Sunday, 9 May 2010


Hi all this is a break down of my marathon experience, hope you enjoy.

(This is before the start, before the madness began,I had no idea what was in store for me!)

Yes I know it's well over a week, but it’s probably taken me that long to get my head around all that had happened.

Okay where do I start all was well, slept well the night before ate well the days leading up the marathon felt confident, had no idea that I would have an epic battle on my hands! The journey there was fine, Rob my boyfriend was with me, game plan all worked out, so I would know when to expect him along the course, he had it all planned out to precision.  Jumped on a tube then a train, which was packed, but managed to get a seat. 

Had to use the toilet, didn't to use the porto loo's at Greenwhich Park, so when I got off the train, tried a hotel, then a hotel restaurant, but they  weren't having it, I don't like begging for anything but I was desperate still no joy. Finally found a pub and a clean toilet. 

Started to get ready, put on my tutu, head band, sweat bands cap and it started pissing down the skies just opened and it was raining like mad, not a great start, I was grateful for the black bin bag I had stashed away which was now doing a great job of keeping me dry and warm.

(Rob, m is 6 foot 2, his long arms are always able to get a picture  no matter where he is, he's behind a a large fence, here, supporting all the way.)

I had my plan a Lucozade gel every 30-45 minutes, sports beans, lucozade drink and water, sipping often, I had almost everything I needed stuffed into my marathon belt, and Rob was carrying extras just in case, there would also be two extra tables of Gels, later on in the run I believe mile 17 and 24 something like that anyway. Well things certainly did not go to plan. I had planed to keep around an 11:30-12 pace so I could get in just in or hopefully under the 5-hour mark.

(Loving the smile, if only I knew!)

(Bit of an anxious look on my face, don't think I was nervous just ready to start, so many people, so many hopes and dreams, just needed to just get running.)

Here is how my splits went.

Mile 1  11:34                                                Mile 14 12:27
Mile 2  11:2 7                                               Mile 15 14:02
Mile 3  11:51                                                Mile 16 13:22                       
Mile 4 11:18                                                Mile 17 13:01
Mile 5 13:12                                                Mile 18 15:07           
Mile 6 10:40                                               Mile 19  15:0
Mile 7 11:12                                                 Mile 20 11:51
Mile 8 11:09                                                Mile 21 14:10                                   
Mile 9 11:29                                                Mile 22 14:10           
Mile 10 14:34                                              Mile 23 13:44                       
Mile 11 11:53                                                Mile 24 13:47
Mile 12 12:56                                               Mile 25  14:47
Mile 13 11:38                                               Mile 26 17:48
Final time 5 hours 54 minutes 24 seconds or should I say a day at work, a day out shopping with friends, a day spent visiting family, a day off at work, that is how long it took me. You can see my pacing was up and down even in the beginning when I felt fine, really need to work on my pacing. The last mile was a disaster I've never been that slow even on my worst training run, that was part, run, walk, crawl, cry and curse.

 (Here I am checking that my tutu is okay, please someone let me out, what have I let myself in for?)

What went wrong, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition and focus, focus, focus, I started well enough, I’d had shredded wheat for brekkie, peanut butter sandwich when I got to Greenwich, I felt fine, took my first gel 45 minutes in, then another 45 minutes later, but they time I took a third gel 45 minutes after that I felt quite nauseas.

I was managing to keep a decent pace, nothing to write home about but managing, took some sports beans, drank water and the lucozade drink, by mile 15 I couldn’t bare anything else and made the mad decision not to take any more gels, crazy I know who the hell makes a choice like that? well I did, who the hell runs a marathon I did, so that shows my life choices are not always the best. 

I think I lost focus and forgot what I needed to do, I should’ve shoved those gels down my throat even if I puked them up, I just felt sick I wasn’t sick. Last year I ate my way around, munched and muched like a bloody cow chewing the cud, jelly babies, orange slices, whatever anyone threw at me I ate, this year nope hardly anything passed my lips.

(Mile 9)

What can I say I paid the price for such a mad stupid and amateur mistake, I ran out of energy to be honest. By mile 15 I knew I was in trouble, and it all went down hill from there, I can’t lie there were some points not many but some where I had to walk, I just did not have the energy to life one foot in front of an other. I cried a couple of times, thank goodness for sunglasses, disappointed at my performance, not understanding at that time, why everything was going so wrong. Having Rob pop up on the course was great there was one point I just put my head on his shoulder and asked for a hug.
(Princess Beatrice Fergies daughter is in there somewhere with the other green caterpillars who are all tied together, and there is the main sponser Virgins Richard Branson as a butterfly ahhhhh!)

There was this tunnel maybe a few miles from the finish where everyone was walking and I felt as if I was in a disaster movie, the tunnel was dark with strip lights on the top running through the middle, there was runners bent over stretching muscles, and holding onto cramping thighs, bottles strewn everywhere, empty gel packets, dropped marathon belts, and everyone was walking I refused to walk, even though I was running so slowly a one year old could of out paced me I pushed myself.

(Yes I got passed, by a pepper and a womble, the shame, the shame, the shame)

The worst mile was mile 25 I remember stopping dead at one point that’s it my body refused to carry on had had enough after running over 5 ras clart hours, a guy shouted out “Don’t stop now, you’ve only got a mile,” I said “A mile has never seemed so long, but I carried on running and was giving a big cheer by the spectators.
           (Here I am still mile 9, still feeling okay at this point, not having any problems).

To be honest the spectators kept me going, they kept me moving even when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and have a big hissy fit, my costume went down extremely well, and my name was shouted over and over again. There were moments of elation as well as despair moments went all I could do was grin like a fool at all the colorful sights, wombles running past, bananas, super heroes, Minnie mouse and many other crazy sights.

  (Mile 14 I know that I'm in trouble, but still trying to push through, there is still a hell of a long way to go.)

Along the way I bumped into two people one girl Angie who I used to dance with back in the day, she screamed my name so loud I had to look as I knew it had to be someone who knew me she hugged the life out of me and sent me on my way. 

(Mile 18, still smiling but hurting, it's a mad combination of exhaustion, pride, determination and disappointment that things are not going my way).

A guy who I did not know but who was a friend of a friend and reads my blog, introduced himself  before he continued past, this was very early on when I was feeling pretty decent. I had moments where the sun shone and I felt invincible, (early on) when all the kids I passed got a high 5, moments when I thought yes I will get under 5 hours this time.

(Mile 24, Waterloo bridge,thanks for taking such great pictures Rob, this section was packed full of people, urging us runners on, just when we needed it, than you from the bottom of my heart, even though I don't know you I love you!!!!)

This was a true test of my character a true test of weather I really wanted to do this or not, just though about all the hours I put into training, how much I had given, how at one point it fid not even look as if I would make it due to my Achilles injury, the week after week I would visit the physic and spend big money so I could get on the starting line, I thought about how much running means to be how strong and how healthy I was, one bad day could not and would not wipe out all I had achieved.

 I’d do better next time, thoughts are the thoughts that helped me to keep going in that last mile, with a few stops, tears and cusses I kept going it must’ve of been the slowest mile I’ve ever done in my life but I done it. I had never been so glad to see a finish line in my life I thought it would never come.

(Mile 24 almost 25, just a quick stop to say hello, got about a mile and a quarter to go, but I'm dying, but elated it is almost over, at this point felt as if I was running back wards).

Heres to next year, learning from my mistakes, and once again battling to get to that finish line hopefully in a better condition! Thanks to everyone who supported me, loved me encouraged me and believed in me, without you this madness would not have been possible.

Special shout out to London craziest city in the world, where people do not talk on the tube or the bus, and where you can get mugged, stabbed and worse and people would be too scared to help, well London you done yourself proud so to all the Rude boy’s and girls who came out and cheered and shouted out runners names and encouraged.  

It's all done, God bless, goodie bag in hand, medal around my next, ready to put my feet up and relax.

Look at my bling, no one ain't ganna take this from me,I worked to hard, admire the gold, admire the gold.

To all the little kids holding out there hands for a high five, or handing out much needed sweets, to the priests splashing passing runners with holy water, to the people who told me to carry on even when I thought I couldn’t, to everyone who set up music systems, and tables of goodies,and willed all the runners to finish.

So glad I wore the tutu it got me so much positive attention and well wishing which was much needed and much appreciated, can't imagine running a marathon without a costume.

To the Deptford Green school kids who were manning a table and recognised me (I taught there a few months back for a day) and tripped out at seeing someone they knew thank you thank you from the bottom of my very tired feet, I would not of made it without you, London I love you.

Nothing like a supermalt to quench your thirst after a bit of physical exertion.

That’s why you run the London marathon not for the medal, don’t get me wrong I love that piece of bling, it’s for the crowds the support the love, seeing the best of people rather than seeing the worst, that’s why London is the best marathon in the world and everyone if you can should run it at least once in their life.

Special shout out to the other half Rob, who has ben my back bone during all this marathon training, big up to you for completing your first half marathon earlier this year, keeping me company on many of my runs, and then jumping on the bike for the real long ones, once again your support was invaluable, I know I must drive ya mad, with all my crazy talk about running, but hey we all have our addictions at least this is a healthy addiction.I am sure that you must know by know this running lark ain't disappearing any time soon! Your support on the day was invaluable .

I love this pic, me and my crazy self with olympic runner Liz Yelling, she was very sweet, don't know if she remembered me from the training back in Feb, but I think I made an impression on her with me costume!

Well it's all over, I'm up in the hotel room, about to have a shower, then a massage and some food, Lord V.I.P treatment is a blessing.

No I am not getting ready to run again, just fooling around glad it's all over, in fact at this point I am feeling pretty elated, and although it didn't all go to plan, I feel proud of myself.

I will leave you with this picture because it sums up my experience, I look elated and I am, the marathon is so much about that swing of emotions, moments of absolute joy and moments of abject pain. I'm on the phone to my good friend Simone who supported me on the course last year, but was unable to do the same this year due to the fact that her son had chicken pocks. 

Obviously I've had two weeks now to put everything into perspective and yes there are lots of lessons to learn, but so what if it all went to pot, so what if I took almost 6 hours to finish, when I was hoping to finish under 5, so what if I had to walk a couple of times, this is my battle my struggle, my journey, my fight to get fit and healthy, no one elses.

I will become a stronger, more efficent and faster runner, I will lose more weight, tone up,tackle hills, learn to fartleck, interval, I will learn to pace better, hydrate and eat better, I will learn my lessons.

One thing that will not change is my determination and self belief and that is what carried me for those 26.2 miles when it all went wrong and I could've so easily given it up, I will become better at running marathons, it might not be next time, or the time after that but one day everything will click, but until then I will keep trying, keep pushing, keep running.

Here's to London  Marathon 2011.


  1. absolutely beautiful!!! the most valuable experiences are the most challenging! well done girl!!!

  2. Hey Clare, thanks for the love sis, and your right the most valuable experiences are the one which are the most challenging, if it was all to easy we would never learn!