Arriving at the venue, I felt calm and relaxed and enjoyed chatting with friends. The weather was warmish with a bit of a breeze and I couldn't wait to get going. I had been feeling pretty ropey all week - half term will do that to a teacher - and wasn't sure what to expect, but I set off with a friend and we ran at a pace where we were able to chat comfortably. It was lovely to chat to her as I don't see that much of her as she live in the shadow of the Angel of the North! We chatted and ran and ran and chatted and it was all going rather well. We were averaging 8.44min/mile pace, it felt good, it felt easy. It felt like I could run like this forever.
And then… And then something happened. I have no idea what. Was it the sun? Was it nerves - I used to suffer from awful nerves to the extent that I would throw up before I had to speak to a group of people? We may never know. We were at about 11 miles in and I needed to be sick. So I parted company with my friend and a pretty miserable time ensued! I was sick a lot. Even when there was nothing left to throw up my body tried to get rid of my stomach lining! It seemed that if I tried to do more than take the smallest sips of liquid the result was catastrophic!
I am so grateful for the support of many friends. I sat and cried with the support team from CPRC who told me to remember that it was just one race. I adopted a walk/run strategy, still throwing up with alarming regularity, but on a point of principle I decided that I would run up Tourette's Hill on all 17 laps! (As an aside, I suggested a group of supporters who were just along from the top of the hill that their support might be more useful on the hill. They were an amazingly vocal group of supporters and I can't thank them enough!) I was astounded by the generosity and kindness of my fellow runners and supporters. I burst into tears when people were nice to me! I'd love to mention them all, but I'd forget someone!
I did finish the marathon. 4hrs and 32 mins and some change. There were some lovely memories: one of the loveliest people on the planet ran her first marathon (I wanted to run the last few laps with her, but really could not manage that), the fastest woman I know lapped me several times in a cow hat and cow print tights didn't get cross with me calling her a 'Fast Cow.' There were some truly awesome marshals on the course - special mention must go to (in my friend's words) 'the two lovely gentlemen in the far corner!' who were wonderful!
I'm home now. Via a drive in to London to pick up a stack of books. I've walked 2 miles to get a curry and have investigated to contents of my goodie bag - there's beer in there. Tomorrow morning I may even be able to lift my rather large medal!
So what's next? Well I have a few things planned, an off road marathon (yes, I am mad!) and a couple of shorter races, but the next big thing I am focussing on is the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. I had a cracking race there last year, and have always loved this one!