Cyclopark, Gravesend, Kent
Number 13 - unlucky for some.
I woke up on Sunday 18th September feeling remarkable relaxed before marathon number 13, this was a nice change from the usual feeling of dread and nausea that I normally get prior to an event. Thankfully the marathon was being held locally and within 20 mins I was at race HQ collecting my number.Round and around we go.
One of my main fears about the route around the cyclo park was the amount of laps needed to complete marathon distance, 21 in total! Yes reader, that's correct, 21 mind numbing, energy zapping laps around a tarmac bike path. To count the laps I was issued 21 elastic bands, every time you passed the start line you chucked one in a bin. I divided them up, 10 on one wrist and 11 on the other.
|Pre race face!|
I settled into my starting position at the back with some fellow SVN runners and tried to psych myself up “ You can do this, you've got this” was my silent, but worthy mantra.
At 9am we all set off, I tentatively trotted around my first lap, it was quite a nice circuit although a little chilly and I was blasting out fairly quick miles. I felt strong, but remembering previous DNF races I realised I was running too fast, I slowed my pace back to a 10 min mile whilst trying not to think about pace, weather, time, injuries and pb’s.
|The laps whizzed by.|
Time passed as the laps whizzed by and my little group of supporters had arrived and started their job of cheering me on. I hit the halfway mark after a few laps with a runner called Phil, it was good to chat away and forget about the distance for a while and although the miles were clocking up it felt like the elastic bands were never ending.
I spaced out my hydration and food intake to every other lap and found a new favourite snack! Ready salted Hula Hoops, just the right amount of carb and salt and if eaten with a Honey stinger chew it was even better!
|Thankfully on the last few laps.|
It suddenly dawned on me that I only had 3 laps to go and I wasn’t too far off my London pb, I couldn't believe how strong I felt. I decided to go for it, I stuck my music on and upped my pace. My legs were pumping, like the music and with the final lap in sight I kicked again, within minutes the finish line was insight. As I crossed the line, the sheer delight was clear to see on my face, I had done it. Marathon number 13 was complete, not a pb but the closest I had got to it all year, I was elated.
|Feeling great with my awesome medal.|
With awesome medal placed around my neck, I collected beer and goodies from the HQ team and then had my photo taken. It was a great feeling to be back on top of my running and I ran over to my support crew for more photo’s, cuddles and congratulations. Little Abby had made me a bespoke medal which she placed around my neck and we hugged and giggled for a few precious moments.
I was definitely on a marathon high, even though I’m sure I had lost a few more toe nails on the way round! I felt alive and hungry. Once home,I had my soak in the bath and Caz ordered my favourite marathon reward PIZZA. I polished off, nachos, most of my pizza, half a bottle of coke and several cakes and then I fell into a dream like slumber. I woke at 4am, which is normal after a marathon and I decided to eat the rest of my pizza and watch a movie. After another 4 hours sleep I awoke feeling refreshed, no aches in my legs and my back felt good too.
Unfortunately my attempt at marathon number 14 did not go so smoothly. The weather was miserable, the laps were really hilly and the mud was deep! I pulled my groin within the first 2 miles but decided to soldier on, however by 8 miles I’d had enough! It's a really horrible decision to make when you want to quit, but my knee hurt, as did my ankle and groin and I didn’t want to increase my injury tally when I knew I couldn’t make the whole 26.2 miles. I still was awarded with a fab medal and goody bag, but in my eyes I didn’t earn it that day.
So with another DNF under my belt, we drove home, with no marathon high just disappointment and here I am stuck at marathon number 13 #unluckyforsome.
Next marathon 18th NovSVN Battle of the Somme - I will not quit!