In 2016 I started the run walk group with SJ on a Tuesday and later in the year progressed to the slow group, and also some Sunday Look Out runs . I can’t tell you how encouraging everyone was, in fact I was filled with so much confidence I applied for the VMLM via Parkinsons UK!
I was gutted when I found out in October that I didn’t get a place, as the charity is very close to me and the Marathon also coincided with my 40th birthday so I thought that the opportunity had passed forever. I felt so demotivated that my running became very inconsistent …Until the charity phoned me on the 1st February to say I could have a last minute place! I was ecstatic!
My training went really well, I had a couple of bad runs, missed a couple of sessions and the knee niggles ramped up a fair bit, but overall I was really pleased with my progress and felt really confident as the day approached. I’d made it to 20 miles in training with that longest run also being one of my best runs – so bring on the London Marathon!
The SJ coach was relaxed and jovial – lots of familiar faces, a quick group pic when we came off the coach and then I headed to find my charity running team. I was in red pen 9, right at the back and knew it would be a while before I got over the start line. I’d made 2 trips to the loo before we started so wasn’t expecting to queue again at mile 1 – then mile 3 and then again at a mile I’ve now forgotten.
Lots of weaving in and out of people, many people walking right from the start and not surprisingly no sign of any of the running world pacers. The confidence disappeared quite rapidly and by halfway I didn’t understand what had happened – why were my legs not working? Why was I even slower than I was during my training runs? This should have been easier – where was the adrenaline that was supposed to keep me going? And all that bloody pasta I’d eaten?
I kept going but so did the clock and I found it hard to push myself to run when so many people around me were walking. At mile 21 or so I was really angry and could have punched someone but I’m not sure why – I nearly collapsed on my family and friends at mile 24/5 along the embankment and a fellow charity runner got me going again at 600m – I’d questioned whether I’d reach the finish line at many points so was more than relieved to cross the line at 5h45 – worse than my worse case scenario.
Yes, I was disappointed initially but a fellow SJ had stopped by the house a couple of days before and reiterated what so many others had said to me – ‘don’t worry about your time, just enjoy the experience’ . So, when I started my new job on the Monday morning after the marathon and my 40th birthday (yes, I know !! ) – that’s what I told everyone – that yes it was hard but I’d loved the crowds and atmosphere – I think I might have convinced myself to try again next year!