When Angel met Silverstone

I arrived nice and early after a relatively decent coach trip from Victoria to the infamous Silverstone race track. One of the reasons I chose the race was because of the venue. But the queues for the loo was not. After saying bye to the family, getting ready and dropping off our things, I sweet talked coach driver to let me jump on and use the loo. Crisis averted.

We were in the waiting area on the track for around 15 minutes and I was more impatient than nervous. I had been talking about “thinking of running marathons” since I signed up and it felt like it was never going to happen. Darren and I discussed a few things like our expectations and also had discussions as to where in the line-up we should be. I initially was not thinking and started walking towards the sign for the runners aiming to finish in 2:30 until I slapped myself and walked back to just in front of the 2:00 sign.

Through the Start/Finish line

Time to get going, from the very moment we started, a lot of people raced past us and I decided at that point to give way and let them pass. The phrase “marathon not a sprint” replayed in my mind then and throughout the race.

Mile 1

Came and went well, was ahead of schedule a little and it takes me a few miles before I settle in so I needed to get there. People already peeing. I guess they didn’t want to wait for the toilet either …

Mile 2/3/4

Went in a blur, people cheering along the way, my name on my shirt is a good look. Waving at them with gratitude.

Mile 5/6

Erm, so Silverstone is flat, apparently? Why am I digging in and running up the stupidest hill ever? I am not impressed. In fact I want to punch someone for this curve ball. Nice amount of people cheering here, was needed as the sun started to take it upon itself to try and fry me to death.

Mile 7

My energy slightly low not due to lack of fluids, but the intense heat beating down. Took in more drink to combat. Now I know how ants under magnifying glasses feel. Bloody hell. Cheeky little hill snuck up on me. Bugger.

Mile 8

Darren mentions his knee was not in pain but uncomfortable, lovely man cheering us on said I looked beautiful. Said I’d be back later. His wife agreed. Result.

Mile 9

I was worried about Darren just reminding him he was awesome. Blurry mile.

Mile 10

A fly flew into my eye and just as I was about to curse I heard “Mummy!” Isaiah smiling and frantically waving by the sideline and Mum shouting from the stands. Only 3 and a bit miles left, let’s go and get that damn medal, eat my Mum’s chicken and go home.. Washed out the little bugger from my eye with my water and kept going.

Mile 11

I could feel myself waning. Had enough energy but did not want to be there, what was I thinking, felt like I wasn’t running, talking to myself, possibly had a cry. Thanks to whoever shouted for me to keep going, it helped loads. If you were a lady with brown hair, it was you that kept me going. Cheers love. Time to get this race wrapped up and make my way home.

Mile 12

Where the hell is mile 13? I am SO over this sh*t now!! We saw a guy lying on the floor surrounded by ambulance staff, hooked up to a machine and he was profusely vomiting which was just not cool at all. The mile was littered with crampers and fainters which shook me out of my ‘delirious’ stage a mile previous like the marathon version of the beginning sequence of Saving Private Ryan. Sh*t was real out there. At this point would have jumped over people to get to the finish line. I had to finish and go and eat. Chicken was waiting for me and Isaiah was threatening to eat mine if I took too long. Not happening, son.

Mile 13

… Yes, I have this in the bag, can’t feel my legs but sprinted through the finish line. I grabbed Darren’s hand and when he let go of my hand I went for it and sprinted. The cheers were getting louder as I crossed the line and a wave of emotion came over me as I realised I had finished. I then heard my son Isaiah shout and I turned to him and gave him a huge hug.

Darren was behind me and I embraced him and sobbed into his top. The realisation of all our training came flooding back and it was a great feeling. I remembered the cameras and composed myself (probably not quick enough though, time and photos will tell) and went to get the IPCO timing chip removed from my shoe and we then went to collect our goodie bag and dived in to find our medal which was quickly retrieved and flung around our necks. At some point we bumped into Miss Mei who was there to watch her brother and his friends run and I remember rambling to her for a while and probably bending her ear back about training (I was still full of adrenaline, well that’s my excuse.)

We then went to look for our people which was unsuccessful, so grabbed our bags from the holding area then went to the agreed meeting area if we couldn’t find each other and there were loads of hugs, me going to the loo before we went to the car park to tuck into Mum’s chicken, well Darren and Olly did, I felt a little ill from the heat, adrenaline and tiredness.

After a chat and emotional hugs, we said bye to Darren and Olly and were back on the coach, I had my food and we were all sleeping apart from Mum within ten minutes.

A few messages, foam roller time and a bath I was out like a light.

On reflection, I have to say I am not as disappointed with my time now I’ve had sleep and nursed a sore neck from the sun beating down on it for a couple hours.
First off, I completed that race and found some reserve to SPRINT from the 13 mile marker .. eat your heart out, Lewis-Francis.

I got up, put my Lycra on and got out there in sub zero temperatures every Sunday with Darren when a lot of people wouldn’t. I was called crazy, was told I wouldn’t get there after I injured my knee (what lovely friends I have, huh?) and I never thought in a million years I would be entering events this time last year.

The moment my son told me he was proud of me after I crossed the finish line made all of that worth it.

Watch said 02:09:27 as I went to hug Isaiah before stopping my watch IPCO says 02:08:48.

Definitely learned a few things:

  • Sunscreen on the neck back, sunglasses. No long ting. That intense heat was not something to be flippant about.
  • I hydrated well beforehand, but forgot to start with water in my hand so had nothing to sip until first water station.
  • Keeping my head down during the tough bits helped. Seeing all those runners ahead can be deflating.
  • Let the hardcore runners pass. Saw a few people almost get trampled, not me. I let them go. I passed some of them later ;-)
  • Sports massage two days before, not one. Thighs not so happy with my choice.
  • **forgot this one before I clicked “post” ** Put your name on your shirt. Spectators are so lovely shouting at you when you need it!!

Special thanks to my family, friends, work colleagues for your support, I am sure you’re fed up of all the marathon talk so far. Thanks for putting up with it, most of you know running has saved me.

And anyone who’s donated so far, extra hugs for you. Part of the reason I get up and run when I don’t want to is to not let you down for believing I can do this. Thank you.

Crystal Palace Sports Injury Clinic have been amazing, Amy Sam and Sarah – I did it! Thanks for putting me back together again.

Donate here for my Year of the Unstoppable.

9 thoughts on “When Angel met Silverstone

  1. Congratulations – this brought back all the memories of my first half and it’s an amazing feeling (plus it only gets better!). Totally agree with your tip re pre-race sports massage timing – I had one too soon before Paris and my quads ached from 10km. One to be careful about. See you tonight xx

  2. Woohoo! Fab post and great run, I learnt a hard lesson re the sun too. I ran the race last year and only saw 1 or 2 people stretchered off, I must have seen closer to 10 on Sunday. Well done you. xx

  3. Angel OMFG well done i didnt even know boy i wish i could do that well maybe 1 day i can but for real i am proud of you

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