Hello Fudgey Friends,
I've been procrastinating for the last 45 minutes about writing this report. My head is still buzzing & I have so much I want to share but just don't know where to start.
'Zipping up the Fudgey suit'
As it was a 10am start on Sunday we didn't need to get up as early as we had for last years half or for the Kilomathon so the alarm didn't go off till 7.15am. I'd had a migraine on Saturday afternoon and had napped for 2 hours so was pleasantly surprised to have a fantastic night's sleep & wake up feeling refreshed. First up was my usual race day breakfast of Marks & Spencer Apple & Sultana porridge - I don't know what I'll do if they ever discontinue this. I also drank about 800ml of water before we left the house, so again as usual several toilet visits too. I had laid everything out on Saturday night so there wasn't much to do other than tape my feet, get dressed and head out the door. As Mr Fudgey was coming home after the start I had a bag of stuff for him to pick up to bring to the finish - which is where I had put my purse.....so leaving the house at 8.20am I suddenly realise I need my bus pass which is in the purse....but it wasn't in the bag....couldn't remember what I had done with it & we had to go as our Sunday morning service is only 1 bus an hour & the bus was at 8.30am (Actually found the purse when we got home later on the kitchen counter - dizzy Fudgey)
The bus journey was a bit of a nightmare - the bus stopped at every stop and people got on - most of them not knowing what they were doing or where they were going. I was starting to wish I had my ipod to zone out. Eventually off the bus and I was bursting for the toilet - so dived into The Old Waverley hotel to use their facilities - then walked the short distance up to Regent road for the start.
I got a bit emotional when I top my running top out to put on - it was just a realisation of what I was about to do & why I was doing it & it all got a bit much - Mr Fudgey however at the time was filming so I am sure that the tears will somehow make it into the edited video - well I suppose it is who I am - an emotional little Fudgey.
Mr Fudgey left me at about 9.35am to head off to find a good place to cheer me on & film me from. Rather than hanging about in my start pen for 25 minutes I decided to visit the portaloos again - as usual at every event big queues. I eventually got to the front - imagine my face when I came out & the place had cleared! I rushed back up to the road but the announcer was still saying 10 minutes to the start so I hadn't missed anything Thank goodness. I joined my starting pen and slowly we inched towards the start line - there were masses of runners & I think it took nearly 15 minutes for me to actually reach the start line & then we were off.
I knew that I had to try not to get too caught up in the start of the race or head out to fast but of course I did - I looked at my garmin but was very disciplined and made myself ease off a little. Saw Mr Fudgey twice in the first km - he is an absolute star - I don't know how he manages to catch me every time.
First 5k felt brilliant - nice easy, consistent pace, could have gone faster but was really anxious not to knacker myself when I had so far to go.
Coming up to around 10km I was really encouraged to see 3 people I knew from work cheering the runners on - Fiona Mills, Richard Hope & Scott Innes. Around 13k I also saw Scott Smith who was running in the relay heading to the relay point to prepare for his leg of the run. I was feeling really good & really comfortable, even the couple of showers of rain didn't bother me as they didn't last too long & weren't too heavy.
Around 15k I saw the Bliss support team and again this really spurred me on. I was running really well & my splits were even but I wasn't sure how long I'd maintain it. I decided I'd run for as long as I possibly could & made it to 30k running nonstop. I was also delighted to see my friend Steve Kinghorn twice on the dogleg part of the course - this really spurred me on again especially when I felt something in my shoe which felt like my toenail coming off - this didn't stop me though I just hobble a little for a few steps gritted my teeth & pushed on. The toenail didn't actually come off but I think it soon will. Made it to 32km in 3 hours 43 minutes and was really pleased fastest I'd done this in training was 4 hours 3 minutes.
At this point I was certain I could make the finish in about 4 hours 50ish, but then we turned face into the wind & the next 10k were a real battle. Gusts of wind kept catching my cap & after grabbing in several times I eventually let it go at about 24 miles - it was only £1 from Asda after all. My eyes were streaming from the wind too and I was having to walk a little but I was really enjoying myself.
At around 25.5miles I saw my friends Smurfie & Lorna and this really lifted me - I was so happy to see them & they did me very proud with their cheering.
Then I could see the finish line & I saw Mr Fudgey. I was delighted to see it wasn't on the rubber mats like last years half so was able to increase the pace & sprint for the line. Both hands went in the air & punched the air in victory - I'd really done it I'd run my first Marathon.
The Finish Area
I'm not sure how but Steve had got back to the finish & met me at the finishers area so I was chatting away to him while negotiating the shambles that was the finishers area this year. There were tables with lucozade & water so I helped myself but there was no obvious organisation - in fact there wasn't even anyone directing runners were to go. It was a complete bottle neck. I was unceremoniously given a medal - last year we had our medals hung round our necks. Then I found the table with the finishers t-shirts & then the goody bags. To be fair I think the race crew were quite stressed as there were so many people in such a small street & no obvious organisation or channeling of runners. Last year at the half I had described the finish area to Mr Fudgey as a party atmosphere - not this year I was very disappointed. There was also no banana this year - though further up there seemed to be loads of discarded skins so I wonder if they had run out. We then had to negotiate around people trying to get to the baggage trucks.
I asked Mr Fudgey where Mum & Dad Smith were & he didn't know. They had dropped him off as they couldn't get near the car park. So we phoned them & they were at the reunion area. Mr Fudgey had been given directions the wrong way to the finish by a race steward - it took a runner to tell him where to go to see me finishing.
We then met Mum & Dad Smith who were gutted they hadn't seen me run as they weren't allowed near the finish area. There was no sign of the advertised big screen - but I later heard there was a screen but it was broken. The car park was not accessible by the directions supplied - so 2 parking tickets paid for - not used because my supporters couldn't get there. Also KMac & Rob couldn't get through to see me run either and were upset & angry. Both race stewards & police were downright rude to Mum & Dad Smith. It kind of took the shine off things a little. GSI Events should be ashamed of the organisation this years finish - it was an absolute disgrace. I have heard numerous similar stories from other runners & their supporters.
The Goody Bag
When we got home it was an effort to get out of the car & into the house - also captured on video! Once I'd had my ice bath though & a warm shower I felt a lot better. We went to Mum & Dad Smith for a lovely meal & also some very lovely wine - Chateau Neuf du Pape - my favorite:-)
I've had today off and everything still seems to be working fine - no running for a good few days though. My quads are a little sore today & surprisingly my collar bone is really sore possibly from battling into the wind? Tomorrow I have a facial & aback neck & shoulder massage to look forward & a celebratory meal with my fabby Mr Fudgey.
So that was my first marathon - but I am sure not my last - I totally loved it & think I really can improve my time with the right training.
Next up I have a 10k in about 4 weeks so a wee rest this week & then back to the training - better get some hills in.
Thanks again to everyone for their support.
Take Care all
lots of love