And here we are at last, in just 16 hours time (from the moment I am writing this post) the starting gun will go off for 37 something thousand runners, spread across the three starting groups on Blackheath Common, for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.
It’s hard to believe that I applied to run this race just a little shy of a year ago, and subsequently forgot all about it. In fact it was only a week or two before the letters came out in October that I even gave anymore thought to the fact that I had applied at all. I remember that fateful day I came home an found that big red magazine laying on the doormat, the moment of realisation that on the 17th April 2011 I would be running the London Marathon. Despite receiving the news, training never really started in earnest until almost the end of December when I undertook a 16 week training plan geared up to get me over the finish line in the best time possible.
My plan incorporated on average one easy run, one structed interval session, one slightly more short-and-sharp session, and an ever increasing long run. On the whole I struggled to manage four sessions in a week, but I stuck to the plan as best as I felt I could. In hindsight – and next time – I should have been more firm with myself when coming up with excuses not to go out.
The long solitary miles on a Sunday were tough at times, and the hilly Yorkshire Moors definitely took it out of me on occasion, but with Marathon Talk on the iPhone I plodded away and covered the miles. And in retrospect, while I may not have always enjoyed them at the time, I was always happy afterwards with my acheivement.
The final 5 weeks have been a bit of a mission though. Five weeks ago I went out on 19 miles – in the end, turning out to be my longest run – it was an awful run! The weather, the hills, my legs, my head, just nothing felt right and in the end I was so demotivated. I had also damaged my leg, and the following week was lost to any exercise. Following a slow recovery period to allow my knee to recover, when I finally did go running again my heart rate was excessively high and a 10k race bought about a maximum of 196bpm! Blimey! The following week I was able to do a small amount of training, but by now was into a tapering phase and would have to hope that 19 miles would be enough to get me round.
The nightmare really kicked in just last Sunday, when I woke up feeling a little crappy but not sure why. Feeling lethargic, I spent the afternoon on the sofa, as my head got heavier, my nose got blocked, and at some point I accidentally swallowed some razor blades it would seem! Surely I couldn’t have a cold this close to the Marathon?!?! Well apparently, I could. I think perhaps it was a culmination of just stopping my training, and my body was just catching up with me. I did my best to chill out and shake it off as quickly as possible, but three days off work and it still hadn’t shifted.
But nonetheless, I had to get my train to London, and on Thursday afternoon I met up with Mum & Dad at the Expo. What an experience, there was a great buzz about the excel, loads of trade stands and loads of things to see and do. Sadly I was unable to see any of my twitter buddies, although I think I saw marathon gorilla heading in the opposite direction when we were about to leave. I picked up my number – and a fair few extra nerves to boot, all of a sudden it became very real!
On Friday afternoon Mum and I went out for a little jog – my first in a week – and although I still have a lot of stuff clinging to my lungs I felt pretty good – and confident that my 11 min/mile target pace is do-able.
Today we had a great pasta party with a visit from my Grandparents, and now I should be packing my bag for tomorrow. But I think I’m a little apprehensive of the ‘finalness’ of packing my bag, so I am typing this and watching the football instead. I can’t put it off much longer though!
As a final thought I want to say a big thank you to all of the wonderful people on twitter – people whom I have never met, and unless some magic happens tomorrow, I may never meet. But a group of people who have been so wonderfully supportive, understanding when I discuss intervals, tapering, chafing, knee pain – all the things my friends got quickly bored of! They are a community who offer support, advice and guidance – and without whom I think I would be even more of a nervous wreck than I am right now, and who in many cases have offered great inspiration too. I’m not going to list you all, but you all know who you are!! THANK YOU!
I will keep my eyes open for those of you who I remember are in the blue start, and jerseys I can remember the look of, because sadly if I use my phone before the start of the race, I fear the battery will die by the end of the race using the endomondo sports app. So I shan’t be twittering in the morning, but I’ll be thinking of you all! :-)
And, dont forget – you can still sponsor me to raise money for the Everyman Campaign. Click here to sponsor me.
Thanks everyone for keeping up with my blog, and I guess I’ll catch you on the flipside!