After making all the usual pre-race checks – porridge, water, number pinned on vest, watch charged etc., I found myself at 6.55am desperately loading up the fridge with Stellas for later in the day. It nearly sparked a minor domestic with Garry when he couldn’t find them and I ended up locating them myself – as if I didn’t have enough to deal with –what with running a marathon and everything!
Anyway off to Blackpool – met up with the others – Michelle, Sue, Ray, Dan and the half marathoners – Matt, Gary and Michaela – and killed a bit of time queuing for the loos as usual.
Perfect temperature of 9 degrees to start with and I was trying to keep coach Chan’s advice in mind – don’t set off too fast, just let the race take you – so I did and really enjoyed the first 5 miles. It was at that point, when my weak left ankle started to niggle, that I realised I’d forgotten to take the Ibuprofen. Between then & 7 miles, where I knew Garry would be standing, I focussed on working out how I could yell to him in the shortest possible sentence that I needed the tablets and they were in the bag! Anyway Garry came up trumps and told me to keep on running whilst he got them and then he tried to catch up with me – well I was running that fast at this point that it was a real struggle for him I can tell you. (only joking!)
Once I’d taken the tablets my mind felt a bit more rested (not my body though unfortunately) and I started to enjoy the race again. The next 12 miles passed without incident really until I hit the wall. Miles 19 to 23 were really tough – I felt terrible and it was all I could do to slog it out, it was at this point that I started hyperventilating. I managed to get my breathing under control with some positive thinking – perhaps??
Miles 23 to 26 were just a case of getting the job done – the sooner the better. Unfortunately my speed had dropped but I still thought I could get under 3:45. As I headed up the (steep) slope that is the last 200mts, it was great to hear the A&T bunch cheering me on. I couldn’t look at them – it took far too much energy for that. Eventually I crossed the finish line in 3:44:43 and couldn’t run a step further!
At the risk of sounding like an Oscar winner I’d like to say thanks to so many people.....Garry and Cerys, of course, who supported me fantastically all through my training and my moaning and so well on the day. The marathon training group who have been absolutely fantastic to run with – Matt the organiser, Sue, Ray, Jon, Dan, Michaela, Mark, Maria, Sean and numerous others. The ½ marathoners who cheered me in Blackpool after they had finished plus Jane and Lynn, Mike and Leanne Reason and also Steve Foster and Brennan for their support on the bike. Thanks also to Peter Chan for a brilliant marathon schedule and lots of ongoing support and for all the A&T members who passed on some great advice and their best wishes.
Well done to Dan, Sue, Ray and Michelle for completing the marathon and to Gary, Matt, Mark B, Steve C and Michaela for completing the half.