|My first, but definitely not last, marathon of the year|
|This contraption (paper) on my trainers is actually a timing chip!|
The beginning of the route wasn't particularly exciting, as some may know Milton Keynes is full of roundabouts and the first 10 miles was spent on dual carriageways and slogs uphill to the next roundabout and then doubling back. This meant that I could see other competitors on the other side of the road and I kept an eye out in case I recognised anyone as know some Twitter followers were doing this event. With my Hollie4Kona running top on I would be easy enough to spot. Even within the first few miles I felt uncomfortable, not with my pace but with my stomach. I felt bloated and sick yet needed energy. On top of that the weather was scorching and although this was what I wanted in a way as training for Lanzarote there was no wind and the UK heat always seems so suffocating. The boringness of the course and me being so uncomfortable made me dread the thought of this being a 2 lap course, thankfully it wasn't and at mile 10 the marathon route turned off while the half marathon runners made their way to the finish. Never before had I been so tempted to continue straight on and 'pretend' I had accidentally missed the turning but no matter how bad I felt I was seeing this through (for a little longer anyway) - I am no quitter and I would only be cheating myself. It was at this point I bumped into a fellow runner who actually wanted to talk to me! (I had grown tired of my earphones by this point, the conflicting beats were affecting my pace). I ended up staying with this particular runner, Mike and his partner, Amanda, for the next 11 miles. I was still keeping my pace but was struggling even more by this point. At the 9 mile point I was thirsty and needed energy. Although my stomach turned its head up at the thought of such a thing I attempted a gel and spat it out and then walked through the aid station to glug back a whole bottle of water and Gatorade - in hindsight this made it worse. So by mile 11 I was suffering and although my pace was still on track I was feeling rough.
|Me around mile 17 with Mike & Amanda (in red)|
Although I came alone and had no spectators per se my coach Mark was there supporting the runners and his clients, such as me. I had seen him twice before, once at mile 7 which was very much needed for my morale and was great as I got a big cheer from Mark's wife Clare. It was great to see a friendly face and it really spurred me on especially as I was struggling. I also saw him again around mile 17 when I was in the middle of my despairing period and again it was great to see him. The course from around 16 to the finish was that lovely word 'undulating' and this was down underpasses and back up, this really took a toll on my energy, morale and legs. However during my 'good' phase (mile 21-finish) I saw Mark again around mile 23. He ran with me and told me that BBC Three Counties were around the corner and wondered if I wanted to do an interview with them. I said I would but I wasn't stopping so that's what happened. I spoke about my story and about Rosie. With this extra bit of excitement I really picked it up and pushed hard to the finish.
|Running and talking live to BBC Three Counties radio|
|"I'll talk but I'm not stopping!"|
|At the finish|
When I got back I spoke to Mark about how I was feeling and where to go from now into Ironman Lanzarote. He also mentioned that every time he saw me during the marathon I had a good run technique, I would never have thought I would hear this considering my background in running. Shows how far I have come and what I have learnt from Mark. Apparently I kept good form through to the finish. After that chat he sent me a message saying "Just done a really fast 10km, thanks for the inspiration". I can't even begin to imagine what his normal pace is let alone his fast but I was truly honoured to think I could have inspired someone like Mark who has achieved so much in the endurance world.
Even if I will always describe that event as horrible I will always remember the eventual result and day as a positive one.
|Me and my well earned medal|