I did it, it has taken me 35 years to finally train for and complete, but finally I have run a marathon. I loved running the marathon, I felt I had a new lease of life!
Why run 26.2 miles? My Dad ran two marathons when I was young and I remember him being out for the long runs in all weathers, coming back soaked through and I vividly remember the banner we made, I think it said ‘Run for Fun Dad’! Though I do remember the Snoopy trophy we gave him saying ‘Run for Fun’ – is marathon training and the race itself for fun, that may be debateable! A few years ago my sister in law, Liz, ran the London Marathon, my brother, Ken followed then running the London Marathon and then last year, Brighton.
The Training…. At Christmas this year, I was running 6 miles about once a week quite comfortably. Each week I started to increase the mileage – for the first few weeks it was fine. Then 10 MILEs happened – ouch, my muscles in my legs ached like I had never felt, when I got to 9 miles I had to really pull myself around the next mile. Uh oh, how was I going to run 26.2 miles in a few months! This is when I found my support team – Emma Travis, who was also running the marathon and the crew from Almost Athletes (especially Kate Sprosen. Michelle Carroll and Pete Hooper) and my trusty clients who got me going. The 10 miles started to get easier….
…. then one day, Pete Hooper from ‘Up and Running’ suggested I joined the 6pm running group who run 6/7 miles before and in addition to the regular 5/6 mile run on a Wednesday run. He warned me that is was fast. I was scared. it was very fast. I went. I survived. It made me strong and it made my marathon happen.
Running with friends, clients and club runners made marathon training fun and enjoyable. I found out I am not much of a sole runner. My Dad would enjoy going out for long runs by himself, but I like to be with people, have a little chat, concentrate on my breathing, chat again, have a drink, breathing and so on…Everyone is different, so everyone has different methods of training.
Throughout the training. my Dad would say that I had to get to the 20 mile distance to even start to become a long distance runner. I did the Gloucester 20 mile race, and after that my Dad said ‘Well Done – you are now running long distance’ – however to me, anything over my 6 trusty miles is long distance!
THE MARATHON! When the race started I was on my own, slightly conscious of the many people around me and that I had started at the 4 hr 15 min pace maker when I really wanted to complete in 4 hours. I was not able to get through many so felt slightly behind my time at the first mile, then I bumped in Pete from the Almost Athletes and Up and Running, where I do some Personal Training sessions. We stuck together for the first 15 miles, we didn’t say much too each other but it was good company. This was Pete’s TENTH marathon, and he is only in his early 30’s! He taught me the ‘marathon ways’ or Pete’s version of it anyway which worked for me! We kept it steady at 8.1 / 8.2 min miling and continued to pass people to get to the 4 hr pacer. We found him and passed him and felt strong. At 15 miles we lost each other and for the remainder of the race, it was just me and my legs! The crowd was amazing, I saw Simon, my husband three times, my Mum and Dad saw me twice, I saw Kat from Chapel Spa twice and an old friend, Jackie from uni twice – plus I have my name blazened across my chest, so everyone was cheering me on – it was the most amazing feeling. I felt good throughout the race though was very happy to see the 20 mile. The last 6.2 miles was unknown territory as I had only completed 20 miles in training but somehow I covered the miles and completed in 3 hrs 38 mins – exactly the same time which my brother had completed the Brighton Marathon 2011! The worst bit for me was at the end when you stop, and I had to walk all they way to the end to meet my parents and Simon, my legs were so sore! However, I loved it! I felt I had completed a lifetime challenge!
I would highly recommend setting a challenge and doing it, set the challenge within your sights and one which can be supported by friends and family. I have two young children and a very patient Husband who supported me throughout.
My next challenge is to run a half marathon, chatting to a friend tonight I was saying that I wanted a good time, but after a chat we decided that we were both going to do it, not get het up about times, but to do it and enjoy it. I did the marathon and enjoyed and was very happy with my time of 3 hrs 38 minutes.
Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to run London Marathon 2013 as I got my ‘Good for Age’ time, and I am sure it will be a competely different story. That is the special thing about challenges, they are all different and keep you on your toes.
WINSTON’S WISH – I have been raising money for Winston’s Wish, the child bereavement charity. I have rasied money for them through organising events and friend and family sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor please click on http://www.justgiving.com/Kirsty-Ellson . It was a proud moment to wear the Winston’s Wish vest and to be able to raise 100’s of £ by running 26.2 miles 🙂
Any comments about your own experiences are very welcome,