I guess in truth this story started over a year ago; when I first started training for the London Marathon. Back then I was doing everything right in terms of training and I never expected that I wouldn't make it, then wallop! From nowhere (well maybe from somewhere...) I was out with injury - 'over training' they call it! Hello, there a marathon fast approaching?! So the 2010 dream was shattered, but I did go on to run 10 half marathons instead and became to love that distance.
My VLM spot was deferred to 2011 and my training well it should have just continued from 2010, but injury in my eleventh half marathon (should have stuck to 10, I know) took longer than expected to bounce back from and stresses in life meant running took a back burner. I wasn't planning to run this year and wondered how I would tell my chatity that. I didn't do any fundraising beforehand as I hadn't put in the training I thought I needed to complete. Furthermore I was actually really worried about doing all of the training as it had lead to injury before and, well I've just had enough of injury! I did go to the VLM Expo though and I got the buzz... Some strange bloke managed to convince me that if I've run 10 half marathons in the last year the marathon would be no problem... Ahem....
Anyway, onto the day itself, the atmosphere was great, everyone was really friendly, such a sense of camaraderie; we were all in it together, run, walk or crawl we were all determined to get to the finish for whatever personal reasons we had. My plan, if you can say I had one, was to run/walk as much as I could and walk all the up hill sections, so not to put too much pressure on my poor untrained muscles! The first half went really well; I ran more than I walk (habit), but I did run really slowly and walked whenever I saw a hill. The first half felt amazingly long! The fact that I was counting to 26 and not 13 was seriously scary and I questioned my sanity many times. Getting to the halfway point was bliss and I smiled! Just need to do it all over again now... *sigh*
After 16 miles my ankle wasn't really having any more of it. Running became painful and I walked a lot more. Then I cut the running to just when I hit a mile marker to see how it felt, not good, not good at all. Remembering the ligament injury I had a year ago, I figured walking and smiling (and giving the 'royal wave'), was my best bet! I met up with another runner, Amanda, (Love you Amanda! Mwah!) who was walking at my pace and we kept each other company and chatted for the remaining miles. It amazing what you can learn about a person in 10.2 miles! This last ten miles was the best part, we laughed and joked, waved at our adoring fans, danced to the bands and DJs that played on the sidelines and kept each other going.
I told my best friend when I was at the start line that I was running - she wasn't impressed she wanted to come, I told my over friends that evening and my sister was again annoyed I hadn't shared the big day out! To be honest I wasn't sure up until the point I had my medal in my hand that I would make it, and I figured the less people knew the less I'd disappoint. Luckily there was no disappointment, just and wonderfully happy, wonderfully proud and wonderfully sore me! I will be buying the ridiculously expensive official photographs and framing them alongside my medal and I will be entering the ballot for next year; it's the day after and the pain has faded slightly and like a mother with 20 kids, it's the end result that counts and not the pain you go through to achieve it...
Best moments of the day:
- Man with a sign "You've been running through my mind all day..."
- Crowd singing "Sweets for my sweet, Sugar for my honey" to me, yes me!
- Talking to the two rhino's, the horse and the guy with the washing machine on his back...
- Dancing to the bands as we walked around
- Getting my finishers MEDAL!!!
What an amazing day, roll on next year! Pain is temporary the memories, and the medal, will last forever!