Well, I did it! 13.1 miles in the bag.
I was struggling with various ailments in the weeks leading up to the run. As soon as I got up to the longer distances, my body began to protest and a lack of strength training make itself apparent when my knee began to niggle after a 9 mile run.
Once it came on, it was ever-present. I’m sure it’s down to ITB syndrome which is very common in runners. I managed to bag a few sports massages from Andy which certainly helped but I really needed more and there wasn’t the time before the big day.
On my long runs I’d also been really struggling with stomach cramps. Again, this is pretty common in runners but very frustrating as when they came on there was no running through it, I just had to stop. I’d had to do this a fair few times in the weeks before so was nervous about whether I had the fitness to run the full distance and also whether I’d have an attack on race day.
I’d read that immodium can stop the cramping so armed with a couple of tablets, I set out for my train. The train was jam-packed but we managed to squish in sardine-like and made it to Bath in plenty of time.
The atmosphere was amazing all around the city. I could feel the buzz as soon as I stepped off the train. When we started the weather was cold but cloudy. I set off at a nice steady pace and at 3 miles was bang on 30 minutes into it, nice, comfortable 10 minute miles.
The crowd provided much-needed motivation all the way round. The streets were lined and there were people blasting music out of cars and on their front gardens, live bands and a wonderful samba band at Queen Square, giving us a surge of euphoria as we rounded the hill. Andy and our 2 boys were camped out in Victoria Park and I managed to spot them both laps, loving my 3-year-old on his Dad’s shoulders throwing his arms in the air when I passed shouting ‘come on Mummy!’. Just a shame he was shouting it at the wrong person…
I carried on with my steady pace, and at 8 miles broke off from my 2 friends. We’d agreed that we weren’t obliged to stay together so I made the most of my energy and powered on.
Until 10 miles I found it great, my pace was just right, I felt good and was enjoying soaking up the atmosphere. Then at 10.5 miles I discovered ‘the wall’ and hit it at speed. I had nothing in reserve and kept missing the kids handing out the much-needed jelly babies. I dragged myself on to the end, willing myself to keep running. Unfortunately this coincided with the point on the course which had hardly any spectators, right when I needed them most.
I had a lonely mile or two. A girl behind me had her name on her shirt and as we met the crowds once more they all began to shout her name. I pretended I was Julie for a mile or two which did the job until Julie over took me.
I finally got to the end in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Everybody then came to a sudden halt as we waited to filter out into runners village. My legs were seizing up but I was soon joined by my friend who was just 30 seconds behind me. We shuffled through, collected our goodie bags and medals, inhaled the mars bar which was in the bag and set of to meet our other friend (who came in 10 mins later), husbands and children.
The sun had managed to creep out by this point and we wandered round a sun-drenched Bath with the rest of the tin foil covered people until we found a suitable watering-hole for a celebratory glass of wine. Tired, wobbly but happy, Andy, me and the boys made our way back to the car behind Victoria Park (not enjoying the hill) and set off for home, a hot bath and more food than I’d eaten in a long, long time. All in all a great experience and already looking forward to the next 🙂