London Marathon 2017: race weekend part 1

Journey into the unknown

So if you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I was dealing with a foot injury before the London Marathon.  Keep reading to find out what happened next.

We left the house early on Friday morning to head to London by coach. This meant walking to the station to get the train into the city centre and then walking across town to the coach station. It was 2 miles of walking in total. I hadn’t walked properly for three weeks so I was quite apprehensive about even getting to the coach.

I started experiencing pain in my foot within 5 minutes of walking. It felt like my foot needed to snap or click, almost as if (just like my knee) someone had shoved a metal rod in the bottom of my foot. Not good. When we eventually got to the coach station, I popped some pain killers and changed my shoes and hoped for the best.

We arrived in London at about 11am. Our hotel wasn’t ready so we went straight to the expo.

The Excel Centre in London is absolutely massive. We had to walk almost from one end to another to get to the entrance to the expo. Probably not good for my foot but I was trying not to think about it.

And there it finally was. The big red entrance, welcoming us in.

As soon as we walked in, a wave of emotion came over me and I started crying. I couldn’t help it. The highs and lows of my training flooded into my mind. I wanted to do the race so much.

I think it was that moment that I had decided to do the race, at any cost. Silly as that may have been, I couldn’t bear the thought of not doing it. Not now I was there.

I picked up my number and.. you guessed it…had another cry.

Once we were properly inside, we met up with some friends and spent the whole afternoon taking silly photos, entering competitions, taking free samples, spending lots of money (seriously, way too much) and taking in everything the expo had to offer. It was quite an experience and the atmosphere was b-u-z-z-i-n-g.

parkrun

So I had told myself that parkrun was the test. If I could get through 5k at parkrun without any pain in my foot, I could do the marathon. The only problem is that Mile End parkrun was a 1.5 mile walk from the hotel. And we went the wrong way. Damn. I really wasn’t really helping myself.

I could feel my foot twinging but tried to put it to the back of my mind. When we arrived, I was so pre-occupied with finding the start, going to the toilet and meeting up with friends, that I did actually forget about my foot. I managed to catch the end of the pre-run briefing. Something about out and back. Keep to the path. Look out for other runners. The usual.

And then the whistle blew. Everyone charged forward like a herd of elephants, myself included. It was so frantic, but I remembered to take it slow. And then I realised…

0.5 miles in. no pain.

1 mile in. no pain.

2 miles in. still no pain.

OMG I JUST COMPLETED 5k WITHOUT ANY PAIN!

Was it a fluke? Was I imagining it because I was desperate to run London? I don’t know. But it looked like a miracle had happened because I couldn’t feel a thing.

I managed to walk back to the hotel without any pain too. I was still a bit sceptical and paranoid. I convinced myself it was adrenaline and that the pain would come back any minute.

But it didn’t.

The night before

Having spent the remainder of the day resting and feeling no pain, I had decided I was definitely going to do the marathon. We ate a sensible lunch at Strada. My other half had carbonara and I had tomato pasta. We drank enough water to fill the Thames, which very much amused the waiter. We then walked back to the hotel via Tower Bridge where we saw them putting the barriers up for the Mile 13/22 cross over. We just squeezed hands and gave each other a look. We both felt the same thing. Nerves, excitement, anticipation…

At around 9.00pm, I lay out my kit, attached my number and got my bag ready.

We sat and watched ‘Run Fatboy Run’ on the cheap hotel TV. The perfect film to watch the night before. I sat and thought about what my race strategy would be, bearing in mind I hadn’t run for three weeks. After looking at various pace charts and analysing my last few runs, I decided, just like Dennis, my goal was simply to get to the finish.

As I put my head on the pillow, I reminded myself it was all about the finish line, not the finish time. And I wanted that medal.

 

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