Another consecutive day of running at least 5k ticked off today. I also ticked off my longest ever run and a new marathon pb (since your first marathon is always going to be a pb).
I slept OK, all things considered, and managed to eat all of my breakfast before heading down into town for the start of the race. A quick photo, bag drop, then into the starting pens where the MC spoke far too quickly and no-one could hear anything. Then we were off. I kept trying to stay at my target pace (08:23 min/mile), but every time I checked I was too fast, so slowed down. I think I saw every friend I knew who was volunteering in Bristol and once I passed the other half at the halfway point it was out into the wilds. I mean this literally as once I hit Conham Hill I had no idea where I was.
I managed to keep running up all of the hills (and there were many), which I was pleased with as I had allowed myself mentally to walk if I found them too tough. The support along the route was fantastic, it is definitely worth putting your name on your vest (I think the pink hair also helped). Total strangers yelling your name really helps you keep going (and kept me going too fast).
I was finally coming down to my intended pace as we entered Bath, and three miles out I started feeling like I was going to be sick. I’ve never had three gels before (topping out at two in training), and with all the juddering of the steps taken to date, I think they weren’t sitting well. I picked up a bottle of water at the second to last water station and kept it with me as a sort of comfort blanket. I calculated that I could allow myself to slow some more and still come home in under 3:45:00, so just concentrated on not throwing up. The last few hills past my nephew’s school and around Bath city centre were a bit much (running downhill was worse than uphill), but the support was great here too. A final incline and it was into Victoria Park, high-fives with the support team and over the line just behind Jane, remarkably. Then everything started to seize up and hurt, requiring me to keep walking for fear of grinding to a halt.
My official time was 03:40:21 and I moved up from 965th at halfway to 632rd at the end (the benefits of running at Ashton Court every week). I was 7th in my age category. Not bad for a first marathon (and means I don’t have to run Manchester to get a good for age time for London 2017).
As always, anyone wishing to donate to my chosen charity Cancer Research can do so on my justgiving page: here.
Got another medal for the collection: