The build up to this day was strange for me. I had not run in four weeks due to bad Shin Splints. My Physio was surprised I was going ahead but it was safe to say that she did fix me and I was in fact going into this race with very few niggles. The thoughts going through my mind were ‘Have I did enough?’ and ‘has the rest did me good?’ I drove down to Manchester on Saturday and decided to go into the shops to get some new clothes considering it was scorching down south. I realised when I checked into my hotel that I had left my new purchases in the coffee shop while leaving the shops. I immediately felt stressed! I had took spare clothes with me but if the weather was to live up to its expectations I was going to feel very hot!
The next morning I got up at 5.30am and went downstairs for Breakfast. Mark who was running Manchester with me met me for food and we spoke through the plan of attack for the day ahead. Mark was running his 299th marathon and did not have to do this for me. This might have put me under some pressure possibly. The morning went very quickly and I found myself standing at the start asking myself the same questions as before. I tried to remain positive as the race started.
I tried to be very conscious of my pace but found it difficult to slow down. I felt comfortable and passed 10k under the hour which looking back was too fast. But I felt great and continued on until I reached mile 8. I had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy which came over me and I started to slow down. Mark was asking what was wrong but to be honest I just felt very warm I realised it was still early and the prospect of it getting warmer started to play on my mind, as well as the fact that I still had a long way to go!! Mark told me slow down until we reached the next water station. I took a Gel at this point with some water and immediately started to feel better. Then all of a sudden I was in my zone, where I always feel comfortable towards the 13 mile mark I was buzzing knowing that I was still doing a good pace and the 4 hour pacer was in front with his music playing. I relaxed at this point and knew that I had time on my hands so I started to really soak up the atmosphere all the way to mile 17. I then started to feel tired again and told Mark that I was 5 out of 10! He started playing mind games with me telling me that If I did 2 more miles he would let me stop for one minute and get a drink. This seemed to work for me but I managed to make it to mile 20 and then I was really tired. Mark could see my pace really taking a dip! He decided to put a live feed onto facebook. I was getting some lovely messages of support and then my friend made a comment. I was like a child in a sweet-shop! Then I felt someone behind me and it was a guy from my twitter community who I had been in touch with over the past few months. We hugged it out and at this point I could not believe the sense of happiness that I felt. I was doing this!
The three of us ran together until just over mile 21 and I started to feel it again. I asked my friend to push on as I did not want to hold him back. I remember him saying to Mark, ‘you look after her’ I started to repeat this in my head and I picked my pace up again. I had worked too hard for this. But the next four miles were tough. From nowhere the 4.30 pacer run past and I realised that I hadn’t made my time. I felt deflated! I just wanted to walk for a bit I tried to stop a few times when at the water stations but Mark would not let me be. He was pushing me on saying I would only make myself worse! He was telling me that the pacer was early obviously trying to lift my spirits! I felt my legs starting to get stiff so I pushed on to mile 24. The last two miles felt long! I remember the crowd shouting that we only had two miles but that went on for what felt like forever! Parkrun got shouted out a few times, that was not helping me at all as I like to run parkrun hard and I was more like a tortoise at this point. But there it was mile 25 and I knew I was almost there. I went for it, kept my eye on the prize. I passed a few people who belonged to a local harrier club in Glasgow. Sorry guys but it pushed me on thinking maybe I was being hard on myself first Marathon and all, Mark put the Live feed on and I knew that people would be watching again. We also got approached by a camera crew but I let Mark do all the talking! There it was the finish Line, I felt a surge of emotion. I’m not going to lie I wanted a better time and believed I would get a better time but I had did all I could have did, in that instant I felt contentment. I felt proud and burst into tears! I will get you 4.30 another time…..