April the 22nd was hyped up to the max as it was the London marathon. It was also set to be the hottest London marathon on record. But hey what about us? What about the poor 10,000 London Marathon rejects that were taking part in the ABP Southampton marathon on the same day?
Throughout the week leading up to the marathon I spoke to lots of people about it, I told them it was my 8th endurance event this year out of 30 and how thirty4thirty was going really well. My nagging back pain was a worry and I was unsure as to how I would feel. If I would stride around the two lap course or if I would crawl. Many people would comment "it will be ok as you are not as crazy as the people who are running the London Marathon"!! I realise that everyone can associate with the London marathon as it is well publicised and is on the TV but come on people a marathon is still a marathon, the UK weather is still the same and we are still running 26.2miles in the sunshine.
So whether you were in London or Southampton it was hot. So hot. I was feeling really excited for this marathon, my back was a problem but it actually gave me an excuse to slow down if I needed and also to walk if required. I was running with my husband so it was always going to be fun however deep I would have to dig. The atmosphere as we got off the train was incredible, people everywhere, the sunshine always makes everyone smile. I also had a great thirty4thirty support crew (my parents) for the event so they were able to help me get ready and take loads of great photos.
As usual I was stuck in a portaloo toilet right up until the last minute. I rushed to get to the start line. The start gun went off but it took nearly 8 minutes to get over the start line due to the mass's of people taking part. The first few miles are always about jostling for a good position where you can run at your pace but also not being dragged along to quickly by the crowd. This is where a lot of runners fall short as they run far to quickly for the first hour or so and then can not keep the pace.
Due to my back problems and endurance event after endurance event my aim was to finish smiling and hopefully get under 4hours 20mins. This would have been a steady 10minute mile pace on average. The plan was to take the first lap steady and see if the pace could be increased. I felt really strong and the atmosphere was great. The first lap of 13.1 miles seemed to fly by, Southampton in the Sunshine was lovely, bits of the course went through the centre of town, past the docks, over the Itchen bridge, along West Water, through the football stadium, through some beautiful parks and then then back to the centre. It was so much hillier than I ever expected it to be. At the 13.1mile marker the crowds went wild the music was loud and the elation was high. At the point the majority of the runners went through the finish line as they had just successfully completed their planned half marathon. The rest of us poor marathon runners got ushered off down a side street to start the course all over again! This was mentally tough, the course went from having thousands of people to a few mental marathon runners. At first it felt like the ABP Southampton marathon was a Half marathon with a few insane marathon runners thrown in who decided to do the course twice. Sadly the street support dwindled but the people who did stay out to support were magnificent. Sweet were given to us, loads of water, people throwing buckets of water on us, people in residential areas holding out spray hoses.
At this point I was running well, still at a fast but steady pace and I felt good. There is always a worry at around 18miles that the dreaded metaphorical WALL is going to be hit. It never came, we just kept on trucking. It was hot, our heart rates were much higher than they should of been due to the heat but we kept each other motivated, kept eating and drinking every 20minutes and the miles slowly counted down. The last 4 miles always seem like an eternity and even worse the last 0.2miles seems like the last 20 but gradually we got there. We rounded the last corner and even managed to up the pace to run into the finish to the sound of thousands of cheering people. I definitely did not feel like a London Marathon reject at this point in time. We crossed the finish line in 4hours 12minutes. I am super happy with my time.
To have a support crew at every 6/7mile point is a huge boost so a massive thank you to them. To have someone to run with makes the whole experience better, having the mental support of my coach telling me I can do it and when and how much nutrition to eat makes everything easier. This event is my 8th of the year out of 30 but it really felt like everything was starting to come together. I feel strong, happy and healthy (other than my back) and I am really looking forward to the next 22 endurance events as they start to get much harder, longer and more arduous.
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