So the day had come! I had been up Edinburgh since the Thursday. I went to the castle Friday and Saturday me and Rachel just walked around Edinburgh. I probably didn’t rest enough but think getting out and doing bits kept my mind off of what was coming on Sunday.
Luckily our hotel was right at the start, so we got up early, grabbed some breakfast then went back to the hotel and we got ready. We knew a fair few people running it so we all headed to the start together. I was the only one who hadn’t done a marathon before so was a tad nervous. I still had in my head that I had only done 1 run of 18miles in my training and had my knee problems in the back of my head.
So 9:40 came and we went in to our pens, I was in the gold stripe pen right to the back as I said my finish time was around 4:45-5hrs. Realistically I just wanted to get round before that 6hr 30min sweeper bus time!
Our support left us in the pens and headed to the start line to try see us off. 10am came and the race was underway. It took probably around 5minutes or so to reach the start line from where I was.
I had a plan to go out quiet quick as I felt that if I took it too slow it could backfire on me later in the race if I had to walk a lot from my knee. I set off at probably too fast a pace. I hit 10km in 54minutes [5 minutes off my fastest 10km] where I saw all the Crisis team cheering me on. I then hit the half way point at 2:05 [12 minutes off my fastest half marathon]. When I hit half way, at a fast pace for me I still felt ok and actually started to think I could do this in 4:30. It only took a couple of miles after this to realise it was a down hill slop from here. I stupidly put new inner soles in my shoes [for my flat feet] which I hadn’t run in yet. My feet were absolutely killing around mile 15. My knee felt great on the other hand, which I think was massively helped by the inner soles so it win/lose situation. Mile 18 came where you turn around and go back on yourself, the 18th mile!!! The maximum distance I had run prior. This is the point where I started to really struggle. I mentally was shot! There was no crowd support at this point, I had no music to zone out in to, my feet were a mess and we had to run the last 8 miles the same way we just come from. It was quiet mentally challenging that last 8 miles for me and that is where I really lost my time. I was down to something like 12-13 minute miles, I was taking lots of walking breaks and getting cramp overtime I started to get a rhythm.
It was a weird few miles, 18-20 was a slug then 20-24 I think I must have gone in to some trance as I can’t really remember it. But 24-finish was horrible! It took forever!! The wind had really picked up and was going right in to our faces. I remember getting to mile 25 and thinking come on last mile lets pick it up, then a massive gust of wind and some rain started [thank god only for a minute or so] and I was cramping up. I remember thinking ‘I will walk a little more’. I got a text from Rachel letting me know she was at the finish, the corner before the straight. I hit mile 26 and spotted my Mum & Dad straight away, so headed their way to say hi. I went round the corner and their was Rachel, I headed over to her again to say hi then headed for the finish. I crossed the finish line and got my medal! The only thing I wanted. It felt awesome! My finish time was a little slower than I wanted but I got round, which was the main aim! I finished by my Garmin watch at 5:05 by my Nike app 5:04 and by my official chip time was 5:08.
Overall it was a great experience. I am so glad I done it! I am going to try to get to the London Marathon next year as I feel with a lot more support around the course I could mentally overcome that 18mile hoodoo! Now I also know I can physically get over those last 8 miles I will be a lot more mentally prepared for London! Lets hope I can get in, so I can start another one of these blog categories! The trainings been fun and horrible at the same time, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it! If you are debating whether to take up the challenge of a marathon! Do it! Its well worth the training in the end, but its not easy!