to cheer us on was amazing and true to their reputation no one was louder than the Manchester members of Run Dem Crew. I am currently loving my first season being part of this family and WOW! I heard the chant and saw the banners before I saw the people! I cannot tell you how amazing this moment was! The pure joy of seeing supporters carried me through the next few miles and I just could not get over how much I was enjoying this run.
Miles 5 – 9 we were out on the open road, an A road to be exact and apparently quite a major one too bringing home, once again, what I was doing. They had closed big roads down just so us runners could well RUN! At mile 6 I wasn’t feeling hungry but remembered what that my fantastic friend & training buddy Leah had said bout fueling before you needed to so I took my first shot blok! The miles kept ticking by and so did my legs whilst I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the route.
10km: 01hrs 03mins
As mile 9 creeped up I could feel my legs moving faster, anticipating seeing my family for the 1st time. They had taken their support role very seriously following Charlie‘s advice, planning exactly where they were going to stand and bringing balloons so they were easy to spot!
I had planned to shout out and ask them how the other TNR girls were getting on in Paris, I planned to hug them, I planned to tell them I was ok but all I could do was scream and shout out “I LOVE YOU GUYS” and zip straight past them!
Miles 9 – 12 saw us run through a gorgeous residential area and once again I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who had turned out to support. Every community hall/church we passed had a choir or band out playing, encouraging us on and of course there were plenty of supporters singing too!?
At mile 12 I took another blok and it was at this point that I suddenly realised I still had to run the distance I had already covered AGAIN. Mild panic set in. My legs were ok. I had slight twinges every so often, and bizarrely changing from leg to leg, but every time I felt it happening I slowed down and that seemed to work yet the thought of doing another 13 scared me. Then I entered the town Altrincham and it was like people knew I was having a bit of a moment. The noise, the people spurring me on and the promise of the half way mark carried me on and brought back my beaming smile!
Half Marathon: 02hrs 10mins
Miles 13 – 16 saw us head back through the lovely residential area and by mile 15 I could feel my pace had picked up and I was fine with that, I had passed the half mark and I was ok! At mile 16 the first person I saw was my Mum and the amazing smile on her face! This was the best moment EVER and I think the photo below says it all, WOOHOO I was ok! We were ok!
Passing mile 16, knowing that I might not see anyone til the end I changed up my markers. I had 10 miles left, almost out of double figures, now surely that was doable!?! So I put my head down, had a shot blok, and got ready to just start ticking off the miles but as I did I had the wonderful surprise of seeing more friendly faces. More of my friends were staring straight at me and what did I shout at them? “I’m still running?!?!” and after an appalling attempt at a high 5 I carried on, hearing Amy say “look at her go, she looks great”. This picked me, and my pace apparently, up loads!
2omiles: 03hours 16mins
Now I always knew miles 20 – 23 were going to be tricky and as I continued along a pretty, but fairly spectator free, country road times were set to get hard but luckily my music saved the day! “Paris” by Jay-z and Kayne came through my headphones and straight away my thoughts were with my fellow TNR ladies Lissy, Leah, Charlie, Laureen, Steph, and Sian in Paris who were also attempting their first marathon! I thought about how much I have loved training (and eating) with these girls and how I really now think of them as wonderful friends! SO inspired by this I took a blok (thank god this was the last one I planned to take), plugged in, smiled at the fire fighters who had turned out in 3 big engines kitted with bubble machines (!?!) AND got to it!
MILE 23 – 25. Now I just had a Parkrun to go and excitingly I could see the 4:15 pacer bobbing ahead of me!!!! Knowing that my legs were behaving impeccably I had a little “pep talk”, mainly involving swearing at myself, and picked up my pace! At mile 24 I had passed the 04:15 pacer and was smiling so much that a spectator commented “LOOK she is still smiling, how is she doing that?”. Just before mile 25 (I think) I got to relive the AWESOMENESS of Cheer Dem Crew. Once again their incredible energy got me so excited that I nearly knocked a fellow runner over whilst jumping and shouting back at them (sorry!) NOW for the home straight!
Turning the corner to see the finish line I spotted my incredible family and friends SCREAMING in the crowd so I sprinted as fast as I could to the end …..
26.2 Miles: 04hours 11mins
I FINISHED A MARATHON ….
I FINISHED A MARATHON AND LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT…
I FINISHED A MARATHON, LOVED IT AND FINISHED FASTER THAN I THOUGHT I COULD
Beyond the finishing line everything was perfectly organised, I was handed a bottle of water, given my BEAST of a medal, offered a banana, took my goodie bag and excitingly given a FINISHER tshirt. Now at this point I hadn’t cried … I was still in total and utter shock … and then once out of the runner’s finishing area I spotted his lady …
From the moment I crazily agreed to do this Miss Harriet Capps has been the most incredible friend supporting me in every single aspect of my training from running, to carb loading, to just being the all round amazing person that she is and I honestly don’t think I am ever going to be able to thank her enough. During the weekend she did everything humanly possible to help me and seeing her after finishing well …. the tears came by the bucket load!
Then to my amazing parents … who well are just AMAZING. My mum doesn’t really like me doing stuff like this (ask her about Trail Walker!) she worries and yet every step of the way they have listened and helped me through my constant worries, cheered with joy after every single one of my training runs and were incredibly patient when I was tired and grumpy. In my eyes these guys are the best parents around!!!!!!
I was so incredibly lucky to have so many people come out and support me and I will never be able to express how much having that sort of support helps you along the way!
This matched with an incredible amount of well wishes via email/text/post/whatsapp/facebook/instagram/twitter and every other form of social networking possible!
I am truly overwhelmed and so so pleased that I could come away with a medal for you guys. So THANK YOU, you helped make my marathon experience truly amazing!
I DID IT!!!!
And then hobbled off for cake ….