Monday, April 24, 2006

Race report

Hubby and I set off for London by coach on Saturday morning and arrived early afternoon. We found our hotel, had something to eat and then relaxed for a couple of hours - water ever present at our side. Early evening saw us at the Thistle Hotel in Trafalgar Square meeting up with people from the 'Runners' World' internet forum for drinks, then on for a pasta meal. It was lovely to renew acquaintance with old friends, and to make some new ones. We were away early though so that we could try and get some sleep. 'Try' was the operative word. I slept soundly until about 3.30am, then was tossing and turning until just before 6am. Up, dressed and down to breakfast. We were surprised at just how many other people in the hotel were doing the same thing. Was there anyone who wasn't taking part today?

The weather on Saturday had been very warm and I was seriously worried about getting sunburn during the run. However, Sunday dawned grey and drizzly, so that was one less thing to worry about!

We left the hotel at around 7.15am to make our way to the start. Hubby and I were starting from different places, so we said our fond farewells at Charing Cross station and set out to enjoy the day.

After meeting up with forum friends again before the start and hanging around for some time I decided it was time to join the queue for the loo (again!). Good job I did as there was then scant time to get my baggage on the lorry before going to the start. Wouldn't you know that the lorry corresponding to my race number was almost the furthest away from the start. I must have walked several miles even before the marathon started!

At the start I was chatting to a lady and discovered she was yet another 'forumite'. She'd been injured recently and wanted to start off slowly, so we stayed together until just after halfway. Thanks Jo!

Unfortunately, I started to get pain in my left knee after just a few miles. Very frustrating as I have never had this before and don't know what caused it. By halfway I knew that all thoughts of finishing in a particular time had gone out of the window. It was now about finishing full stop.

I knew that I would be able to get some ibuprofen from friends at mile 17, so I gritted my teeth and kept going. Muttering my 'mantra' under my breath 'When I get to mile 15 I will say........' etc. I was soooo glad to see my friends at mile 17, I virtually fell into their arms - demanding gels, jelly beans and ibuprofen! My knee really hurt once I tried to run again, but I stopped again about 200 meters further down the road as I needed the loo. Whilst queuing here, someone pointed out that the distance remaining was now in single figures. Thank you, whoever you are!

By this stage I barely knew who I was, never mind anything else. The knee wasn't so bad, but everything else hurt and I was getting really tired. I retreated within myself, but was grateful for the shouts of 'Come on Lyn' from the crowd - it was well worth putting my name onto my T shirt! The various bands along the route also lifted my spirits, and my pace, for as long as I was able to hear them. There was one band that was particularly good, around mile 23, and I rounded the corner smiling - only to spot hubby walking ahead of my. His hip had started hurting early on and he had been walking for some miles. We had a quick chat and I pushed on.

The next milestone for me was around mile 24 where my clubmates often stand. It didn't really matter whether anyone was there - it was the 24 mile bit that was important! I didn't see anyone I knew (well, it was raining quite heavily by then) but I recognised that I was in crawling distance of home. Along the embankment I heard someone on a mobile phone saying 'I've just run past the London Eye'. Typically for me, I wouldn't have noticed if I'd just been run over by the London Eye!

Finally! A sign saying '800 meters to go', probably the longest 800 meters of my life but 'This too must pass' and, eventually, I crossed the finish line in a time of 5hrs, 20mins and 35secs. Hallelujah! Having managed to remain dry-eyes for most of the day, I new felt like crying. I really wished there had been someone there to give me a hug and say 'Well done' as there had been in every other race I have taken part in. Usually hubby is there and a few club mates too. At that stage I felt very lonely. Finally met hubby at the appointed place. He was very tired and sore so we limped home.

There was another forum get-together afterwards but, having returned to our hotel to shower and change, we really didn't feel like going out again. We managed to hobble around the corner for a meal and a biiiiiig glass of wine, then back to bed.

I had expected to sleep really well, but had another disturbed night. Everything is stiff this morning, but the knee isn't too bad. I have managed to avoid knocking myself out with my medal, but I fully intend to continue wearing it for a few days yet!

I can truly say that was horrible, and it hurt a lot. I will never, ever do it again - well, not until next time....


Blogger beanz said...

great report, sluggie, brilliant time too

6:43 PM  
Blogger HappyasLarry said...

Well done sluggie !!!

Great time and great determination.
And I bet there will be another.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Mrs V said...

Well done sluggie, im so proud of all the WAISTer FLMers, I hope im there next year for my turn!!!!

8:28 PM  
Blogger nagging doc said...

well done Lyn - really proud of you

8:37 PM  
Blogger AsFastAsASnail said...

Sluggie - that was great, brought a lump to my throat.

You showed shear grit and determination - well done you

I'll be joining you next year!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Bedders said...

I know how you felt in the last few kms. That 800 metres sign I am sure was over 2km to the finish! Well done!!! on to the next one - fancy New York in Nov?

8:17 PM  

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