Sunday 13 April 2014
The big day. I woke up at 6am feeling refreshed and ready (although still achy in the left calf). I ate a bacon sandwich and a couple of slices of Soreen for breakfast and started hydrating. Then it was time for a quick shower. It was only really when I started putting my running kit on that I felt a little nervous. Hubby attached my running chip to my shoe, then we did a final kit check. Simon was carrying all sorts of things for me (blister plasters, tissues, lip balm, energy bars, energy sweets… etc!) Around 7.25am, we set off. Kate, Simon and I took the train to Maze Hill (I had free travel that day – I just had to flash my running number) and we walked to Greenwich Park.
At the Red Start gates I had to say goodbye to Kate and Simon as after that point, it was “runners only”. This was around 8am; the race started at 10am. It suddenly occurred to me that I should have brought my knitting with me! Rookie mistake.
Here’s me and Kate at the entrance to the Red Start:
I made my way into the start and did a little orientation. It was great to see runners of all shapes, sizes and ages. Everyone was friendly but a little on edge (understandably). As this was my second marathon I knew that the toilet cues would start forming soon, so that was my first stop! (Sorry, there is a little toilet talk here…!) It wasn’t my only visit either! I actually spent a large part of 90 minutes queuing for the toilet as I went 4 times! I think I’d slightly over-hydrated but I was also nervous. Still, I met some nice people in the queue and we exchanged marathon stories. I noticed that there were female urinals set up but today just did not feel like a day for trying anything new!
Around 9.15am I started stretching and had a little jog, then I took my kit bag to the lorry. Incidentally this is such a well-organised system. You are given a kit bag with your running number on. Anything you wear to the start that you do not want to race with, you put in the kit bag. It’s then transported to the finish for you. There are lorries with numbers on – you just go to the right lorry and collect your bag. My knitting could have gone in there!
At around 9.30am I headed to the start zones and got lined up. The start was divided into 9 zones – the really fast runners go in zone 1 and the slower runners are at the back in zone 9. I was in zone 9. It was at this point that I started feeling very nervous, but equally, I just wanted to get going. I was becoming increasingly aware of the temperature. The day was going to be a hot one!
As you can see, everyone else behind me looked pretty nervous too!
At 10am there was some sort of movement and excitement. Had the race started?! It was hard to tell. Then we started moving forward. It was just a slow walk… but we’d definitely started! According to my official times it took me 18 minutes to get the the start line! But when I did, I hit “go” on my GPS watch and that was it. I was running my second marathon!