Stalking the weather started a few weeks ago with regular checking of unreliable long-range forecasts. This week, every available meteorological website was scrutinized almost hourly to see whether next Sunday was going be kind to 36,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of supporters. The ideal scenario would be a cool, overcast with a gentle breeze and no rain. As the week moved on, this wish was looking like it could become a reality. Almost like magic there were beautiful days manifesting either side of the Sunday and then the sunny conditions and higher temperatures began to edge their way in to M day forecast. By Saturday it was looking like being a sunny, but cool day. I will take that as long as it doesn’t get any hotter, just need to pack the sunscreen now.
This is the big week of nothing, or so I thought. There is no more training to do as such, just resting, eating and pushing out any last emails to try and part people with their cash all in name of charity.
The money was coming in thick and fast, big and small, which pushed me through my initial target, so I adjusted it to £2500. With some more money promised I’m now quietly confident of reaching £3000, which I am really pleased about. I closed the Sweepstake on Saturday with over 160 guesses and a £40+ prize fund.
I went for a gentle jog on Tuesday down to Striders and partook in the warm up session on the track before breaking off and jogged gently home again. Apart from that I went out for two 20 minute runs on Friday and Saturday just to keep my legs loose.
I have made some last minute fine-tuning to my Garmin to try and get a better idea of my actual pace as it jumps from 8:25 to 12:00 minute miles as I jog along. I now have it telling me just about everything I would ever need to know and probably 95% of that just isn’t necessary or useful, just geeky.
A lot of people at work were wishing me well for the race and parting with stories (both good and bad) of their experiences of marathons past.
To try and avoid the crowds for registration I took the Thursday off to visit the Marathon Expo at the ExCel in London. It was a beautiful day and the view from Blackfriars Station up to Tower Bridge and Docklands and back down towards Westminster were stunning, I hope they are as interesting to look at on Sunday.
Registration took all of 30 seconds, so now I had my kit bag, running number and timing tag. I assisted a Polish guy attempting to take a selfie with his number in front of the entrance to the Expo. It turns out it is his 15th marathon and this was his 11th different European capital he has run in. Powodzenia!
The Expo is great for showing you all the main running gear, accessories and supplement suppliers. All the charities were represented and other running events were also touting for takers (I think it is a bit early for me to sign up for another marathon quite yet!). I do think they are missing a trick by not having something like this in January when a lot of people will be starting their training and will need cold weather gear and have time to try out the myriad of equipment and supplements available.
Any hoo, I tried out a massaging stick that you roll up and down knotted areas of leg to bring relief, something my facial expression was hiding well. I tried out loads of the supplement samples that were on offer, mainly to reduce the need for buying a bit of flapjack with my coffee. I couldn’t resist a new pair of Brooks Vapor running shoes as I may have to retire my current pair after Sundays race. These could see instant redundancy come Sunday night if I decide then that my running days are over.
There were some very good seminars being held in the Virgin Marathon lounge helping runners understand how the day could pan out and how to tackle some of the challenges that will be ahead of you. There was a chance in between seminars to chat with other people about their stories and experiences. I even managed to sneak in a selfie with Olympic and World Champion Stephen Kiprotich. I must confess to not knowing him from a piece of cheese before today, but I will try and keep in his slipstream on Sunday, as long as that slipstream spans ten miles.
Later that afternoon I had a pre-race fascia manipulation and muscle twanging session with Colin Bailey to get me in the best possible shape for Sunday. A last few discussions on race day strategies, hydration and above all enjoying the day were conducted and I was done.
Final run in
Coupled with the experience of Thursday at the Expo, BBC announcing their coverage for the race and encouraging Facebook posts between fellow runners, the excitement was beginning to stir up internally. I am as ready as I will ever be now and really looking forward to the day, but it would be good to be there now instead of having a few days to stew on any last minute worries.
On Friday night there was a pre-race pasta pile in at Zizzis with some of the other Striders running on Sunday. I shared a high carb blow out with other first timers and charity place entrants, guzzling water like it has gone out of fashion and sharing experiences, good and bad, to excite and scare the senses. There were also more seasoned runners including Jack who was enjoying a few beers with his meal after using a marathon last week as a warm up for this week and cooling down with another 20 marathons throughout the year.
The nerves on Saturday morning were a little more jangly than of late, only natural I suppose. On my list today is to finish typing up the sweepstake guesses and post them on the website, write this final blog entry and put together my kit bag for tomorrow.
I tried to distract myself as much as possible today by listening to some self regarding nonsense on the Danny Baker show, followed by commentary of Luton Town failing to secure their almost certain promotion from the Conference with a home defeat. I had to break up a fight between Dipsy and some new cat on the block and liquidise the rest of the watermelon in preparation for tomorrow.
All that was left was an evening in with the last stock up of carbohydrates and a few pints (water, of course) followed by an early night.