I am officially a sub-4 marathon runner!
I can’t actually believe I’m writing that and I know it’s a good few days since I completed the second Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon but I feel as though it is just beginning to sink in. As I begin to lose some of the tenderness in my aching muscles and return to training tonight, what I achieved has finally hit me.
Actually, I think it hit me as I drove home from work yesterday and pressed play on my I-pod. Conor Maynard’s R U Crazy came blasting through my speakers and I began to cry. I realise how ridiculous this sounds, and how equally ridiculous it is for me to enjoy that song (it does have a good beat though), but during those 26.2 miles that song became somewhat of an anthem for me.
So I drove home teary eyed and got straight back into bed with my medal on to sleep it off. 12 hours later and I can safely say that I’ve passed the emotional stage and I’m ready for my next challenge!
But before that here’s a bit about the day.
I had three goals for the race:
1) The dream goal: to run the marathon in under four hours. (Incredibly ambitious and I started to think it was going to remain a dream for this race after a couple of weeks of difficult training due to a calf injury.)
2) The realistic goal: to run the marathon in about 4.30 (this was the most likely option given the calf setback.)
3) The ‘it has to happen’ goal: to finish in one piece (failing to finishing wasn’t an option.)
On the morning of the race I had my best friend Liana by my side and after a breakfast of toast and Meridian Foods smooth peanut butter and porridge with yet more peanut butter we headed to the event village along with my friend Dane. After I was taped up with my new pink Kinesio Tape and put on my CEP progressive compression socks (more about those babies later!) I was good to go.
The atmosphere was amazing and despite a foggy start the race got off on time and I was thrilled to see that the people of York were still out in force. After the first couple of miles I realised I had gone out a good 30-40 seconds quicker than my 9 minute 9 second mile pace to come in at four hours but I was still feeling good so I decided to just go with it.
After the first 10K I developed a strategy of drinking water at every station and having one of my strawberry flavoured Shot Bloks every 30 minutes.
The crowds at Stamford Bridge, which was just over the halfway mark, were incredible and I actually ran one of my fastest miles through there thanks to the support. Liana and Dane were also there which gave me a huge boost.
However when I reached mile 16 I felt like my legs were moving through treacle, something I didn’t expect at all as I was used to running up to 20 miles in my training. It wasn’t until mile 19 that I got back in to my stride and started to feel good again.
By this time I realised I was on track to run the marathon in less than four hours but for some reason didn’t let myself believe it just in case I jinxed it. Luckily, my legs powered me through – I’d like to thank Crossfit for that and those amazing CEP compression socks – my calf didn’t hurt once!
At about mile 25 and a half I was in for a real treat. My friend Jim, who I had run the Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour with, had recorded our anthem from the race, an R Kelly song, on the megaphone he was carrying.
As I raced to complete my first ever marathon all I heard was “my minds telling me noooo...” Check out the video on my Instagram.
That final hill before the downward sprint to the finish was cruel but made that last leg of the race so much more rewarding.
I managed a sprint finish as I spotted Liana and Dane at the finish line and was amazed to see that I had come in at 3.53! I was beyond ecstatic and still felt as though I had fuel left in the tank.
The organisation of the race was spot on, as was the goody bag (those two Rocky bars went down a treat!) and the medal was also great. I was particularly impressed with the engraving service which took 30 seconds to have your medal personalised – such a nice touch.
All in all, one of the best days of 2014 and I’ve already signed up to next year’s pre-sale!