Wow, what a day it was!
As a result of simplifying the things which I commit to, I have more time to spend time doing the things which I enjoy and which help my mental health. Hence marathon training!!
Today and yesterday my knees feel like I am about 100, my old injury completely resurfaced around mile 12/13. But despite all that, despite all the aches and tight muscles, wanting to sleep for a week, and eat everything within touching distance, the London Marathon is completed!!!!
I ran in support of the Samaritan’s who is a mental health charity, who operate phone lines, email chats and text messages, in a confidential, nonjudgemental way. The charity allows those who are struggling through difficult times and situations, have someone to turn to and alleviate feelings of isolation and depression.
Throughout the past twelve years of suffering from Pure OCD, they have been a lifeline of support and love when I have felt alone and felt that no one understood the levels of pain I was suffering from. The space to be able to talk and know you’re not burdening your family or friends, or in the middle of the night, has enabled me to fight my way through this past decade and provides a safe space for me to empty the deepest darkest corners of my mind.
Throughout a marathon, you learn so much about your mental capacity. In fact, I would argue that it is the training which sometimes can be the toughest runs.
So here is the rundown of the marathon:
- Miles 1-9: The first part of the marathon was amazing. I had a plan, and I was sticking to my pacing plan. The crowds were phenomenal, pushing you forward and encouraging you. The sights of London including the Cutty Stark were beautiful and so overwhelming! The best part was out of 40,000 people; I met my godmother who was also running! For 2 miles, we ran together, before my stomach started to churn. Now the thing about long distance running, which they don’t tell you, is the effects on your stomach… No need to go into details, but the portaloos became my friend! A mile between each loo is a REALLY long time to run 🙈
- Mile 9-15: These were the miles of hell! I can honestly say, between the self-doubt racing through my has, the excruciating stomach cramps and the long queues for the toilets, I was ready to give in! If it weren’t for the support of my friends and family continually texting me, I would have given in. Tower bridge comes at mile 12, and I knew I had to run across it otherwise id regret it. I ran across that bridge, with determination and hope, that I would finish the race. I continued to tell myself: “This is not as hard as the longest, loneliness nights which happen.”
- Mile 15-20: Finally, my mojo was back. I had to forget my aim of a sub 5hrs, after spending nearly 30 mins queuing up for the loos, but I knew that I could do this. Fueling was none existent as I didn’t want to make my stomach ache worse. So one banana and water was all I could have. That level of fueling just wasn’t enough and definitely not something I would recommend, but unfortunately, best-laid plans sometimes don’t work. These miles felt long and hard, but I finally felt I was running again. My legs were strong and powerful. I knew my body could push through the pain and do this.
- Mile 20-26.2: These are the miles which are often called the second half of the marathon. They were hard, I can not deny it, but the end is in sight! For me, the hardest part of these last few miles were the crowds. Although the crowds are amazing, it also felt really claustrophobic and overwhelming. As someone who finds loud noises and small spaces really hard, it wasn’t the running which was hard but the mental struggle of not having a panic attack. Running down the embankment and then past the palace was incredible! Genuinely something I hope never to forget!
I ran my marathon in support of the Samaritans and all the work which they have done. They have helped me through some tough times, especially in the past two years. They provide space to talk without judgement and condemnation and enable you to release the feelings of loneliness and isolation which can so often occur during hard times.
In the future, I will write more about my running journey, but everyone can run! Everyone can run and experience the highs that come from running, and I would encourage everyone to give it a try. Let the marathon inspire you to push your mind and body to achieve one of the greatest things you can ever do.
There is still time to donate now to my fundraising, I’ve already smashed my target, it it’s a fabulous cause, click here to donate now.