A week has now passed since I completed Berlin marathon. I knew before getting to the start line it was going to be worlds apart from my horrific experience at New York marathon last year. It had to be. I kept telling myself “Nothing can be as bad a New York.” I’ve learned a great deal about myself and my approach to running over the last 10 months. I know if I go into a race with a positive attitude and no expectations, I am always surprised. I’ve learned that strength training is my friend. I’ve learned that even if things don’t go to plan, my body is amazing and it will get me through.
On top of all my attitude changes and physical training, I could wear my hydration pack – whoo hoo. I had tested, double test and triple tested my nutrition and mental strategies. I had a shed load of pain killers in easy reach and had read the race guide 1,000 times. I knew on that start line I was the fittest I’ve ever been and strongest mentally too. OK, I knew my right bum cheek and thigh were playing up and the chances are my left calf would join in for support, but that was OK. My training runs had shown me the pain resided after a few hours and there was no lasting damage.
Well done Berlin. Everything was well organised and spacious. There were plenty of toilets and places to fill up water bottles in the pens. The atmosphere at the start was amazing. People were singing and dancing. We were able to watch the elite athletes on the big screens. You felt like part of something amazing. On top of that, you didn’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock to be shipped out to the start. Everything was going well.
The start was surprisingly OK. By OK I mean, we were able to run straight away and get in to a rhythm. The wide roads and pathways allowed for 35,000 runners to run along happily side by side. By the 5k point, my butt, thigh and calf were not happy. So I decided there and then, I would strategise the taking of pain killers too. I really don’t recommend this or condone it, but my goodness it worked for me. I began my taking the fast acting ibuprofen. When things were not much better at the 10k point, I took paracetamol and at the 20k and 30k points too!
Marathon running is a mind game. Of which, mine completely went before the gun even went off. I couldn’t work out the alphabet or do simple subtraction, but I still had my resolve. I knew 30k was around 18 miles and I knew I had run 18 miles without stopping in my training runs. No matter how much I was hurting, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to walk before 30k. When I got there, I convinced myself to carry on for the next 5k so my lovely trackers at home wouldn’t get worried that I had slowed down. I knew Keith and Little J would be at 36k point and they couldn’t possibly see me walking. Then it was only 6k to the end. If I could get to 37k, then it was only a Parkrun left and “Parkruns are nothing”.
Once I had hit 40k, I knew I could run it all. The crowds up to this point had been quite sparse in places. (I don’t blame people at all for not standing in the rain.) Now they were starting to thicken. At this point in the marathon I just wanted to die, and there were thousands of people watching. So I decided to speed up and give it everything I could. My last kilometre (in fact probably the last mile) was the quickest one of all. I somehow managed to lift my arms at the end too.
I achieved over a 26 minute PB – 26 minutes! I am so bloody proud I didn’t walk. Proud I beat the mind games of New York. Proud to be a marathoner!
I said to Keith straight after the marathon. “Whatever the outcome of the Tokyo and London marathon ballots, I don’t want to run another marathon.” I honestly meant it. I didn’t enjoy the long training runs. I didn’t enjoy stopping drinking, feeling constantly tired, the ridiculous early nights. But when I opened my email on Monday morning to an acceptance email to Tokyo marathon, I questioned my decision. It is bad timing for my family. I have nothing to prove and the only reason I would run it is to achieve the 6 stars.
I didn’t really think of these things when I entered the ballot (and yes I do feel awful).
In reality, for an average girl like me, is all the stress worth it? Yes I want to travel the world, but I also want to enjoy it. Running a marathon abroad is harder than it sounds. You don’t really get to enjoy the city you are in and to top it off, it’s much more expensive!
Then there is London… oh my home major marathon. Oh how it looks like you’ve rejected me again. I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure my rejects top will be waiting for me when I return from work today. I saw the hack of logging in to RealBuzz Website and seeing if I have a bib number on Run Mummy Run this morning and low and behold, there is not bib number. Why do I want to do this? I’m really questioning my motives right now. Will I enjoy finishing? Hell yes. But is that honestly worth the sacrifices I would be making and forcing on my family to get there?
I’m not saying I will never run another marathon. I’m just saying for me, right now, I have other things I want to accomplish, like starting my 261 Fearless Running group. I will post more on this soon.
For the time being, I thought you might like to see my finishing story in photo form – haa haa!
Thank you to everyone who dug deep in to their pockets and helped me to raise £500 for Blue Skye Thinking too – you are all amazing xxxx