We were doing some clearing out. I came across a notebook from my PhD days. Inside, I’d written about the time I ran the London Marathon. I’d forgotten I’d written it, and hadn’t read it for 13 years, so it was brilliant to read all about it. I’m copying it here word for word, so I don’t lose it again. And because it’s been a great trip down memory lane.
This is actually the second half of what I’d written, because it’s the bit that describes the actual marathon. I’ll copy up the other bit later.
MILES 1-6: Great!! We are jogging along chatting and smiling. Jack would be amazed at our ‘pace judgement’ as each mile is EXACTLY the same.
MILES 6-8: Scottish guy jogs off cos he feels good. I feel a little strange, and get a bit worried. It had got to the stage in my training where I could knock off a Half Marathon without feeling bad, but here I was feeling below par at 8 miles. What would I feel like at 20 miles? Didn’t dare mention it to Dave.
MILE 8: I tell Dave I feel a bit dodgy. “Don’t be so negative” he says, so I shut up and carry on!
MILE 8-14: I mention needing the toilet, see the queues, and jog on….. I cross Tower Bridge, and tears well up in my eyes. I’M DOING THE LONDON MARATHON!
MILE 14: I definitely feel funny. I go all hot and cold and trembly. I see a pub across the road, and dart into it.
I emerge 10 minutes later, about 3 stone lighter and feeling dreadful.
“Do you want to carry on?” says Dave
“I’ll jog on for a bit and see….”
MILE 15: I feel yukky. We stop. I decide that everyone gets diarrhoea when they run. I keep going.
MILE 16: I start crying. Dave says it’d be just as brave to stop. I say there’s too many people who know I’m doing it. I can’t drop out. I agree to stop if I get another attack of diarrhoea.
MILE 16-20: I shuffle along staring at the floor, and PRAYING for another attack of diarrhoea!
Dave tries to cheer me up. All he receives are grunts in reply, and I don’t look up once.
The sub-4.30 pacers pass me, and I almost cry again.
MILE 20: My spirits lift a little. I think I’ll get there. Then, the sub-5.00 pacers pass me, and I begin to wail. Dave tells me not to be silly, and we press on.
MILE 20-26: …pass very slowly. Dave has given up trying to cheer me up as all I can do is grunt and stare at the floor. I am miserable, and I’ve been running for too long. I know the crowds are great, but I don’t see them as I shuffle on.
As we run along the Embankment, the crowds are amazing. They cheer and they clap and they fill the streets. I continue to grunt and look down….
“Niki! PLEASE try and smile! You’re doing the London Marathon! You’re going to finish! Enjoy it!”
Poor Dave. All he gets for this inspiring speech is a scowl, a grunt, and a shaking head.
THE FINISH LINE: We make it! Dave sprints ahead and watches me cross the line. Apparently, the change that comes over my face is a sight to see. I punch the air and smile. Dave gives me a hug, and I burst into tears.
I have done my first marathon. I hated (nearly) every minute of it, but I got to the end.
It took me 4.53 in the end, and if anyone had told me it would take that long before I ran it, I would have been gutted.
As it is, knowing how I felt at 16 miles, and knowing that I carried on and finished, I am very proud.