Friday, 22 May 2015

10 Things I learnt through 26.2 miles..

I did it. I completed the Virgin London Marathon 2015 and I have the medal to prove it.

In all honesty, in the moments straight after crossing the finish line and having my medal placed around my neck - I wondered if the pain and struggle I had felt were worth it. 

After meeting up with family and friends at the finish line and swapping my sweaty trainers for my comfy flip flops and checking the damage on my feet - it's safe to say I know it was totally worth it!! The feeling I felt from achieving the one goal everybody told me I could never do is indescribable. Over three weeks later and I am still telling people about it, about the day, the crowd support etc. 


Everybody learns something during 26.2 miles. Here is what I personally learnt. 

1. Anybody can complete a marathon when they put their mind to it. Yes it's a physical challenge but you can train your body to become stronger and allow you take on physical challenges - it's your mind set that is tough to train. 

2.Nobody can prepare you for what your mind or body does on the day. It doesn't matter what you trained with, or how fit you feel, anything can happen on the day. Me and my friend had trained using Gels and they worked wonders but on the day I took one gel and thought I needed to throw up for around 6 miles. During our long runs I had trained my mind on what to do, and somehow it all changed as soon as I crossed the start line. 

3.It doesn't matter who you are, or how many marathons you have run, you need support throughout the journey. It helps massively when the people around you believe in you from the start, but if they don't  - all you can do is carry on training and prove them wrong. On the day all I could think about was the mile at which I would see my parents or my friends - the thought of knowing you are nearly there and will get a hug or a kiss of support is something that I will never forget. 

4. The general public, LOVE marathon day. The support from the crowds on the streets was phenomenal. From the people standing outside their front gardens in their pajamas with a cup of coffee in Chalton to the street parties with beer and vodka around Canary Wharf. I thank everybody. Without the crowds pushing me through I'm not sure I would have made it to the finish line.

5. You will hurt in places that you never knew existed but you will never love that pain more. When I crossed the finish line I could hardly move my legs one in front of the other but I still made it to the pub, I still wanted to celebrate with friends and the pain was forgotten about. The feelings of achievement and pride take over any pain. When I finally made it home and tried to get up the stairs, it took me around 10 minutes to make it up - the struggle was crazy, but the pain felt good. I knew why I was hurting.

6. You will have emotions that you didn't have before. These emotions start way before the day, they start on the day you have a bad run and your mind says that you can't do it, that you want to take the easy route out.(Giving up was never an option but sometimes you feel you would like to) The emotions pop up when you're walking around the Excel centre and you have your number in your hand. But the emotions on the day just start, I saw a fellow 'Tommy's' runner next to me, I had read his story and knew why he was running - the emotions just started all over again.

7.You think you may have lived the greatest day of your life - until the day you complete a Marathon. I did, I thought that I had lived one of the greatest days of my life, the days when you feel pure ecstasy, the days when you have indescribable feelings. Multiply this by infinity and you have the moment you cross the finish line.

8. When I was training somebody from my Tommy's team sent round an email with this advice..

'It doesn't matter about the time you finish in, all that matters is that you finish. The first thing someone will ask you is 'Did you do it?' and then they will ask you what time you did it in, no matter what time you tell them they will always follow it up with 'I could never do that''

This piece of advice is by far the best advice anyone ever gave me and the most true. I finished an hour slower than I would have hoped for but I still finished and people respect that. I still have the same medal as others that finished faster and we still covered the same amount of miles in the time that our bodies allowed us.

Time doesn't matter.

9. I actually enjoy running. throughout the whole of my training I have wondered why on earth I signed up to run 26.2 miles. I HATE running. I'm not a runner, I'm not an athlete.
Actually, I love running now, the Marathon gave me such a feeling that I couldn't wait to get back to it when I had recovered. I am constantly looking for other races to enter to improve my time and if I miss a couple of days without running I feel lost.

10. Post Marathon Blues do exist. Just the same as post holiday blues. They're real and they're up there with one of the worst feelings I have felt. After the congratulations and the celebrations, it's back to normal and everybody else is back to their everyday lives. Nobody is too bothered about your marathon after you've told them the basics. I have my achievement in my brain every single day - If I can do that, I can do anything.

26th April 2015