Well the last couple of days have been crazy!
Not only did I run a sub 3.40 marathon but I also passed my senior journalism exams! I am still on cloud nine and not quite sure it has fully sunk in yet so if I waffle in this post, that’s why!
I won’t bore you with my journalism exams; I’ll just get right down to the marathon. Months ago I decided against running it due to a knee injury. I was gutted but I kept training when I could but at the same time I wasn’t trying to catch up on missed long runs or workouts.
Two weeks out from the race I ran 18 miles in 2.28, an average pace of 8.14 min/mi. I felt great apart from a few aches and it was a huge confidence boost. That speed was a lot faster than my marathon pace but I felt confident that I’d got a solid long run in and decided that injury permitting, I would do the marathon.
Saturday came and Dane and I headed down to Manchester. I’d been a nervous wreck throughout the whole week and had had a really bad tummy which I thought was either food poisoning or a bit of a bug combined with excessive nerves.
I had a great day on Saturday though, I was feeling refreshed having slept for 12 hours on Friday night and got to catch up with some of my closest uni friends. However, my knee hurt ALL the time so to say I wasn’t feeling race ready would be an understatement.
The nerves almost got the better of me as well when I was nearly reduced to tears in Nandos when they told me they’d run out of sweet potato wedges – thank god for their sweet potato mash! #womanontheedge
Anyway, Sunday morning soon came and we drove to the race village along with my friend Jim who was also running.
Dane was a saint and taped up my knee and calves using the ever reliable Rock Tape and I was of course wearing my trusty CEP Compression socks.
My best friend Liana and her dad were there as well as her mum was also running and I met them at the start line just a few minutes before the gun went off.
Garmin on and we were off! I went out a little bit too quickly on the first mile and vowed to slow down to about 8.35/8.30 pace. However I soon realised I felt comfortable averaging at around 8.25 pace so decided to stick to that.
I saw Dane, Liana and her dad at about the 10K mark and was feeling good. My knee started to hurt like hell at mile 15.5 though when I saw those guys again and I have to admit that it was all I could do not to cry.
The pain didn’t subside until mile 19/20 but by that point it was just time to push on.
The course was fast, flat and the crowds were amazing which definitely helped. The last 10k seemed to go on forever even though I was pretty much maintaining the same speed and I let out an audible sigh of relief when I finally saw the finish line and the huge throng of people surrounding it. Everyone was screaming so loudly for every single runner on that course and it was just amazing.
I put in a sprint finish and finished with my arms high above my head to see that my Garmin was telling me I’d come in at 3.38!
3.38!! I couldn’t believe it, it was a time I had never thought possible for this race! I saw Liana and Dane and thought, shit, I’m definitely going to cry. I toddled off to get my goodie bag (and later my medal which I forgot –oops!), found Liana and Dane and promptly burst in to tears.
Jim had come in at an incredible 3.18 and his brother-in-law Nic had also got a PB of 2.58!! Liana’s mum also got a PB so all in all it was an incredible day and some really well deserved times reflected the hard work people had put in.
I stayed for about another hour to cheer in the other runners and it is so emotional watching people cross that finish line, the pain and happiness etched on their face as well as disbelief of what they have just accomplished –I find it so inspiring!
The bit of bling we got is huge as well and the goodie bag is full of healthy treats as well as some naughty Cadbury ones.
Here are my mile splits:
5 – 8.14
Overall it was a great course, perfect for first timers or those who are after a PB and Manchester really does turn out to support the runners! There’s plenty of jelly babies on offer as well! I’ll be back again next year hopefully chasing a sub 3.20 after Berlin later this year!