London Marathon 2015
As luck would have it I trained for my first marathon in 4 years thru the “Winter from Hell”. Ice storms, freezing cold temperatures, and lots of just plain miserable conditions.
I was looking forward to getting the race over with since I was getting tired and also developed a mild case of plantar fasciitis 3 weeks before the marathon.
I spent the last 2 weeks before the race not running and getting my foot aggressively treated. You name it I did it to try and relieve the tenderness in my right foot.
We arrived in London and I went for a 3km shake-out run the day before the marathon. My foot was sore. I was panicked.
Race morning came and it was cold, windy and threatening rain all day. Typical England weather. I was less than thrilled. But I’d come all the way across the ocean so I didn’t have a choice. I taped up my foot with the K tape I’d bought at the expo and off I went.
We were bused out to the start and the weather was the same. The 20 BRC runners that made the trek were all wrapped in garbage bags and huddled on a tarp.
I distinctly remember being very distressed and saying “I don’t want to do this, I really don’t want to do this”. There was colourful language in there as well.
Before I knew it we we’re being told to put our bags on the “lorries” and headed off to the corrals. By the absolute grace of God I was in the same corral as Beth Agro.
She has been a constant source of inspiration for me since we started instructing clinics together last summer and definitely got me thru the marathon training.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Beth. She truly is a runner that loves to run and is unapologetic about her lack of competiveness. She just loves to get people to love running.
Okay, back to the race. I’m standing in the back of the corral with Beth and this weird Zen feeling came over me.
I looked at her and said “whatever happens I’m just going to enjoy this. I don’t care about my time I just want to have fun”
If you know me at all this about the last thing anyone would ever expect me to say about running in general, let alone running a marathon.
But I just didn’t want to stress out about my foot. I had taken 3 Advil’s but wasn’t sure if they would do the trick. And if I put pressure on myself to run a certain time I thought I’d be doing more harm than good.
Off we go and almost immediately I lose Beth in the crowds. From Mile 2 to the end I was alone. But I didn’t mind at all because I took in everything around me.
I high-fived every little hand that was out-stretched. I took candy from strangers. I danced and smiled and laughed when I saw all the outrageous costumes runners were wearing.
Around the half-way point we turned the corner and there was Tower Bridge. It brought a lot of gasps from the runners because we had no idea it was there.
I was loving the race so much I stopped to take pictures for 2 ladies that had their phones out. My attitude was I’m not going to win so why shouldn’t I make someone else’s experience that much better?
After that my quads were starting to get very sore, but I still took my walk breaks.
Funny that outside of Canada people don’t understand/know the practice. I got a lot of people asking me if I was alright.
I’m like yeah, it’s legal in Canada to walk 😉
Around 22 or 23km, the route crossed paths with the people that were at the 35km mark. I had seen the 3 hour pace bunny go by so I knew I would most likely see the fast BRC guys/girls.
The only person I saw was my husband. It was a great thing to happen. He looked good and he was having a great race. He was pleasantly surprised to see me smiling.
He thought for sure I would be miserable and walking. Most other times, yes, but not that day.
The rest of the race went by in a blur. When times got tough I repeated this mantra over and over: “Stay Strong. Enjoy it. You can do this”.
I remember the crowds being so loud I couldn’t hear my music. And the crowds were just so wonderful.
I’ve run Chicago and they have great spectators, but since drinking on the streets of London is allowed, these spectators were that much more joyful.
With about 4km to go I’m heading down the homestretch and the crowds are just going crazy. In the distance was Big Ben and the Thames was on my left.
Apparently I was very close to Joanne and Lesley but I never heard them yelling at me. They could have reached out and grabbed me I was that close. But it was also that loud.
We turn onto Bird Cage Walk and I thought to myself “holy shit, that’s a long way to go”. 600 meters felt like 6km. I still took my walk break. I was in pain and needed to stop.
My quads were burning and my left knee was bugging me. But my right foot never bothered me once. Go figure.
We turned at Buckingham Palace and there was the blessed finish line!
I’ve never cried after finishing a marathon, mostly I just curse and scowl. But a smile was plastered on my face that would not go away.
I was amazed that I did it and proud of myself for having a positive attitude for the whole 4 hours and 43 mins.
Bring on NYC!