Monday, 18 April 2011

The London Marathon 2011

Yesterday I completed the London Marathon. If it weren't for the pain in my legs I might not be able to believe that sentence, but they are definitely reminding me that it is true.

I had my normal porridge and banana for breakfast, and then headed off on the tube to meet Rich and Clem so that we could travel to Greenwich together. Getting the train was really straightforward, and then we followed the masses to the park. Ablutions and bag check were negotiated, and then we all headed off to our respective pens.

There weren't too many people in front of me, but looking behind there was just a sea of people which was very inspiring. I chatted to a couple of people as we waited for the start, and then suddenly the countdown began and we were walking towards the start. The clock said 3:30-ish as I crossed the start line, so it really wasn't too long. The first few miles I really concentrated on slowing myself down, which wasn't the easiest thing to do as I was feeling good, people were setting out pretty fast, and there was still quite a bit of cloud cover so it was fairly cool. I clearly didn't do a very good job as my second mile was just over seven minutes. Oops.

I knew my family were going to be at about 9 miles, but I didn't know exactly where. I missed them, but I did hear someone shout 'Go TC' which I knew must be them as I had 'Tanya' on my top. By this time the sun had come out and it was getting warmer. I also managed to miss the first Lucozade station as it was only on one side of the road, and by the time I realised it was too late. I was trying to eat jelly babies, but they weren't going down very well.

The next landmark was Tower Bridge, which was definitely inspiring to run over. It was shortly after this though that I had my lowest point. My stomach was really hurting, which it tends to do if I get dehydrated, and this meant I really didn't want to take on any fuel. I forced myself to have a gel though, and had an internal debate:

'If I walk will it make my stomach feel better?'

'No, probably not'

'Better carry on running then'.

As we approached 15 miles I spotted a loo with no queue so I dived in. I wasn't really sure if I needed to go or not, but I thought it might help my stomach. When we came out of the tunnel into Canary Wharf I was on the lookout for my family again, but I missed them. I let this get me a bit down, and I didn't enjoy the next couple of miles. As I approached mile 18 though I knew my family would be there again, and I was determined to get to them. Luckily this time I saw them, and I was able to hand-off my iPod, which I hadn't used, and turn down the offer of more jelly babies and painkillers.

That's me in green - the best I have as an action shot!

Around mile 19 I managed to stand on a bottle and went over on my ankle. Luckily someone put a hand out so I didn't fall, and I tweaked something in my quad. I stopped and stretched it a little, but it was a little sore for a couple of miles. Clem overtook me at that point, after asking if I was OK. I caught up with her a bit later, and we ran a mile or so together, which really helped my. We then lost each other as we went through a water station.

I had another low point around Tower Hill, but once I got to mile 23 I was determined to run the rest of the way to the end. I took it one mile at a time, and was also trying to use some distraction techniques. I started counting down from 100, but I kept forgetting where I was! I had been pouring water over my head and down the back of my neck, as well as running through the showers. The last bottle I was given had the cap taken off, so I ended up pouring most of it down my back making me pretty wet for the last mile or so!

The support crew

I saw my family again just by the Houses of Parliament, after yelling at them as I could see they were going to miss me! Then it was just the run down Birdcage Walk and back up the Mall. The signs at that point were from 800m, but I swear it was the longest 800m of my life. Clem caught up with me again as we rounded the corner to head into the Mall, and we ran together to the finish, although she just out sprinted me at the end.


  1. I had no idea that watching the Marathon would be so inspiring - all those people setting out to prove it to themselves and raising so much money in the process. Determined runners and a wonderful crowd just as determined to support them all. Thank you Tanya - if you hadnt done it I would have missed a special experience. Top Suppporter Award to Richard xx