My alarm was set for 6 but I had been awake really since 3.40am. I forced myself to stay in bed and conserve that vital energy. I got up and tried to eat a bowl full of porridge but it was like eating a bowl of dry sand. I knew I had to eat so I forced it down. I was ready and began the 30 min walk to Preston Park. There were lots of people around already and I followed the steady stream of runners. Everyone seemed in high spirits.
The next challenge was to find the fellow twitters, we had arranged to meet to the entrance of the charity village but unknown to me there was actually 2 entrances. I was glad I had Lisa’s number because finally we found each other. Soon as we met I was gone in the toilet queue for 45 mins!!!!! Simon eventually found us and we posed for a few photographs.
The time had come, we wished Simon good luck and we got into the starting queue. The start was delayed and everyone was gagging to get started, the sun was bearing down and it started to feel quite hot. The starting time came finally, 20 min delay but we were off, it took us about 10 mins to get to the starting line but the time had come…….WE WERE OFF!!!!
The first couple of miles we ran quite fast, I felt like I was running really slow especially around all these other runners. It’s very difficult to try and slow your pace down when you feel like you are running slowly already. We hovered between 9 and 10 min miles and in the end we thought sod it we won’t keep this up and decided to let our pace slow down naturally.
After 4 miles I felt like I had warmed up and felt really strong, the taper had worked, I felt good and powerful. I wasn’t sure what mileage we were at when Lisa told me she had to walk between 8 or 10, I started walking with her but she urged me to continue. I didn’t know what to do, this wasn’t going to plan and I had seen us finishing together. In a cloud of guilt and despair I kept running. The course became quite bleak and hot and hilly. I tried to focus and just kept going. I ran up a very cheeky steep little hill and when I got to the top everyone was shouting my name, this was great I shouted back oggie oggie oggieeeeee and the crowd screamed back. This just spurned me on and off I went. I did see Lisa on two seperate occasions after that and we had shared a high five, so I was happier knowing she was ok.
I had been wanting the toilet for quite a few miles but the queues at the toilets were so long I just kept going but it was always there this thought can I keep running without wanting to go. At last I saw a cubicle no queue………..just had to wait for person to come out. I still lost 10 mins during this quick break but I could enjoy running again.
I ran through the halfway mark, I did check my time but I can’t remember what it said but I do remember thinking I am well on target and I am running a whole min faster than my training time.
Then it hit me, I am not sure what but I wanted to cry, I had a lump in my throat as big as a football and my eyes were stinging. I had hoped that I would have seen my husband by now and I hadn’t. It’s very hard trying to run and cry at the same time so I gained composure. I knew that James would be at mile 17, so I started scanning the crowd. There he was, banner held up nice and high. I shouted big cheers all around. I have to say at this point that you don’t realise how wonderful it is to see a friendly face encouraging you in the crowd. Its nice that people shout your name but when its someone you know it makes all the difference. This really spurred me on (when I checked stats my min mileage soared up to 8 min mile). I saw quite a few fellow fetchies during the race and it was nice to have a quick chat and there was quite a few fetchie supporters along the way armed with jelly babies. I had managed to tweet a few times during the race, it helped to distract me when it got tough, it was a good feeling knowing that there was people who were right behind you. ( Thank you guys )
Miles 18 to 22 were really hard, it was a long road with little crowd support, it was very very hot and the water they gave out was warm. I checked my time at 21 miles, 20 mins faster than in training. Its here I wanted to cry again and in fact I think I came quite close to breaking down. As if by magic by husband phoned me and gave me those words of encouragement I needed (crying just writing this now). The bleak soul destroying road ended and I was back on the sea front. The crowds were fantastic. There were soooooo many people walking and it was hard to wade your way through. During the whole run when people had shouting my name I had acknowledged them with a smile or a wave but I was really starting to flag but they kept shouting and screaming not long now. I have to say those last 3 miles I was carried along on the sound waves of all the encouragement.
There it was the finish, standing there so proud on the horizion, I could almost taste it. Oh my god I am really going to do this....... there it is, thats the bloody finish line, IM NEARLY THERE and with a sudden spurt I raced to the finish raising my arms in the air and did a marvelous impression of a screaming banshee and thumbs up to those photographers. I passed the finish line with such a lump in my throat I could hardley breathe, my chest was so tight. For a small moment I felt very alone, I had trained alone, finished the race alone and for a short while I was really sad that I had no one there at that very moment.........where was my hubsand? I wanted to collapse into a whimpering blubbering mess but they kept me moving. I was trying frantically to phone my hubsand but I had no phone reception. I kept walking in a complete daze, people giving me water, bananas and goodie bags. I didnt think that I was going to hold it together for much longer and then I saw him waving frantically, I collapsed into his arms letting out that emotional monster that had been biting at the bit for the last 2 hours. God it was so good to see him after scanning the crowds for the last 26 miles.
I struggled to the beach, my legs felt numb and theres just one thing that I wanted to do, jump into that freezing cold sea. I stumbled into the sea, the stones cutting into my tender feet and boy was that cold. I raised my hands in the sea and shouted in a very loud voice much to the amazment of the onlookers " I DID IT, I DID IT AND IM HARDCORE WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
My time was 4 hours, 41 mins and 36 seconds. I was well pleased with that.
A big thank you to John, all my family and my internet "family" for believing in me, supporting me, encouraging me. I did it for you and I wouldnt have been able to do it wihout you.
Then there is that question, will you do it again .....hell yer!!! Watch this space.....................