So, I suppose the best place to start is right at the beginning, and one of the highlights of my day was finally getting to meet the amazing @clairec.runs 😍 we had arranged to meet in the morning and head to the Green start together! I really loved this as the last two years I have always travelled and been by myself so it was fantastic to have someone there to share the usual pre race nerves/excitement/toilet trips with 🤣
But soon enough we had to separate and go to our allocated start pens, and that’s when the nerves really started to kick in for me. I started feeling a bit sick, I was already hot and started thinking what an earth the next 26.2 Miles was going to have in store for me.
Okay, so you don’t need me to tell you this. But it was pretty bloody warm on Sunday, In fact it was confirmed that day it was the HOTTEST London marathon on record 😳🔥 I had been dreading the heat all week, and although it wasn’t ideal, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!
The hardest thing was the constant thirst. I just remember having a dry mouth & throat for pretty much the entire race, but I was more worried about taking on too much water than not enough! I think I pretty much got my hydration spot on though, I took a bottle from near enough every water station, I took a sip, then poured the remainder over my back/shoulders/legs/wrists and then finally on my head, it almost became a bit of a ritual at every stop! The hardest thing I found at the stations was keeping your rhythm, especially when people decide to stop dead in front of you with no warning 🙃
By 10km by pace had dropped slightly to low 7s, and my ‘dream goal’ of breaking 3 hours was slipping away by the seconds, but rather than give up, I just adjusted my goal and carried on as best I could. I didn’t even feel any twinge of disappointment (which is strange for me!) and I just kept going and tried to enjoy it.
Before I knew it, it was fast approaching my favourite part of the race – TOWER BRIDGE 😍 not only does it mean that you’re technically half way through the race (I say technically as we all know a marathon is NOT just two half marathons!) the crowds are electric, and then shortly after if you’re lucky you will get a glimpse of some of the elites in action storming their way to the finish, which is something I have been lucky enough to see every year so far! (This was the only time I messed up a water station, I was too busy looking at the other side of the road and ran straight past it – doh 🤦🏻♀️🤣)
The heat was really getting to people now, myself included! But I was still feeling good, I was keeping myself cool with the water, I had taken two gels and I still felt like I had plenty of energy. As I approached mile 15 I suddenly got really nervous, this was where I hit the wall the year before after feeling great, and I was so worried it was going to happen again..but it didn’t! I ran past a water station which I remembered having a little cry at the year before and couldn’t help but smile knowing I felt so much better this year!
Soon enough I reached the 16 mile mark, and I couldn’t believe I only had 10 miles left to go!
So it was now getting REALLY hot. The sun was beating down, there was very little wind and very little shade. It was really tough out there, and it was really getting to people.
I had slowed my pace down again, was it to do with the heat? I guess I can never say for certain, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with it, but I was still feeling good and stuck with my routine of sipping water and covering myself in it!
Before I knew it, I was approaching mile 20 (the point where it can all go wrong!) and I was really excited as I knew that @chris_x_runs was going to be there cheering, and sometimes seeing a friendly face is all you need to keep you going! So thank you for that high five & giving me that extra boost ❤️
Once I crossed the mile marker I looked at my watch and realised if I slowed down just a tad more I would still not only get a huge PB, but would probably enjoy it a lot more too, so that’s exactly what I did!
I have honestly never felt so relaxed in a race that meant so much to me before, and although not all the photos show it, I feel like I pretty much had a smile on my face for those final 6 miles..
I was genuinely having the best time out on the course that day. I felt so relaxed and so in control, and was just enjoying soaking up the atmosphere and just running!
Then all of a sudden the weirdest thing happened around mile 22/23 – my head suddenly felt like it weighed 10x as much (and after speaking with others they felt it too!) and it was a real effort to keep my head upright! It was the strangest feeling, and in fact the next day my neck aches more than my legs! I’m not entirely sure why it happened, I’m guessing it was something to do with the heat?!
But anywaaaaay, I knew that for the final few miles I was going to see lots of friendly faces, including some of my @teamprojectrun team mates, the legendary #cheersquad and the absolute babe @shoulder_runner – I couldn’t wait!!
Around this point I took my headphones out and soaked up every cheer, every clap and every random person shouting my name (it really does make you feel like a celebrity!) I haven’t done many big races like this, but I don’t think ANYTHING will ever top the atmosphere at London!
For the final mile and a half, I think I pretty much had goosebumps the entire time (and that’s saying something considering how hot it was 🤣) but the crowds really were something else! And I just want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone that came out and supported on Sunday, it genuinely wouldn’t be the same without you!
When I approached The Mall I was still feeling really relaxed (honestly I don’t know what happened to me!) but after a quick glance at my watch I realised I was still well under 3.15 if I just kept it steady and saved myself for a final push at the end.. so that is what I did!
I resisted the urge to speed up too early and I waited until I reached that final bend and then I opened up and gave it my everything! Seeing that finish line is still one of the best feelings in the world and the cheers from the grandstands really do make it feel like you’re in an Olympic final!
I crossed the line, and all I could do was smile (even if my legs did turn to jelly, again 🤦🏻♀️😂) I couldn’t believe how good I felt, how much I enjoyed it, and that I got a 26 minute PB!
The 4 months of hard work & dedication had been put to the test, and it worked! I honestly felt on cloud 9 😍
I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face! Okay, so I hadn’t achieved my ‘dream goal’ (which was a sub 3 incase you were wondering!) but if I am being completely honest, I only ever thought about because people put it into my head. My original goal was sub 3.30, which then changed to 3.15 – so I was over the moon with my time!
I have been lucky enough to take part in the @londonmarathon for the last 3 years, and this one has by far been the best, and not just because of the time.
I ran smart, I relaxed and I actually enjoyed it! I think I am guilty sometimes of putting far too much pressure on myself when really I have no need too. I am not an elite, I am not a professional athlete. I am just someone who loves running!
I’m going to be bold and say that Sunday was geniunely one of the best days of my life, and I will remember it for a very very long time, and it’s made me so excited for what’s to come ❤️
It has made me feel sad (and a little guilty I’ll admit) reading how so many of you struggled and didn’t enjoy Sunday, but I can’t pretend that I felt the same way.
London.. I LOVE YOU! and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in 2019 ❤️🇬🇧🏃🏻♀️