The body

I had an awful nights sleep after the marathon. I would have thought I would have been so tired that I would have surfaced sometime in July. I did manage about an hours worth but then tossed and turned for the rest of the night. I managed to get away with only one trip to the toilet during the night as to actually get to a vertical position was a near impossible feat.

All I felt like doing on the Monday was eat. The contents of my second goody bag  (courtesy of Sue in celebration of my efforts) was mainly chocolate and although I would normally hoover this material up, its aid to physical recovery was next to zero. The psychological comforting benefits were still being explored, just to make sure.

My physical being on the Monday could be summed up by the following YouTube clip.

Stairs were really difficult, going either up or down. Getting in and out of a seated position was absolute torture, particularly the toilet. I was ‘Mick of the Dead’

I had an appointment with Colin in the afternoon to relieve my quads that had undergone tectonic levels of transformation and in need of some toe-curling manipulation. I could feel the release of these troublesome muscle groups through gritted teeth, and normal service was being resumed. Although it would still be another few days until all the stiffness and pain would fully subside.

The only lasting affect on the body is three blackening toenails that hopefully I will keep and they decide not to drop off in my sock one day. Yeuw!

The mind

There were many recurring messages near the end of the marathon reminding one ‘that pain was temporary but the achievement was for a lifetime’. The pain was on its way into my own personally history of discomfort, but I was struggling for days with my own sense of personal achievement from the whole affair. Writing this and the previous blog entry has helped to put this into some sort of perspective. Reinforcing comments and messages from friends, family, fellow runners and people who have helped me on this journey have all aided in this realisation. However, I still struggle with the self-belief that completing the London Marathon was something to be proud of.

I shared my thoughts on this with other people who ran that day and interestingly I don’t think this was an uncommon state for people to be in, especially for first timers.

I was starting to piece together reasoning for this slightly flat feeling. I think it simply comes down to thinking I could have done a better time. However, it was hot, well it was hotter than it had been through most of the training and to push too hard on an untried distance would have been unwise.

Another theory came from the tightening quads I had after the race as I had never had a problem with these before. On investigation this condition can come from not running a full stride and bouncing a bit on the feet, which can happen when you are stuck behind slower runners.

I started at the back of pen 8, which was virtually at the back of the field and even at mile 12 I was passing much slower runners than I was used to running with including ones carrying fridges. I thought I would start to work my way through the field once the roads opened up, but there were so many people running, this just never seemed to happen.

All in all, I think I made the right decisions on the day, purely down to my inexperience of this distance and the type of event the London Marathon is. I will, in time, possibly give myself some credit or virtual slap on the back for completing this pounding of the streets of London

Stats

There were 35,849 runners who finished the London Marathon this year and I am very pleased to announce that I came 1492nd. Amazing ay! Well this isn’t entirely true, this was my position in a select group of male runners between the ages of 50-54.

I had to explain to my disappointed nephew, Hugo, that despite my best efforts, I finished in 24797th place even with his supportive poster inserted on my FB timeline instructing me that ‘you have to win’.

The marathon results service offers a myriad of stats about your run that you can paw through to find a result that can either elevate you to a great position of invincibility or reduce you to a piece a cheese in the overall throng.

So here to add to my impressive sub 25,000 position are that I also finished:

  • 24797th in my overall finishing behind 70% of the field with another 10,870 still behind me.
  • 21741st in my nationality finishing behind 68% of the field with another 10,100 behind me.
  • 17409th in my gender finishing behind 77% of the field with another 5,177 still behind me.
  • 1492nd in my division (male between 50-54) finishing behind 70% of the field with another 434 still behind me.
  • Over the last 7.2km I overtook 577 runners and was passed by 211

And finally as the winner went over the finish line I was still in South London approaching mile 11.

My Fitbug indicated during the course of this day I had managed over 56,000 steps.

My Garmin displayed my decline in speed at virtually every mile, slipping from sub 10 minute to well over 11 minute miles by the end. Interestingly from start to finish (officially 26.2 miles) my final mileage was 26.7. I’m not entirely sure why I ran an extra half a mile at the London Marathon, I think 26.2 is quite far enough thank you. There are two theories that could account for this phenomena, the first is that GPS’s through a city can be affected by tall buildings and underpasses, etc. The other reason is that if you do not keep to the blue painted line along the route, which is measured out to the exact distance, then you could add some distance to your journey. Who knows?

Positives

I was pleased that I managed to stay on my feet for just under 5 hours and ‘ran’ all the way, apart from a small toilet stop and another to stretch out.

I have to thank a very supportive family and group of friends for putting up with this obsession over the last eight months and for all their help in getting me around on the day. Whether this was through supportive emails and messages, or donations to the British Heart Foundation or cheering me around on the day. Running advice from Full Potential, St Albans Striders, friends and work colleagues who all had their experiences to tell.

Of course the big winner from all of this is the millions of pounds raised for charities. I am please to say that with your help I have managed to raise just short of £3500 for the British Heart Foundation and that does fill me with a sense of wellbeing and I can only thank you all for your great generosity.

…and finally

I suppose the big question is whether I would do this all again. So did I get up early on Tuesday 23rd April to sign up for next years London Marathon Ballot? Hell yeah!