Manchester Marathon done & dusted!
Marathon day had finally arrived, all the training I’d done in the past 3 months was finally going to pay off. And if I’m honest I’d never been this nervous in my life, this wasn’t helped with the lack of sleep the night before as I lay in bed going over my plan for race day. From what I was going to wear, to what I was going to eat in the morning, to how I was going to run the race.
I decided to stick with what I normally wore for my long runs & what I normally ate for race day, & why change something that’s not broken right? Everything packed up, my phone, watch, energy gels, race number, bottle of Lucozade Sport, everything I needed to run the race.
Bags checked in, race number on my top & there I stood at the starting line, along side the 3:45 pacer which was the time I was aiming to finish the marathon on. The gun goes off & off we go, & the crowd goes wild cheering us on. Now it was time to focus on my race & on how I was going to run it. I’d thought about this quite a lot, & I’d planned to stick with the 3:45 pacer for most of the race & then push on if I felt I could go faster or if I had enough energy in me.
I started off well in the race, managing to stick with the pacer, taking on water at each water station to keep myself hydrated & also taking on energy gels to give me that boost so I could keep running at the pace I was going at. And the crowd were fantastic, cheering us on giving us that extra push to keep going!
The half way point of the race arrived, & I felt good up to this point. I was running at the pace I wanted to be running at, in order to complete the race in 3:45, maybe a few minutes quicker in fact but to me this was a good sign. At one point I even passed the pacer, & I started running my own race, keeping my eye on my watch to make sure I wasn’t pushing myself too much as I didn’t want to use up all my energy, & feel like I didn’t have anything left in the tank at the later stages of the race.
Mile 18 came, & this was when I started to struggle slightly, the only thing that was keeping me going, was the thought of seeing my crew, Still Waters Run Deep at mile 21 ready to cheer us all on. These 3 miles were a struggle, but I got through it, and there I was at mile 21, & in the distance I could see my crew shouting words of encouragement cheering me on, & that was exactly what I needed to push on & finish the race.
Another mile went by, & I almost hit the wall & as many runners will tell you it’s not a place you want to be when you’re running a race. I was starting to feel weak & the pacer had caught up on me & slowly he was creeping away, & I was feeling like my legs had had enough, & there were a few occasions I felt like I wanted to stop but I kept going & pushed on & I ran through the pain, taking on my last energy gel, taking water on board & with the crowd cheering us on there was no stopping me.
Last mile to go now, & in the distance I could see Old Trafford which was where the finishing line was. I some how got all the energy I had left in me, & upped my pace. Faster & faster I got, & before I knew it, I’d passed the pacer again & I was roughly 500metres away, it was just a turn into Sir Matt Busby Way & it was a home straight. The crowd were unbelievable now, shouting cheering as loud as they could & if I’m honest I got a little emotional from it, almost tearing up taking in the atmosphere but I kept it in & sprinted as fast as I could & I’d crossed the finishing line in 3:41:30.
I’d finished my first ever marathon, & even though I was in quite a lot of pain, my legs were feeling like jelly but I couldn’t stop smiling knowing that I’d achieved something that I would never have thought I would’ve achieved a year ago.
Now onto my next challenge, the Great Manchester Run! Which is a 10KM race that might sound a lot easier then running a Marathon. But training & running it, is a different story. Tune in next week to read how my training changes from a Marathon to a 10KM race!
The Shake It® Team