1.This post is LONG and boring if you are not interested much in running.
2.This post is probably also going to be a bit..all over the place… as 5 days on my memories are fading rapidly.
3. You might want to grab yourself a cuppa.
I woke up extremely nervous, I had been really excited on Friday but today I was nauseous and any mention of the marathon had me close to tears. I decided to man up and meet a few of my run buddies for lunch. Lynne was as high as a kite, Cally was trying to fight off a cold and was worried she might not be fit to run (we made her sit two seats away so she didn’t infect us) and Elaine was ‘just fine’. I explained that I knew in my head I would finish the race, I just didn’t know if it was going to be a great run or a really terrible run and my gut feeling was telling me it would be the latter, which actually scared me. A bad 3 mile run is bearable a bad 26.2 is unimaginable. I had to force down my smoked salmon and cream cheese sourdough as I really had zero appetite but it was delicious.
After brunch I headed to Run4it, they had a therapist from PhysioFocus there applying RockTape for any runners who felt they needed it. I didn’t think it would help with my IT band, which had been sore for a week now but Lynne said to give it a go, ‘even if it works psychologically’. I queued for 40 minutes to see the physio but the time passed pretty quickly as I spoke to two girls in the queue, who were also first time marathoners and hearing other people with the same nerves and niggles sort of helped me. I actually got a bit excited. Mandy was working and gave me a little pep talk and said she’d be cheering from the shop and would look out for me and the rest of the group. Eventually, Sara the physio applied my tape and said they would have a station at mile 10 on the route if I needed anything on the day, the poor girl had been rushed of her feet with runners with last minute niggles.
The tape lasted a whole 3 hours as I had my niece, Harper sitting on my lap, I didn’t realise she was fiddling with it and had stuck me to the sofa, I couldn’t get it to stick back on, so that was that, haha.
After a delicious steak dinner made by my Mum, I tried to put my playlist from iPhone on to my iPod shuffle and failed miserably as my laptop crashed. I had made a big song and dance about a playlist (excuse the pun). I had asked everyone who sponsored me to leave a song request, so I had a good variety and exactly 5 hours worth of music, my goal was to finish before it started repeating itself. I was gutted I didn’t get to use my new pink iPod but I still had the playlist on my phone so all was not lost.
SUNDAY – RACE DAY
I’m not sure I slept at all but my alarm went off at 5.30am and I made Kevin and I breakfast. Force feeding myself porridge was not fun. I decided to leave my peanut butter and banana bagel for the journey but didn’t manage to eat all of it. Kevin scoffed his in less than 30 seconds.
We got ourselves dressed and ready. My running belt was already packed with gels, jelly babies and some toilet roll, before we headed for our bus. We got to the pick up point at 6.50, I was meeting my run buddies there at 7 but we were directed on to a bus that needed to be filled to leave in 5 minutes. I text Mairi to let her know and that I’d get her there.
The weather was perfect, overcast, not too warm, not cold and no wind, but it was estimated that by lunchtime it would either be raining or sunshine (I told you we can’t predict the weather here). Thankfully it went in our favour, a few showers but nothing too bad, not much fun for the spectators though.
We arrived at Blair Drummond Safari Park with just under 2 hours before my start time of 9.20, we chatted to some people, ate a banana and watched Liz McColgan and Zola Budd being interviewed then I headed for the toilet… 50 MINUTES LATER… really there were not enough toilets.. It was time to head to our corral and I was a bit worried I hadn’t seen any of my running buddies.
Eventually I bumped into Catherine, she said she had seen the rest of them earlier, they were just a bit in front so I felt a little better. Catherine was so excited it made my nerves disappear.
We were just behind the 4hr 30 pacer/Duracell bunny and I said to Kevin although my 4.30 goal was probably not acheivable, I’d like to stay with the pacer for as long as I could manage. Kev said his goal was to stay with me for as long as he could manage, he thought he would eventually fall behind due to his lack of training (and was probably still recovering from Vegas). I imagined he would stay with me to conserve energy before leaving me to eat his dust.
I tried to take a picture of the giraffes as we passed but it didn’t work so my music went on and my phone was safely tucked in my back pocket.
I made a conscious effort not to run off too fast but the Duracell bunny seemed to just rocket off, so I gave up on my 4hr 30 very quickly.
My music randomly stopped playing after just one track (Kanye West-Stronger) so annoying but I was feeling great, chatting to Kevin, Catherine and her friend Sarah so I just left it and decided I’d sort it when I had walk in a few miles. Except, I didn’t stop, I just kept on going, I felt amazing.
The first 3 miles were pretty rural but there was the odd little sprinkling of spectators from nearby farms cheering us on before hitting the village of Doune where the crowd were amazing. I was watching out for my boss, Iona who lives there and managed to get a hug with her and her little girl. Catherine and Sarah fired on ahead as we left Doune for another 4 rural, undulating miles before hitting Kevins home town of Dunblane. During these miles I met sharkey- a guy running with a shark hat on his head, shark compression socks and a photo of a shark on his back, I explained to him I had a phobia of sharks he laughed and then disappeared, I’m not sure if he was run/walking but he popped up a lot throughout the route and I joked with him that he was helping me run faster. In fact my work colleague told me after that she saw sharkey and thought ‘she must have missed me, as I’d definately be in front of him’ ha.
The crowd in Dunblane was immense and I honestly felt like I was floating through the High Street, high fives from kids and all of the runners were clapping and thanking the amazing crowd. Kevin’s friend Findlay was in Dunblane with his wife and kids so we got extra cheers and high fives from them before making the climb out of Dunblane towards Bridge of Allan. It was here I found my friend Kevin, he was running for his Mum who sadly passed away a few months ago, I knew this race would be emotional for him and when I saw him ahead of me I choked up and had tears, I went over and gave him the biggest hug, telling him he was doing amazing.
Mile 10, still feeling great and keeping to pace, I bumped into my run buddy Lisa, more hugs. We ran chatting with Lisa, she said the group had been worried when they hadn’t got to speak to me at the start line. We hit Bridge of Allan and the crowds were going wild. Mandy was outside the shop, like she said she would be, with a microphone and full sound system she was screaming our names, Lisa ran into the shop to use the toilet and Kevin and I continued on to the half way mark loop up and around Stirling University. I ran this loop a few weeks prior with the group and remember struggling up the hill, today however, I barely noticed the hill, powering on chatting to Kevin, pointing out runners in costume and laughing at funny signs ‘IF TRUMP CAN RUN SO CAN YOU’ my favourite was one of Dory from Finding Dory that said ‘Just Keep Swimming’ …I’m a sucker for a Disney movie. My sister had made one that had Buddy the Elf and read ‘I just like to run, running is my Favourite’
I saw lots of familiar faces in the Bridge of Allan crowds and it just felt amazing, some of my run buddies family members were on bikes to cheer us on a several spots throughout town which I thought was amazing.
Mile 15, we passed the 4hr 30 pacer although we hadn’t changed pace, I knew he had set off too fast. I noticed Kevin starting to drop back then catch up again, he said he was ‘OK just starting to cramp’
The next two miles headed into the city centre, I knew it would have few spectators but I did get a hug from my work colleague Tracy, who missed her sister passing because she shouting for me, ooops! Kevin decided he would jump into a bush for the toilet and I made an effort to start chatting to the nearest runners so that I didn’t feel lonely and lose my momentum. I ran with Chris and Sophie who had just met but were as crazy as each other as they are both running Edinburgh Marathon this weekend… a week later!!! Sophie was taking a 10 second video at every mile marker so I ended up in a few of those. Kevin caught back up at mile 17 just as we reached the bridge into the heart of the city. The crowd in the city centre were amazing, I couldn’t believe how busy it was especially as it was still raining.
Miles 17-19 were the first half of the 2.5 loops of the town that everyone had been dreading and at mile 18 Kevin’s sprint to catch up with me after his pee bit him in the butt ‘Just keep going, youre doing amazing but I’m going to have to walk’. I made sure he was ok and then headed on up Dumbarton Road.
Between 19 and 20 I saw my friends and family who were all going bananas screaming for me, my Mum missed me, she was too busy cheering on other runners, but I knew I’d see her next time round. As I passed through the lapping system (we were to pass through on the right twice and the third time pass through the left to the finish line) I stupidly looked to my left, seeing all the finishers running down the tunnel. It hit me hard – I have to run round this loop TWICE.
I tried to keep pace but I think I slowed. I tried to speak to other runners but everyone around me seemed too exhausted (maybe they were already on lap 2) and at mile 22 I lost my mojo and slowed to a walk, I don’t know why I didn’t think to have another gel or get my music playing to spur me on (I just thought of that now, ha) 30 seconds walk and I picked up the pace and tried to run for as much as possible which turned out to be only another mile and a half. The loop was 3 miles and although mostly flat it was undulating slightly and we had to run through narrow underpasses with steep little climbs out of them. Back over the bridge into the city centre the 4hr 30 pacer passed me, this spurred me on, as well as hitting those awesome crowds again. Massive cheers from my family at the lapping station where I nipped past that Duracell Bunny once again. Last time through the right hand side and one more loop to go… I questioned this in my head for another mile? I was still on schedule for under 4hr 30, which to me was crazy? Had I missed a lap? it was so confusing on the loop you could see mile markers for each lap. Only 3 miles to go… sounds easy right?
Mile 23, Ahead of me I spotted Catherine’s friend Sarah who I had started with, she was having a walk, also on her last lap, so I walked for a minute chatting with her then we had bursts of running that saw us pass and be overtaken by the pacer several times.
I know the walking breaks were all just mental weakness because with the exception of my hips starting to hurt very slightly, I felt great but I just couldn’t get my groove back and the miles felt so long!
Sarah said we should nail the last two miles when we hit the 24 mile marker, I agreed. I lasted half a mile before I was walking again. With a mile and a half to go I tried my hardest to walk as little as possible but watched as my Garmin reminded me my 4hr 30 finish was now out of reach but I thought hopefully still a 4hr 30-something. Run/walking got me to the last half mile and the crowd got me running to the lapping system where I very happily moved over to the left hand side, gave my family a wave and sprinted the final 200m to cross the finish line in exactly…
4 hours 40 minutes and 07seconds
I have no words to explain how awesome crossing that line felt.
I felt a bit lost at the end, the place was packed and I didn’t know where to go. I checked the tracker app and it looked like Kevin would be another 9-10 minutes. My friend Lynsay had been tracking us and was sending messages, she sounded excited haha, am I right Lyns? Our friend Kevin wasn’t too far away either and for the first time the whole day I had a bit of a cry.
Guys, I beat KEVIN, I never beat him at anything, well except maybe hide and seek, ha! Kevin done amazing too considering his lack of prep and I honestly don’t think my run would have gone so well had he not been with me for 19 miles. ❤️
I found my Mum, sister and brother-in-law and we all watched Kevin cross the line before catching up with the rest of my cheer squad.
Afterwards I went to a BBQ at Kevin’s sisters, she had ran the 5k in the morning and had some friends over, then I went to the pub to share a gin(or two) with my friend Kevin, who had done his Mum so proud.
I’m joining the run group tonight for dinner and drinks to celebrate becoming marathoners. Dress code: flip-flops and medals, ha!
Mandy or group run leader from Run4it, Bridge of Allan shared her thoughts on training the group here.
I know my time isn’t great by any decent runners standards but I am so happy to just tick RUN A MARATHON off my list!
….you know those last few miles cost me a sub 4.30….just kidding guys! I loved every minute but it’s definitely my first and last!
Next goal SUB 2 -13.1
Thanks so much for reading❤️
Have a great weekend😊