I am sorry to have taken so long to write this post. The last few days have been a roller coaster of emotion and activity, but here I am, better late than never !!
Sunday dawned bright and sunny - a beautiful day. I was up at 5 am to shower and have my porridge for breakfast and then off I went to meet the coach to go to Blackheath. Apart from a nervous feeling in my tummy I felt so focussed and ready. I dropped my kit bag on the baggage lorry and lined up in my pen to run. In the distance we could see the line of runners starting to move and the atmosphere was electric.
I set off a little worried about my run/walk strategy - worried that I would slow others down or trip someone up, but I shouldn't have worried at all as it went well. I jogged along nicely in the brilliant sunshine and after 6 miles I was on 5 and a half hour pace. As the time went on I could see black clouds in the distance, brooding ominously. And as the clouds gathered I began to feel unwell. My tummy was cramping and I just felt awful. The heavens opened and summer became winter. I was wet, cold and ill. The rain turned to hail and I began to laugh - the ridiculous thought of running a marathon in weather like that !! At least I had done my 20 miles in the snow so I was marginally prepared !!
My wonderful Man, my boys and my friend Sarah were there for me, as was the gorgeous GB1 and her children. Sarah gave me her running jacket so I was warm. My Man gave me hugs and love and encouragement, but I could tell from their faces that they were worried about me.
From mile 8 to mile 18 I struggled on. All thoughts of time disappeared and only the determination that I had to finish spurred me on. If I have to walk I will walk. If I have to crawl I will crawl. I will finish this. I decided to just click down the miles. One by one. One by one.
At mile 18 I started to feel ok again. Like sunshine after a storm my body began to feel warm and capable. I had been walking and then running occasionally, but now I could run and walk. I began to spot people ahead of me and pick them off. One by one I passed them. My knee was sore, but I kept stretching and running seemed to help rather than hinder.
At mile 21 I allowed myself to believe that I could do this. I could finish. That gave me strength and I felt a warm confidence spreading through me. On I went. At the corner of the Mall I saw my Man and my boys and Sarah and I don't think I have ever felt anything like it. I tied my jacket round my waist ( ready for a finishing photo !!), turned the corner and ahead of me was the Finish. The crowd cheered my name as I ran down the Mall. I ran as fast as I could - and because I was running where others were walking wounded, they cheered me more. I ran through the Finish with my arms aloft and the biggest happiest smile ever on my face. I was laughing and full of absolute joy. As the lady handed me my medal I nearly cracked. " I have dreamt of this moment for so long !!"
And now ? Its over. I have done it. I didn't do it as fast as I could have, but to get that medal I was strong and determined, single-minded. Not many people have a London Marathon medal, but I do, and I feel proud.