Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

LRG Runs LDN!!

on April 16, 2014

So this is the lengthy version of my amazing marathon experience….sorry, not sorry!

I made a weekend of it, meeting Jeff and some of the amazing #UKRunChat crew running London at the expo on Saturday. What a fantastic experience! It was rammed, but we chatted to so many people, runners and exhibitors alike, and I came away buzzing.Image

The #UKRunChat tweetup dinner at Strada was a great success and it was fantastic to meet so many likeminded people, with a great sense of humour and a genuine love for running. We compared nerves, stories, tips and finally wished each other good luck for the following day.

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And so, after a very broken night of sleep, race day was upon us. I got up at 6am, unable to lie there with the nerves anymore. My kit, gels, throwaway warm clothes and drinks all prepared the night before, I took my time getting ready and headed out into the clear, crisp morning for the tube and exchange tension filled glances with the packed carriage. A few stops and a trudge through the unknown streets of London and I’m there.

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Upon entering Greenwich Park the place opened up to hoards of people bathed in glorious sunshine. Alzheimer’s Society had laid on a fab do for us at a tea pavilion in the park, so I made good use of the quiet time and clean loos then headed off to hand my bag in. I made my way to the start area and over to my pen, and stood there nervously with Batman and Robin! We hear the elite men set off and the tape is cut. Inching forward it’s a few minutes until we go over the start line and I’m already instantly overwhelmed by the amount of runners and supporters on the route, but focus on my race and my pacing.

The first 4 miles go by  in a flurry of coloured vests, heartbreaking causes and surprising fancy dress! I manage to find a comfortable pace and my gels and water plan go well. The sun was beating down but I’d done 19 miles in heat of the Algarve…this was nothing! Remembering the words from my coach, I stopped myself weaving too much and reined in the pace to save enough for later.

9 miles in and I was feeling really steady, a comfortable pace and fuelling going well. It was still really busy, the runners hadn’t thinned out as I thought they would and the crowds were at least 4 people deep at nearly every part of the course. With my name on my vest I was getting a lot of encouragement, which was great, but dodging the walkers and people dropping like flies in the heat was taking its toll.

Advancing to Tower Bridge was all I’d dreamed of and looked incredible. I kept my head high, taking it all in, just remembering exactly how amazing we were to be there. I hit the half-way point at just under 2 hours, bang on time. Just after that, blade runner, Richard Whitehead, was heading back on the same stretch at 22 miles, and the crowds and runners went wild. He looked so strong.

They say the marathon starts at mile 20. You’ll never feel this so much as at mile 20! Miles 18 and 19 saw me feeling weaker, despite my bang on gel strategy and catching glimpses of friends and family amongst the huge crowds. Miles 20-22 were hideous, a dark dark place. I tried to channel the words of my coach and keep my head up. Almost the whole field in my view were walking, I was still running…just!

I found a second wind at mile 23 and, although it wasn’t particularly quick, I was feeling stronger and happier. The Houses of Parliament, 800 metres to go, I picked up the pace, 200 metres and I could see the finish. I sprinted and passed practically everyone in view (my legs weren’t my own at that point) and through the finish line! 4:15:12, a 42 minute PB. What an amazing feeling! On top of that, I could still walk afterwards, a miracle in itself! Collecting my medal was a moment I won’t forget, and everyone around me congratulating each other.

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I’m full of pride and am so grateful to everyone that got me here. I really want a sub 4 finish this year, London wasn’t it, but I tell you, it’s taught me some amazing lessons. The next 5 months are focusing on Berlin and that illusive sub 4. I know I can do it, so I’d better crack on hadn’t I!

Thanks so much for all your support, you’ve been amazing, and have helped more than you’ll know in my journey.

LRG x

 

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p.s. also found out I’d been on the BBC London Marathon coverage opening segment after being interviewed at the expo….my 0.5 seconds of fame!

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6 responses to “LRG Runs LDN!!

  1. paullegard says:

    Great effort Sarah. Sounds like you had a fantastic experience! If you keep going the way you’re going then you’ll get well under 4 hours.

    PS I thought that was you on TV at the start of the London Marathon coverage. I almost sent you a tweet to tell you but knew you’d be getting in the zone.

    All the best for Berlin! By the way, how are you getting on with 2014 in 2014?

    • Thanks Paul. Sub 4 is the target, I’m feeling so determined!

      I’m on target with the 2014 in 2014, actually slightly behind with these last few days off, but I should make that up easily enough with some extra miles now that the weather has picked up 🙂

  2. You’re doing Berlin too? Nice one Mrs! I did consider signing up for an Autumn one but I think I’ll break if I do back to backs after my first one. Gonna concentrate on building strength, speed and stamina over the summer to start marathon training again in November for Brighton 2015. Well done on your amazing PB, you smashed it! x

    PS. We’re still going to Algarve next year, right?

    • Tess, we are DEFINITELY going to the Algarve next year, I can’t wait. Good plan with the SSS training over the summer, I’m trying to squidge a bit in between maras. You’ll be a speed demon. Brighton next year is going to be amazing x

  3. What a great experience! Being able to actually walk after marathon is precious :))) You are going to ROCK Berlin! 🙂

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