The London Marathon
My turn on the blog this week and I have to say I am delighted that I have the honour of the London Marathon piece. It was an incredible experience to say the least and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster!
Whilst other runners were tapering for the big event we were still hammering it on all levels. I have been lucky enough to experience the New York & Berlin Marathons and they have been huge events and the final destination in months of training. London was different! Psychologically it took some time for me to get my head around that this Marathon was part of the journey and not the destination. Kevin reflected this in our training with very little tapering as the legs need to work when fatigued and we need to build our endurance. So there was a bit of a drop in running, however the rowing and cycling was still at a high intensity and duration. Tapering may have helped us do better in the Marathon but as far as Arch2Arc is concerned it would have been detrimental to our training. See the big picture is what Kevin told us! I got there in the end!
High Drama at McEwan Manor
The registration document had been sitting on the kitchen workout since it came through the door. I left it there so I knew where it was. There would be no drama for this boy. Well until I actually went to get it and it wasn’t there! Jules and I pulled the place apart. Mail from years ago was discovered but the most important piece of paper in my life at that time was nowhere to be seen. Needless to say Jules was giving me pelters. “You are so last minute!” “How could you be so careless”, I am sure you get the picture. Where the added challenge was that I wasn’t picking my number up at the expo, Barry was doing it for me as I had work commitments on the Friday and wasn’t arriving in London till Saturday evening. So after a fair bit of panic we sorted it out with the London Marathon office and could breathe a sigh of relief.
In the end we got to the bottom of the registration form mystery. The lovely Julie McEwan had thrown it out with the London Marathon magazine! I have no words!
Jules and I got into London about 9pm and went straight for food with the Barry & his clan. I have to say I was dying for a nice red with my pasta but being the consummate professional I went for the water! We had a big day the next day after all! We then went round to our hotel. I have to say I was quite impressed by the Ibis London Euston, much better than expected. If you are staying around there, I would recommend it. A quick preparation for the next day and it was off to bed! Actually swept well considering I had the “Battle Fever”
I am a creature of habit, just ask Jules. So when the advice for the prep for the marathon is stick to your routine it is right up my street. Same pasta dishes a couple of days before, same bagels and banana before the run and plenty fluids! Perfect!
The excitement of getting to the start builds and is halted when the three stooges realise that none of us actually know where we are going! A damsel, in not so much distress as us helped us on our way and we got to the start in good time. When I do a big organised run I wear older clothes to keep me warm prior to the start but also the added bonus is that when you discard them, they are collected for charity, so you are doing your bit. Big Hollywood Reilly had a belter of a Nike track suit top that he had worn twice that he was donating. I was going to go back for it myself! Oh! how the other half live!
Baz and I decided to run together and keep a steady pace. Dean would be doing a slower pace than us and taking selfies so it made sense. From the start I was blown away by the crowds. I had done New York and Berlin but I have to say they are nowhere near as good as the London crowd. The support from start to finish was incredible. Some of the sights were hilarious. We had one guy DJing from his balcony as if he was playing at T in the Park! Great patter! The signs people had were also superb, some hilarious but my favourite was always beer related. Funny that!
I have to say that going round at a steady 11 minute mile pace was a joy! Barry and I had great banter with the crowds. It freaks me out a bit to think that we were laughing so much going round on what should have been torture! Now don’t get me wrong we were still working hard but between the crowds, the banter and the sweets we were given all round the course we were having a great time. The Crohns and Colitis UK cheering point was at 13 miles and it was great to see everyone. Jules, Kirsteen, Jenny and Alex were cheering us on and it really does give you a lift. Hats off to the Crohn’s & Colitis UK team as they picked a great spot where we also seen them at 22 miles, when we really needed the lift!!!!!
It’s incredible the lift that a stranger calling your name and encouraging you gives. You smile or cheer back depending on how vocal they are and trot away on a little high. We had loads of banter with Barry’s T-Shirt as he had “Barry Cook” on his and not just “Barry” courtesy of a kind lady in his work. It produced a few laughs between us and the crowd on many occasions! I think maybe the kind soul who got it printed maybe thought Barry wouldn’t be able to remember his second name by the end! So I would just like to thank the lady who got it printed. You are a hero!
We weren’t so jovial by the time we hit 22 miles! We saw the guys at the the Crohns & Colitis Uk cheering point again which gave us a life and then moved on. The last 4 miles (Actually 5 according to my watch) was painful. Aches and pains a plenty but the crowd got us through.
Running the last 1000 metres past Buckingham Palace and up the Mall with thousands cheering us on was fantastic and a memory that will live with me for the rest of my life. It was very special. We crossed the line and received our medals, hugged it out and if I’m honest I shed a wee tear. I obviously walked away from Barry at this point as this would not be the “done” thing for tough guys like us! It’s easy to get emotional on these days and I always do. I remember not only the incredible challenge but the reason why I am doing it; In memory of my wee mum, Catherine and to help as many people as I can who suffer from Crohns and Colitis.
Crohns & Colitis UK had put on a great reception after the run only a few hundred yards from the finishing line so we headed up there to meet the team and get a few beers and a massage. We met some fellow runners and supporters and it was a nice to mingle and share our stories of the day. We headed back to the hotel after that and teamed up with Dean for food, more beers and plenty laughs!
A massive thanks to everyone for their incredible support, encouragement and digging deep. The first major challenge is now complete and we are entering the business end of this Arch2Arc journey! Bring it on!!!!!!