London Marathon 2015 - Better with friends

Saturday 4th April 2015 - 20 miles

20 miles is done. Next stop...the big day.

(sorry it's a long one)


It's been a slightly stressful week. Cats going missing, kids on school holidays, hotels being cancelled and injured legs.

Seeing the physio (again) this week, it was decided that my leg problem was the result of a repetitive strain injury. Therefore it was strapped up ready for my last big run on Saturday...this was Wednesday and I was told to keep it dry. No showers for me for a few days then! Teaching yoga with this all on was interesting!!!

Then, on Thursday morning, I received a phone call from to say that my booking had been cancelled for my marathon hotel. When they told me the hotel had been overbooked I was more than a little livid! Later I discovered that the original hotel had had some flooding so every booking needed relocating. Six phone calls later and the promise of a downgrade at no extra cost (yes really), I manage to get booked into the Radisson Blue in Canary Wharf, and definitely at no extra cost to me. Disaster averted.

I knew I was going to need help to get through the 20 mile run so it was time to call in the cavalry. A quick note on Facebook on Friday lunchtime asking if anyone wanted to join me for any of my 4x5 mile loops and I soon had 7 willing companions.

On the morning I tested out the Garmin Live Tracking feature. Using my Garmin and my phone I could post my whereabouts on Facebook. Pretty cool feature I think, it seemed to get people excited anyway. And if I was on my own I'm hoping someone would see that I had collapsed in a bush somewhere!!

Loop 1 - parkrun

It was raining first thing which was a little disappointing as I headed off to parkrun. Didn't stop the Kesgrave parkrunners though - 180ish I believe on Saturday. It's a great start to a 20 mile run, and I'm looking forward to getting back to just running parkrun! Alastair and Jessica accompanied me and it was slow, steady and comfortable. Straight through the finishing funnel and the additional 1.5 miles back to the car with Denise in tow this time.

Loop 2 5-10 miles

Sarah met Denise and I at the car park (she was running a little late so had a sprint down long strops to meet us - she needed a challenge anyway) and then it was a steady 5 miles. This loop probably contained most of the hills but I felt comfortable and completed the 5 miles without too many problems. If I'm honest, if it wasn't for the girls, I would have walked up those hills. I was beginning to get a problem with the strapping at this point, it was really cutting into my ankle, but I continued with it anyway.

Loop 3 10-15 miles

Picked up Alastair and Helen for this loop. This was probably the hardest overall of the 3 loops (nothing to do with the company I hasten to add) and it was the first time I walked (at about 14 miles). Helen had warned me she would probably drop out before the 5 miles but I had faith in her, and at my snail pace she had no trouble whatsoever. Alastair was a harder task-master, and it's probably what I man up a little bit. I did really struggle towards the end of this 5 miles and wasn't quite sure how I would do another 5. Carina met us on the way back for the final 5 which was a boost.

Loop 4 15-20 miles

Bridget also joined Carina and I for this loop, and I knew if anyone could talk me round it would be her. Legs were feeling a bit better but there was lots of walking and I kept getting cramp in my quad so there were lots of stops, I couldn't run through it. Karina and Jackie (from parkrun) had come out to cheer us on the way, which was amazingly supportive, I was so chuffed. Jessica met us for the final 1.5 miles so adding another dynamic. Got back to the car park and I was slightly under the 20 miles so we had to do a few loops of the car park to get the distance up...that was hell. Then finally we got there. Pretty much bang on 4 hours so I was more than happy with that, no tears and my inner demons stayed where they belonged, inside.

It was probably my most successful long run overall and not just because it was the furthest. Being with supportive, positive people every step of the way was a huge confidence booster. I couldn't have done it without them. But not only those that ran with me, all those and their kind words before, during and after the run. I really was overwhelmed and choked, and if you know me well then I need not say anymore.

I arrived home thinking I was relatively unscathed all being considered, other than legs screaming at me. I took off the strapping to discover most of the skin on my ankle had been removed. I could cope with that...or I thought I could until I had a salty bath the next day....ouchy!!!

It wasn't until later when I was preparing dinner that the fainting episodes began. I wasn't right at all; nauseous, dizzy, restless, loss of appetite. I was pretty sure it was low sodium levels that were the cause and this would explain the cramping as well. This lasted a good 24 hours before I felt right again. I have also inadvertently discovered why you shouldn't take anti-inflammatories before a race - because this also effects the sodium levels. So I will be increasing my salt-intake over the next 3 weeks.

It's done now and all I have to worry about is tapering the miles, getting plenty of rest and ticking off the days until this whole sorry episode is over.

I am running the London Marathon for the The Sunrise Appeal, part of the Ipswich Hospital Charity. You can sponsor me here