My Marathon experience
I used a programme from a leading running magazine as my guideline then worked other things into it like high energy exercise classes, swimming, and a few boxing sessions (no sparring!). Also, I sometimes used the bike in the gym or rowing machine and weights (not really heavy weights though so I didn't bulk up, just did them to maintain strength).
I found that worked for me as I am used to doing lots of training in the gym normally. I joined a local running club to do track training once a week as well. I gradually built up the distance I was running with the help of Andrew Wiggins who would take me on 8, 10 and 15-mile runs.
He persuaded me to take part in the Spen 20 in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. It was 20 miles of hell. Hilly, windy and rainy, I ran it in 2 hours and 40 minutes. I didn't have much hope of completing a 26.2 mile run after finding that so difficult, but I realise now it really helped because the marathon didn't seem quite so bad as the Spen 20!
I had also taken part in the Reading half marathon after being recommended to do so by my running club. I was very pleased to finish it in 1 hour and 32 minutes.
The week before the marathon I was filled with self-doubt. The not knowing of what it would be like, would I be able to do the distance, if not I would be letting everyone down, me, my charities, my friends and family, the Sun Newspaper and their readers who had given me so much support, Jonny, my friend who I promised I would run it for to raise more funds and awareness for DebRA.
What if I were to get cramp, or God forbid, need the loo!? All these thoughts were spinning around in my mind.
The day before the event I packed my little waist pack with all the things people had advised me to carry on the run with me. Toilet tissue and wipes, Vaseline, energy gels to swallow if I felt the need (I actually never took any of those as I couldn't face that gloopy gel going down my throat, the thought of it just make me feel sick) I just constantly sipped water at each drink station and the diluted Lucozade Sport I was carrying. My mobile phone was the only other item; if I collapsed from exhaustion en route I would need to be rescued.
The day arrived and after not having much sleep I ate my one slice of white toast with jam and drank my Actimel (friendly bacteria). I packed some bits of fruit and cake into my big bag and went on my way.
The weather was terrible, very dull and rainy. Although now I realise it wasn't so bad as at least it kept our bodies cool.
3 hours and 22 minutes was my time for completing the London Marathon. I still can't believe it to this day. All that hard work had paid off. Those lonely training sessions, those freezing cold tract and long distance runs. Thinking, talking about and even dreaming about carbs, carbs and more carbs.
That evening I ate like a king and had a big feast of steak, big fat chips with spinach and red wine. Oh, and before that my friend Michelle had bought a bottle of rose champagne to celebrate. We drank it while she massaged my aching legs. She's really good at massage and had brought her muscle rub with her. Great friend eh?
I proudly wore my medal for most of the day and night, eventually putting it safely to rest with my ever-growing medal collection.
I had raised over £50,000 for charity, and completed the London Marathon in 3 hours and 22 minutes. I could go to sleep a happy woman.
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