There is a rumour that only 1% of the population has done a marathon, as of 3 weeks ago, I am in the 1%. I decided to run 2 years ago to raise money for the burns unit at Pinderfields hospital, I intended to run it last year but had to reduce to 10 miles due to injury. In July of last year I fell and sprained my ankle meaning that I was out of action for 6 weeks. Who would have thought that I would be able to run 10 miles with minimal training and a recent injury? I’m not recommending running that far without training or a good base level of fitness.
Kit ready to go.
I signed up for it again and set about fundraising, my target was £500. I smashed that.
Training started properly in July, I won’t bore you with the details because I know you will have already read my previous posts so you will know all about it.
I booked a lovely (very expensive) spa hotel in York for the weekend, bugger the expense, you only run your 1st marathon once and I needed the time to relax and prepare. I saved some money on the train fare, it was £3.50 going and I conned Mr B into paying for my return ticket. I arrived in York and it was cold and dark, I got to the hotel room and opted for room service. First ever time. It was brought to me by a lovely waiter in a very smart uniform, delivered on a tray with one of those silver dome thingys. All for a sandwich and chips!
Posh food and beer, of course.
The room was lovely and I booked a relaxing massage. I had planned to explore the local area but the hotel was so lovely that I decided to stay there all day.
The morning of the race was cold and grey, not good but I remained optimistic that it would clear up. I was wrong, very, very wrong. I had ordered a taxi, which was late but it was not a problem as I had ordered it very early. I get very stressed about being late so I had allowed 90 minutes for a 15 minute journey. We passed some of the Lakers walking from the station and hung out of the car waving and shouting. I arrived at the university with plenty of time to spare.
When I got to the meeting point and saw the other Lakers the emotion got the better of me, every time someone wished me luck, hugged me, said hello or even just looked at me, I started crying. I cried while walking to the start line, I cried waiting to start. I managed a few seconds of smiling for a photo.
A break in the crying, love the Lakers’ support.
Waiting at the start seemed like it took forever, the compare was jabbering on about something, I wasn’t really listening. I just wanted to get it over with. It was raining, it was cold, I was under-dressed. When we finally set off I stopped crying. We all set off together, the others quickly left me behind. The support along the way was great, I saw a few familiar faces and ran for hugs. The tears had dried up by this point and I was starting to enjoy myself, I also started to believe that I could actually do it. The run up to the race was full of self doubt and a desire to drop out. I could see the 5 hour pacer for quite a long way and that kept me going.
Happy running, around mile 1 I’m guessing.
I had a plan and I stuck to it, sort of. I forgot to set the intervals on my watch so I had to calculate the 3 miles run and 5 minute walk. I was a similar pace to Kevin from Lakers, we passed each other quite regularly. He caught up when I was on a walk break and toilet stop then I passed him during my run intervals. It was nice to have someone close by.
Water stops were every 3 miles so I knew when I was due a walk but it also meant that I needed toilet stops. The one at 13 miles was quite freaky, it was on a slope and I was convinced that it was going to tip forward and trap me inside! It didn’t, I made it out alive.
Mile 8 toilet stop.
Scary toilet at mile 13, I had a lucky escape there.
The first half was gong really well, I was quite enjoying myself. Then I got to the long boring stretch from Stamford bridge, I passed my favourite farm shop, I don’t think I like it there any more. At around 16 miles I saw a friend and got a lovely warm hug, it was very welcome, I was cold and flagging at that point. I carried on and made it to the turnaround point and saw another familiar face handing out foil blankets. I tried the blanket for about a mile but the rustling drove me mad so I dumped it at the next bin.
I think this was the wall that I had heard so much about. It was hard and horrible, I was cold and wet and just wanted to go home. I saw Jason on the out bit and he was flagging too, when I was going the other way I saw Kevin. I was quite worried about him, he was quite far behind me at this point. He made it to the finish though. I saw a few more familiar faces at the back of the pack.
The support at the beginning was great but standing out in the cold and wet is not ideal, especially if the person you’re supporting has gone past. The second half was not so well supported, the steel band and pipers were still there. It was very long and lonely running those last few miles alone, in the cold and rain. I had other runners to keep me company but I wasn’t really in the mood to chat.
At the bottom of the hill just before the finish I ran alongside a couple of men, one of them ran on ahead and I stayed with the other. We got to the bottom of the hill, looked at each and both said “this isn’t happening”. The supporters were gathered again at this point, including Mr B. The last bit was downhill and the sight of the finish line gave me a last minute burst of energy and managed a sprint finished which was recorded and looked pretty impressive. I was obviously too tired for full on sobbing but it was emotional crossing the line and getting my medal. I found Mr B and went to find my bag and take advantage of the free massage.
I love a good massage.Did you know that I ran a marathon?
The rest of the Lakers were in the pub (not a surprise) and I hobbled my way down, thanks to Google maps it was twice as far as it should have been. As I walked in I heard “she’s here” followed by chants of Binnsy! The best end to a race ever. Even the other customers in the pub joined in.
Keelan “Llama” Henry, he ran in half the time I did and with half as many Fitbit steps, I suspect that’s because his legs are twice as long as mine.
As promised, I got my Christmas present early. A permanent reminder of my massive achievement, a Yorkshire Rose tattoo. A friend of mine has a saying, “How do you know if someone has run a marathon? Don’t worry, they will tell you.” or in my case they will show you their tattoo.
The tattoo, if you want to see it in the flesh, I will happily show you.