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Run, Squeezy, Run!

May 14, 2010

This post is nearly as long as a marathon, so, as always, for your convenience, I have provided a handy synopsis at the end.

So, the London Marathon, I bet you’ve all been wondering if I was still on the course, lost somewhere, wondering if I’d make it to the finish line by next year. Never fear, I did make it to the end so, here it is, my marathon story. I’ve broken it down into an epic timeline so you can “(re)live the dream” that was the London Marathon 2010. It was like Ben Hur with portaloos:

Sunday 25th April 2010

2:30am Wake up raring to go, realise have woken up THREE HOURS TOO EARLY!

2:32am Panic about not getting enough sleep

2:33am Panic about panicking about not getting enough sleep

2:34am Panic about panicking about panicking, oh, this could go on forever..

3:15am Woken up by cat, cat not running London Marathon

3:16-5:57am Cat seriously risking completing London Marathon via my boot up her arse

5:58am Finally go back to sleep

6:00am Alarm goes off. Wake up

6:02am Go back to sleep again

6:10am !”£%&*&$%£!

6:11am Get up in panic and realise I have 20 minutes to get dressed, have breakfast, and take 15-min walk to train station

6:12am Leave house while getting dressed, inadvertently flash the only other idiot awake at that time on a Sunday morning.

6:30am Arrive at train station for 6:32 train

6:32am Miss the !£$%”$%£” train BY THREE SECONDS

6:33am Swear at guard*

***NOW, TIME FOR A PLEASANT INTERLUDE, FEATURING SURPRISED KITTY, WHILE SQUEEZY SWEARS LIKE A TROOPER FOR AN HOUR***

7:33am Regain composure, board next train, fall asleep with nervous exhaustion

8:00am-8:30am Wake up in fit of panic, get off train, get on tube, reassured by other runners on tube

8:30am Some runners get off tube, wait! Some are staying on, aaarrghh, what to do? Are they really runners or off to some bizarre “Paula Radcliffe ‘Doin’ it in the Streets’ event”?

8:45am Meet nice man who tells me I have plenty of time

8:46am Worry about whether I have plenty of time

9:35am Arrive at Greenwich at same time as raincloud

9:40am Need wee

9:45am Go for wee, gun goes off, vacate cubicle barely decent

9:46am Panic everyone has gone without me

10:05am GO GO GO!

10:06am Still queuing for start line

10:10am Shuffle over start line

And so begins 26.2 miles of my first ever marathon. Am I excited? Yes! Am I nervous? Yes. Do I need another wee? YES (more on that later). I’m surrounded by a hoard of runners of all shapes and sizes, even some that appear to belong to a different species. This is going to be FUN!

10:10am-11:02am All goes without hitch, am anointed TWICE with holy water, do not spontaneously combust

11:02am-12:00pm Have a feeling, this may take some time

12:00pm-12:30pm Begin to be overtaken; Batman, two poodles, man with fridge on back, different Batman (or possibly the first one lapping me)

12:31pm Realise this will take some considerable time.

12:32pm Remember I need a wee, think about needing a wee for next 33 mins

1:05pm Join back of queue for loo

1:20pm Reach front of queue for loo

1:22pm Realise have wasted 15 mins, exit cubicle like bat out of hell

I’m happy with the way it’s going, all the same – I realise I’m not going to break any records, and just resign myself to the fact that getting to the finish will be an achievement. As I make my way along the route, I suddenly realise the dozens of St John’s Ambulance people holding their begloved hands out aren’t trying to high five me, they’re handing out Vaseline! It’s not nearly as effective as Lucozade gel, tastes a bit of hospitals. People cheer along the route as I go, it dawns on me that people can’t read my name properly. I get called “Suzy” a handful of times, “Squidgy” is shouted with enthusiasm, a well-meaning spectator shouts “Keep going Squeaky!”. Then finally, a curly-haired cherub shouts “Come on Squeezy!”. I’m happy.

2:32pm Overtaken by man dressed as toilet

2:33pm Realise I need another wee

2:35pm Join back of queue for the loo, suspicious it is the same queue I joined an hour and a half ago

2:52pm Reach front of queue for loo, realise I don’t need loo, go to loo anyway

It’s at this point I realise my breakfast of tasty energy gels, washed down with tasty energy drink, supplemented by tasty energy tablets isn’t really the breakfast of kings. I’m VERY hungry now – but wait! I remember! I’ve heard tell of a legendary sandwich contained within the magical bag of dreams** handed to each runner upon completing the race. The thought of that alone will keep me going to the end!

2:53pm Realise excessive consumption of energy products leads to involuntary delirium

2:54pm Begin to fixate on infamous sandwich.

2:55pm Still fixating on sandwich

2:57pm Yes, it’s that sandwich again

2:58pm Seven miles til sandwich time. Mysteriously pick up pace

3:37pm Crowds get louder, I just want my sandwich

3:55pm SANDWICH

4:02pm I’ve nearly done it. LOOK! THERE IT IS, THERE IT IS, THERE’S THE FINISH LINE!

4:03pm Overtaken by sausage*** followed by Dalmatian in hot pursuit

4:04pm Time for my “sprint” finish, I race down the Mall, finish line in my sights

4:07pm I’VE DONE IT! I crossed the finish line! Ooh get me! Got my medal, OKTHXBYE. Now, WHERE IS MY SANDWICH?

And there we have it, 26.2 miles, 6hrs 1 min later, and I’m a marathon runner, how do I feel? Pretty good actually, I’m surprisingly chirpy, not tired (honestly). I feel lucky to have got away with months of training with no serious injuries and not one blister. How did I manage that? I don’t know but I’m pleased. People around me are crying, collapsing, jumping for joy. I’m quietly happy, but at the same time a little disappointed; the inner critic in me says “Could do better”, well, shut up inner critic, I ran a marathon. I ran a marathon!

There are those who think the marathon should be reserved only for the fastest of runners. That people like me are merely “joggers”, not good enough to participate in events such as this. We just get in the way, our presence has meant that the London Marathon is no longer a “serious” event. This, I just don’t understand. Surely the runner who has toiled for months and struggled with a discipline with which they may have no natural affinity, to finally run the biggest race of their lives, however slowly that may be, is as much a sportsperson as the individual who eats, sleeps and breathes long distance running and who manages to nail sub three-hour times with some ease. Sport, to me, is not about being faster or stronger or better than anyone else, it’s like anything in life, it’s about doing your best. I’ve said this before, there will always be people who are better than you, whether we’re talking sport, an academic discipline, cooking, anything, and if you think you’re the best, you need a humility check. I mean, I’m not the greatest runner, but I’m pretty good at karate, yes, that’s right, so the next “elite” who says something about people like me competing in “serious” races will get a karate chop!

So, I know, on a different day, I definitely could’ve run faster, tried harder, not gone to the loo as much, but honestly, does it really matter? My performance on the day wasn’t the best I’ve ever managed; I know that I could’ve managed a 4h 30 min marathon, I’d proved it before. My performance in the marathon was the best I could manage on that day and besides, there’s always next year. I like the fact that I’ve given myself comfortable room for improvement!

Anyway, dear reader, back to more weighty matters: did I get my sandwich?****

*I didn’t actually swear at him, he was 6’4” and had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp

** Subsequently used as a receptacle for the contents of the cat’s litter tray

*** Didn’t I threaten to kneecap him way back in March?

****NO (I’m too distraught to elaborate*****)

*****Actually, I’m not. Can you believe it – I run 26.2 miles and they don’t even have the decency to provide me with a sandwich? NO BLEEDIN SANDWICH, I ask you! THE AUDACITY!

Synopsis:

I ran the London Marathon, I didn’t get a sandwich

Epilogue:

Three days after the London Marathon, I enter the Loch Ness Marathon; they’d better not be lying about the FREE SOUP.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2010 10:41 am

    Well done you!!! I’m still mega impressed.

    I think it would take me six days to run a marathon!

    I’m sending you mental sandwiches!!

    • May 14, 2010 10:47 am

      Haha! “Mental” sandwiches. Now I have images racing around my head of crazy sandwiches running about terrorising small children.
      Thank you my lovely, I bet if you wanted to, you could do it but you probably have better things to do 🙂
      Thank you AGAIN for being so supportive. XXX

      • May 14, 2010 1:08 pm

        I used to have a dream about being squished by a giant pair of wellie boots but that may now be overtaken by deadly killer sandwiches!!

        I am quite happy to not test my marathon running abilities! I’d rather just donate some knitting – which I will do soon BTW.

        Fxx

      • May 14, 2010 1:15 pm

        You. Are. Lovely! 🙂

  2. May 14, 2010 3:07 pm

    Agree with you about the ‘elite’ runners. I wish the TV coverage didn’t devote so much time to the various elite races. Watching somebody run (no matter how well) for a very long time is DULL – I’d much rather hear from the non-pro runners: why have they entered? Are they raising money for a charity? Did they lose a bet? All these stories are what gives the Marathon its character.

    • May 15, 2010 10:59 am

      I think you’re right. I think there perhaps ought to be a bit more balance. Sport should be all inclusive, in these times when many of us (yes, me too) are too sedentary, we should be trying to inspire and encourage others to have a go. Great sporting achievements are not just about gold medals and world records, it’s also about the amputee soldier, called Ben, I ran next to for a while, it’s about the lady I know who struggled with an injury and ran anyway so she could give her medal to the sick young boy she’d promised it to. Those people are also sporting heroes!

  3. slorunnermom permalink
    May 15, 2010 1:01 am

    Fantastic! I loved this post and your play-by-play. I hope that I’ll want to run another one after I take on my first this fall. Right now I’m just still a little in that “oh crap what did I just sign myself up for!?” mode. Congrats and AWESOME job.

    • May 15, 2010 10:55 am

      Thank you so much! I wanted to run another one as soon as I finished this one, it is addictive. I think that you’ll be very pleased you signed yourself up and I think your family will be so proud, you are all runners, is that right? I look forward to all your training tweets. I’ll be cheering you on come your first marathon in the fall!

  4. August 16, 2010 2:17 pm

    Just catching up with your blog on a rainy day in the Alps. This had me in stitches – very funny. You have a great attitude to life & you ran a marathon – a very belated well done to you!

  5. Cavin Wright permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:02 pm

    Hahahahaha!
    Excellent! Very funny!
    And congrats on finishing!
    Well done!

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