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.

Strength in numbers ..

Training with two thirds of DamnSon yesterday has really put my thoughts into perspective. I have always prided myself on “doing it alone” and I know that it can be counterproductive to do so. No more so than in this instance.

I got a viral infection bug from family a while ago, and was subsequently forced to take off extra time to recover after I decided to carry on running through that. It made me even more lethargic, my times didn’t improve. Pride basically got me into that mess. Not proud of it, but shit happens. I then heard that I wasn’t selected to run with the Bangs on the Run ladies and momentarily it did knock my confidence. Am over it now and as always send love to the new crew and will be cheering them on regardless as they are a wonderful bunch of women.

I began to fall into the slope of not training, relied only on strength exercises at home, thinking it was sufficient. Obviously it isn’t and doesn’t replace cardio work or pounding that pavement in any shape or form.

So fast forward to yesterday. I arrived frazzled after having to wait ages for a damn bus, I left my trusted water bottle at home (sadly it didn’t have rum in it. Actually, if it did I probably wouldn’t have forgotten it *side eye*) I told myself from the beginning that I should just go home. I arrived and just felt negative. One look from Redfella, a hug and a talking to shifted my whole attitude. So by the time Mr Sang arrived, and I had a mini hissy fit over my iPod (don’t ask) I was ready.

Usually when I run solo it seems like such hard work, and to be honest it’s bullshit. It’s too hot, I didn’t eat enough the hour prior, whatever. It’s all bullshit. And I have realised I need to snap out of that before I punch myself in the face for being a whining idiot.

We set off, and the first few yards were cumbersome and awkward for me. But after a trip (and giggle from Sang – yeah I remember that) I found my stride and suddenly got into a rhythm. It was hot and I didn’t have my rum *coughs* I mean water with me but it didn’t matter. Although they were behind me and not in my immediate eyeline, just knowing if I turned my head ever so slightly, they were behind me. And not in the physical sense. They. Were. Behind. Me. Every step of the journey.

For just a moment, I zoned out of my music and felt awesome as I realised I am not on this journey alone. Miss Virtue, Redfella and Mr Sang are doing this with me. I sped up over the last few yards. eat your heart out, Bolt. I’m coming for YOU.

My pride is well and truly filed away under “Useless Things That Will Hold Me Back On My Marathon Journey” and have taken out “Team Player” and have relaxed the frick up.

Looking forward to our next encounter in a London park somewhere (very) soon.

(special thanks to my team colleagues, I love you all. x)

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Pity party .. guest of one

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Was feeling sorry for myself today.

I feel like I’ve gone backwards where training is concerned as I had the flu and its taken a long time to shake off the remnants, so much so the past two weeks the only thing I’ve done fitness wise was to continue my daily yoga and pilates workout.

First session back and it was almost like my first run, thankfully not out of breath but only managed to run half of the 3k circuit I did with Darren. That said, I ran half. Had this been when I first started I would not have even been able to run longer than a few yards.

But mentally it has put me back, I know I will wake up tomorrow feeling better … til then … meh.

The marathon seems so far away at the moment and although I have a 5K in July coming, I need a goal to work on, cos right now I don’t think I’m pushing myself enough or have enough focus.

Womp. Womp.

The RunDown: Training with #Damnson

Bit late VERY late with this post, (I started writing this on TUESDAY!!) Sunday I met up with my training partners Didi, Darren and our newest member Chris for a training session. This was after an IMMENSE first spinning class.

I love the gym and that, but nothing prepared me for this monumental death to my ass, crotch and legs. Needless to say I will be going back next Sunday for another go though. Lol. Clearly, I like punishment …

So after going home to wash, change and eat, I decided I wouldn’t have a nap for fear of not waking up on time so I made my way to Hyde Park in the May sunshine. Grabbed a quick bite to eat, stopped off to get drink and met up with the guys at our meeting point.

Now I am a person who trains with their playlist on full blast, almost blinkered and on with the job, and I wanted to not do that to much with the crew as it would defeat the purpose of being ‘together’ but I am still a competitive soul, so found that with them there I pushed myself more than I probably would had I not been with them. AND I left my iPod in my bag so was the only one without music *angry fist*

Hyde Park was very hot, with a lot of dust and pollen flying around (crap) so it became a ‘speed up when we saw shade’ kind of affair with a few inclines thrown in for good effect.

Despite a very slow end (walking the last two kilometres) and us training with grit/dust/sh*t in our eyes, I thoroughly enjoyed the session, we are all at completely different stages in our training, but it was just nice to train with them as we have the same goal.

Note to self: NO spin class beforehand though, because although I slept like a baby that night, I was EXHAUSTED! And my calves hated me for a few days. I’m sorry my babies *strokes them lovingly* …

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