It’s the morning after the day before and I’ve woken up far too early. Done my morning duties on twitter, had breakfast and am now back in my bed. Time to write. Trouble is I’m not too sure where to start…
Simple really I suppose. Yesterday I ran 26.2 miles (actually it was more cos I didn’t follow the chuffing blue line – 26.7 miles according to my Garmin) around London raising money for The Outward Bound Trust.
Rewind to the night before. Sated with pasta (AGAIN!) I slept ok on Saturday night – aside from being woken by a text from the boy at midnight – “Hope you’re asleep…” – ermm nope. Bless.
Yesterday morning seems a bit of a foggy / dim / distant memory already. Autopilot switch flicked – get up, shower, have porridge, bung running gear and sunscreen on and foxtrot oscar in the general direction of all things Greenwich.
Sharp focus returns lining up in pen #6 at about 9.30am with Jane and Becks – my two lovely and scrumptious running buddies. My other (also lovely and scrumptious etc.) running buddy – Kylie – was in pen #5 cos she’s a whippet. Starting together with Jane and Becks seemed a good idea – a bit of pace setting, a lot of banter and also the ability to stop each other from getting too caught up in the emotion of it all.
Things that you don’t realise about VLM #1 – boys pee ANYWHERE! As we rounded the corner just before the start line there was loads of boys having a wee up against the railings.
Anyway I digress. At 09:57 we passed through the start line – heralded by a cacophony of Garmin beeps and buzzes – off we go. First couple of miles we chatted loads, gave kids high fives, gave it some welly on the oggy oggy oggy front and generally had a bit of fun! Then realised we were actually going too fast so throttled it back.
It was a beautiful morning with the potential to be a scorcher. Note to self earlier on that morning had been to drink lots of water… As we powered on it got hotter and I was getting a little fixated that I was getting hot – and I hate getting hot – to make it worse there was no breeze to speak of. Firm words from Jane – don’t let this become about the weather… Ok. I’ve been told. Shut up Bucks.
At just under 10 miles I let the girls crack on without me. I’m happier running alone if I’m not feeling 100% as I don’t have to worry about holding people up. And I wasn’t feeling tip top at that point. Everything hurt – hips, feet and knees – and I was hot too. Until that point I’d had my iPod in one ear but hadn’t been listening to it. Time to turn it on and keep my brain amused… Crowd in one ear. Music in the other.
Minor side note: Jones had pulled together a playlist for me – he’d been all meticulous too – each playlist was an hour long and was put together in a specific order etc. Needless to say when I imported it I goofed and the tracks all got mixed up…. Anyway I had been good and not listened to it – as instructed. Never again. First track I heard was “Chariots of Fire”… Heaven help me. Made me laugh like a drain though.
Five past midday and I’m over Tower Bridge. Huge crowds too. I’d really been looking forward to the crowds, but weirdly wasn’t feeling encouraged by them. Had seen a couple of faces – the boy and my mate Jon – early on but hadn’t seen anyone since mile 5. I was in desperate need of some love!
Hang a right and then we’re heading towards “No Mans Land” aka Canary Wharf. The bit I am NOT looking forward to. Grabbed a water just heading past my offices (St. Katherine’s Docks) and the girl at the water station said “There you go Mel – you’re looking great love…” And all of a sudden I felt great. I actually believed her! Amazing how random acts of kindness have such a huge affect on your brain.
Miles 10 to 19 were tough. No avoiding that. Bloody hot, sporadic crowd support and just generally chuffing horrid. The biggest battle going on, however, was the one between my ears. All of a sudden I’d started to doubt myself. I’d started off with a specific finish time in mind and had spent an hour or so beating myself up that I wasn’t going to make my time. Doh. Finishing is the important bit. Donut girl.
Weirdly though as I’d got more and more caught up in my little internal battle about finish times I’d not actually noticed the miles drifting by. All of a sudden I was back by my office and I am ticking along thinking “Ooh blimey, not long now….“
At mile 21 I started to see more and more people who were being treated by St. Johns. People that could hardly stand up straight, let alone walk. Presumably it was dehydration but it’s really distressing to see. More because you know that they won’t finish – all that work and then nothing – that must be really soul destroying.
Drop down onto Embankment and I switched my iPod off. The crowd were simply amazing. Everyone was making such a row and picking people out and shouting their names – simply fantastic stuff… It definitely lifted my game.
Potter round the corner into Parliament Square and am greeted by a breeze – its lovely – and I’m pogging around at the crowd and I see someone (standing on one of the railings bless her) that looks like my friend Mel. And it was her! And I’m running along waving and shouting like a veritable loon.
Onto Birdcage Walk and I swear to God that the sign that says 800 yards to the finish is in the wrong place. No way was that 800 yards! It felt like the hardest bit. At 400m out I think to myself stuff it – time to pick it up bird – gotta finish in style. I think I nearly gave myself a coronary at that point. Threw myself over the line in 4:46:47. Job done.
So here’s the weird bit… I didn’t get emotional yesterday. All week I’ve been winding myself up about how it’s going to make me feel and then when it finally happens it’s like it doesn’t even register; Nothing. Zip. Nadda. However this morning, writing this, I’ve bawled my eyes out…. Go figure.
I owe a debt of thanks to everyone that has supported me through this process over the last three months – there have been many occasions when I’ve thought I cant do it. And with your help I’ve proved myself wrong. Thank you.
And for the record I will be doing it again next year. I have PB to beat now 😉