My journey to London 2018 started back in September 2017. I had been out injured for a lot of 2017 so from this point until the end of 2017 it was all about getting back to fitness.
At the same time Fiona Slevin-Brown was also coming back from injury and we were aiming for the same finish time so we started the journey together. Christmas came and went and things felt like they were slowing coming back for me. Fiona on the other hand was flying…
Into February and things felt like they were starting to plateau so I made the decision to cut out junk food from my diet in March, then the lbs came off and my times got better.
A good canal run gave me some confidence that I would OK on the day however I had already made the decision not to chase a PB this year as I have a bigger event later in the year, so this would be stepping stone towards that challenge.
The week before London and the weather forecast….. I mean WTF? Four weeks ago we we’re training in -10deg and now they’re telling us it could be 24 degrees. This was not part of the plan! Anyone that knows me and running knows that Sarah + running + hot weather = bad times…… Oh well, the chances of me getting another sub 3:30 were quickly fading and a hope of staying under 3:45 was the real target. Another bit of bad news was that my training buddy Fiona was having to pull out due to a virus and chest infection, I was absolutely gutted!
A week of meticulously checking the weather went by and any hopes (wishful thinking) of a change in the temperature were dashed, it was already warm at 6am. We all trundled off to the start on the coach, lots of quick hugs before we said our goodbyes and we went off to our different start areas, Alison Jones, Lisa Hale and Lucy Zirbser were also on the green start so we all sat together while we waited.
9.30am and we drop off our bags and head for the toilet queue again, then off to our respective pens for the start. The race starts at 10am and I’m over the line in under 2 minutes, as I’m on the green start there isn’t too much traffic and I put in a quicker 1st mile than I wanted, and then a second and third, even though I keep telling myself to slow down mile 4 is another fast one. Rein it in Sarah it’s a marathon not a sprint, I give myself a good talking to and settle it down to the pace that I should be doing. Every mile I’m taking water having a couple of mouthfuls and the rest is going over my head and body, I see Fiona and Paula between mile 8 & 9 and give them a big soaking wet cuddle. I’m feeling really good at this point. Not long after I get tripped at a water station around 9-10miles, although I don’t fall I stretched out my right leg and can feel a twinge in my quad. A quick glimpse of Graham Robinson and Jim Laidlaw as well as my family between 11 & 12miles By about 13 miles I can really feel it but it’s not bad enough to stop me, I drop the pace down a bit to see if it will ease.
Heading into Canary Wharf and the heat is horrendous, I’m sure it must have been about 30 degrees in places, I’m into quite a dark place now, my leg is hurting, I’m boiling hot, my feet are burning, I just keep telling myself once you’re through Canary Wharf you’ve only got a 10k to go, I know that there will be people I know at mile 21 so I focus on that, little targets in my head to get me through. A quick hug stop for my family and then the friends just round the corner and I’m moving again. I start to feel better around mile 22. Only another 4 miles and I should be good for sub 3:45, 23 miles… ok I’ve got parkrun to do and I could be on for sub 3.40 if I pull my finger out. Big Ben; 1km to go and thankfully lots of shade on birdcage walk. I check my watch and try to do the maths for 3:40… nope brain not functioning just have to dig in. I’m now thinking about everyone I’ll get to see at the finish and who will be the lucky one to catch me falling over the line… the sign of the finish gantry as I make the final right turn is a welcome sight.
I remember seeing Richard Boese and Jane Banister but my head was all over the place and can’t think who else I saw. But thank you to whoever I did see and gave my soaking wet sweaty cuddles to. One thing left on my mind…. Lina Johnson and my medal… found her and made a beeline in her direction. More big wet cuddles for Lina and others after I got my medal…. again thank you all for your hugs.
I have to say that mentally it was possibly the toughest event I have done and physically I knew if I stopped I probably wouldn’t get going again… let’s hope there are no more hot ones like that…