Let it just be said before this week starts.........I bloody hate running, if I even mention running / long distance running again you have permission to shoot me. Please remind me of this if I have any hair brained "runners high" ideas!
Have already excused myself for being a complete nightmare this week, feel like my nerves are shot and absolutely anything could go wrong this week. Turns out I was right, Monday evening ( 6 days till D Day) and Luke pukes all over my mum and her living room floor, cue panic that he has a bug and that we are all going to get it and not be fit to run on Sunday. Of course he then has to have 2 enforced days of school as he's been sick, I could actually cry as I have so much to do! Mum bless her heart steps in again to sit with him whilst I do my business banking, banking for the charity and have my all important pre race sports massage. Will feel really guilty If she gets it!
The massage felt ok, must be getting used to the pain, had some last minute words of encouragement from my physio and she sent me on my way.
I have serious chest pains - have had for the last week or so, I feel like my heart is pounding out of my chest and am now seriously worried that I might have some undiagnosed heart condition! Chris seems to think it's just anxiety but I do feel like someone is sitting on my chest cos I can't breathe! Ironic really given I'm running for Team Breathe!
I've had "For you Dad 1941-2013" written on the back of my shirt, made me cry again in the car on the way home. Am really doubting myself now, really don't want to let anyone down and I really want to make it to the post race reception so that I can have the post race massage!
Luke has gone back to school, Chris has been ill with a throat infection for over a week and I now feel sick and have a sore throat - bloody typical, had some tablets and trying to ignore the sick feeling. Haven't trained since Sunday, feel like I need to go out for a run but Chris says to conserve my energy and not risk injury at this late stage....!
Friday before race day. We are packed up and ready to go, Lucy has gone to my mums to be taken to my aunties later, kids are going to in laws to go down to Surrey with them and we have packed up the car, getting more donations in, getting really close to the £6000 mark!
The journey from home to the start!
We left home and almost immediately ( in Heanor town centre) the red engine lights came on in the car! Could bloody scream - stopped the car to turn the ignition off / on, then had to stop again on A610 to make it go off again. Uneventful trip down ( apart from air con doesn't work in the car. We crawled though the last 6 miles, it was soooo busy in London. Got to the hotel at about 10.30pm, knackered and in need of the good nights sleep we were told was the most important one for race day. Cue the hotel fire alarm going off at 3.20am! I jumped out of my skin it was so loud, got dressed and went into the corridor, to be told it was a false alarm. Chris didn't even get out of bed, he decided that as it wasn't a continuous alarm then someone was resetting the alarm instead of dealing with the break glass unit, bloody know it all turned over and went to sleep started snoring then left me listening to him, just brilliant, could have kicked him into next week!
Saturday morning! Turned the shower on in the hotel room and got absolutely drenched ( in my PJs) as it just spurted out at me, Chris just about wet himself laughing at me, I then asked him to turn the shower on for me and he got drenched too, ha, bloody karma!
Went to the expo, followed the sea of fit looking people. Wow it's so exciting, got our numbers, bought some nice hoodies, had our photos taken with our race numbers, went to see Nick Anderson ( our coach from the training day) and he pepped me up, made me believe I could do it. We listened to the talk by Martin Yelling, got a bit emotional again, saw Tony Audenshaw (from Emmerdale) on the DLR, went home, had more pasta ( am bloody pasta'd out), sorted out our stuff for morning and went to bed. My chest is pounding, I can't breathe, have set up everything I need, am getting so many texts and FB messages I can't keep up with them. Everyone is being so encouraging, could cry again, we have so many wonderful friends and family.
Set the clock for 6.20, both wide awake looking at each other at 6am, so glad I brought my scruffy old pillow to sleep on in this posh hotel, at least I didn't get neck ache, though still have a pounding chest and have had more tablets for my pounding "couldn't have timed it better, time of the month" headache! We went down to breakfast with all the other idiots at about 7am, tried my hardest to eat cereal yogurt and toast, all felt like cardboard, feel sick, can't think straight, what am I doing? Went back to the room and found we'd hit £6k on the fund raising courtesy of my 1 yr old nephew who donated £2 from his money box to take us over, woohoo!
Got ourselves ready, I'd asked Dad to sort the weather for me, I ask for 10 degrees and misty rain, he got it perfectly right, though hadn't really thought it through that we'd be standing about in said rain for an hour. We both walked out of the posh hotel wearing big black bin liners, we're so classy! Chris also had his black hat on and looked like a burglar, ha ha!
Took what seemed like forever to get to the start, about a 20 minute walk following the rest of the red kit bags. Got to the agreed meeting point for a team breathe selfie, not everyone came, booooooo! Met some lovely people at the start including Suzanne who I decided to stick with. We went to the loo and queued for about 25 mins! There was the option of female urinals, oh my god really? We were given a leaflet at the expo on how to use the female urinals, just my bloody luck had I used them, I'd have dribbled down my leg or got wee all over my pretties! I decided to stick with the portaloo, cut it really fine and got to the start pen at 10.09. The gun went at 10.10 and it took us 27 mins to get over the start line! What an amazing feeling, waving at the camera, seeing the people dressed up, started with a camel to my right, a lighthouse behind me and a rhino in front!
Suzanne and I decided to go out slow, ended up running the first few miles chatting away, high fiving the kids on the route, listening to the bands, feeling like a superstar having my name called! Before we knew it we had run 5 miles. At every mile marker we decided to have a little cheer then walk for 2 mins before running to the next mile marker. Saw some people pull up really early on with blisters etc, not good! Can't believe we made it to mile 11 at Rotherhithe and there was my mum, sister, Ed and Jess. so good to see them, gave them all kisses and stole their Jelly babies. On we went, decided to have a wee just before tower bridge and queued for 7 minutes! Amazing atmosphere on tower bridge, noise was deafening. looked out for Denise Lewis for my interview but didn't see her. The road became really sticky at the Lucozade gel point, had to pity the woman running barefoot, that must have been really horrible. We were offered everything from jelly babies, jelly beans, haribo, Jaffa cakes, oranges, to the odd can of lager! Met up with Charlotte to run some more as she liked our strategy, Suzanne decided she needed to walk at about mile 16, was so torn whether to walk with her as she had been my rock since the start. She told us to go on so we did without her, regretted it immediately. She said she would catch us up but I felt really bad after we'd come so far together. Charlotte went to the loo soon after so I was on my own. At about mile 18 thought my left knee was going to explode, had a little wobble when my knee went from under me, immediately I heard a band at the side of the road chanting my name "go Steph, go Steph" until I had disappeared out of earshot, amazing, made me smile and made me run! I ran by some rhinos, Cinderella, the Mario bros, cool runnings bob sleigh team, an army soldier carrying a massive backpack and was surrounded by many inspirational people wearing various charity vests all with individual stories. Was amazing to run around Canary Wharf. Apparently my uni friend Anne was cheering there with her family. I could really have done with a hug from her right then, my knee pain was excruciating!
Along the route I had 4 disgusting Lucozade gels, probably 5 bottles of water, 3 gel blox, countless jelly babies, a thousand or so shout outs and I didn't hit the wall!! Woohoo, was so scared I might, but was so high on sugar I could have flown to the finish!
Couldn't believe it when I ran through the tunnel and saw a giant Stephie on a TV screen running along. Then running along the Embankment I walked for a while, decided at that point due to the pain my walking was probably as fast as my running and a little less painful. Then saw the London Eye on my left, wow! I knew I had to be close to my mum at mile 25 by that point so decided to run a little more. When I saw her I burst in to tears and said "mum everywhere hurts!" Can't remember what she said to me but remember having my photo taken whilst crying - not my best look! Decided I was way off my time by then so had to run the last mile or so. Saw Big Ben, then saw Buckingham Palace and it all felt surreal - knew I was nearly there, my watch said I had already finished before we reached Buckingham palace. The best sign of the day was turning the corner and seeing 385 yards to go. Seeing the finish line coming, I blew two kisses to my Dad, raised my arms in the air and crossed the line. What a feeling! Had a big hug from the lady giving me my medal as I cried again.
Called my sister and arranged to meet, felt really spaced out, munched on an apple going to the post race reception, I was about to get my massage, woohoo! Heather had to come with me to the toilets and virtually undress me, I hadn't really stretched out so was seizing big time. Was so spaced out, was the sugar I think! Massage was lovely though I had to wear Chris' crusty shorts as my leggings were too long and didn't really want to have the massage in my pants with people walking in and out the room!
Turns out I ran .58 of a mile further than I should as I deviated from the blue line, well that cost me about 6.5 minutes, also queuing for the loo cost me 7 minutes and hugging mum must have cost me at least another 3 so I figure I wasn't far from my 5h30m target. My actual finish time was 5h48!
Was funny trying to get back to the hotel from the reception! Stairs down to the tube were a killer, taking baby steps on a busy marathon Sunday afternoon in London is not conducive to happy travellers. Took forever to get back to the hotel, we were so slow, but we felt like celebrities and got loads of people congratulating us, loads more sympathising with our stiff walk! Eventually got back to the hotel at 8pm and decided to have curry and beer for dinner! God it was devine, we haven't had curry and beer for such a long time!
The following day we had a full English then a short stroll in the park to stretch our legs and set off to meet the kids at a pub near Woking. So lovely to see them, both wanted to wear our medals. Again we felt like celebrities with people congratulating us and wanting to shake our hands. Didn't want that feeling to end, I loved it! Was wondering, how long is it socially acceptable to wear your medal......?
One week after race day.
Had an eventful week, overshadowed by the sadness that a class mate of Amelia's had passed away after suffering from Bone Cancer for 2 years. So very tragic, such a wonderful little boy, at peace with the Angels now. Immediately made me want to run again for a cancer charity! Maybe we could organise something through school.....
Haven't exercised at all last week, could hardly walk till Weds, only took me two days to "forget the pain"!
We started this crazy journey to raise money and awareness for the BLF, a charity Dad wanted to support. I think we have done you proud Dad, raised a lot of money, got fit, realised a lifelong dream and made a lot of friends along the way. We have also given the family a focus over the last year, we needed that! We will continue to raise money for the BLF, after all Chris has a guaranteed place to run again for the BLF next year.
I've read that running marathons is like crack, now I've never taken drugs but I completely understand this concept, it's very addictive. Apologies to all friends and family, and anything I said about shooting me was obviously a joke, coz I've just entered the ballot for London 2016......... Here we go again! :)