Well, all that hard work paid off. I managed to complete the Virgin London Marathon! I’m exhausted, stiff and feeling pain in various parts of my body, but my overwhelming emotion is happiness. I completed the course in just over 3hrs and 57mins, so managed to come in under 4 hours, just!
The support on the day is fantastic, I had my name on my running vest and I was encouraged all the way around and heard my name called 100’s of times.
It just shows you that with the right help, support and encouragement you can face most things life throws at you.
I almost missed my family and friends who were on the other side of the road from where I expected to see them. But at 23 miles, even though I caught just a glimpse, I could see them roaring me on, during that brief moment I had caught my youngest son’s eye as he roared me on to the finish, just what I needed, as it was feeling so, so difficult at this time.
I still had three miles to go and I was so tempted to stop, I didn’t feel like I had energy or power left in my legs, they were really heavy. I thought if I stop now I’ll never get going again and I wanted to run past everyone who had come from Carers Network to cheer me on. I knew they were about a mile away so I thought I should just keep going and see how I would feel after that. Turns out they were a little further away just before Westminster bridge so I got a loud cheer and extra motivation to keep going (probably what the Carers Network do best!). Birdcage walk then the Mall then the finish line, no point walking now!
Over the finish line and my body wanted to collapse but my legs felt like they wanted to carry on running! The medal placed around your neck and you can feel very proud of yourself and your achievement.
Fundraising has been amazing and at present we have raised approximately £100 per mile for the marathon course, when I last checked £2650.21! hopefully it will still continue to rise and it would be amazing to get to £3000.
Thank you for all the support over the last three and a half months.
Two days to go until the gun goes for the London Marathon. I have a mixture of excitement and anxiety about the day. Everything I read about planning for the day points to these feelings being normal, except they are not normal for me! I Continue to question my ability to complete the course and counter that with positive thoughts. What I do know is I will be there on the start at 10am on Sunday and will give it my all.I’m extremely grateful for all the donations so far and I’m so pleased to see that we have gone over £2500 with fundraising, I hope we can continue to push on and raise even more.I’ll look forward to keeping an eye out for the Carers Network cheer point and hope it gives me the extra boost I’ll need towards the end.Once again thank you to Carers Network for giving me the opportunity to take part and thank you for all your support and donations. Mike
“Two days before my 22 mile run on Saturday I had to complete one of the easiest runs on the training plan that I’m following. It’s the “30 mins easy” and I was looking forward to it, what with it being the easiest of all the training runs. What a mistake! It was one of the hardest runs, I felt like I was carrying a 100kg rucksack! I had to drag myself around a four mile loop and felt terrible every step, I even contemplated walking it. I carried on thinking that what I had to do is go through these hard times to enable me to complete the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon. I was at work the following day and someone asked how my training was going and I had to gloss over the previous day and started to talk about the longest run of the training plan, the 22 miler! Because of the previous day, I started to fear this run, questioning why I didn’t let someone else more capable do the marathon for Carers Network, doubting my ability to complete the course. But the stubborn side of me thought – no, you’ve done this much, (131 miles in the last four weeks) get your head down and get on with it!
So at 08:30 on Saturday the 1/4/17 (April Fools’ Day) I set off on my 22 mile training run. I have a very nice 13 mile route that takes in the Grand Union Canal and the Thames, so all I needed was another nine. I set off towards Osterley Park and joined in with 180 other people and completed the Parkrun. Parkrun is fantastic, it’s a free weekly timed 5k run, they take place all over the country and happen in many other countries around the world. Osterley is a wonderful scenic National Trust house and the Parkrun takes you twice around the house and gardens. I was able to take it easy and chatted with lots of other runners around the course. I then headed back towards the Grand Union Canal and after a few diversions went past the end of my road with nine miles on the clock, perfect. I told myself that all I had to do today was my 13 mile loop to the river and back.
I use energy gels to help fuel my run and had my first one at 10 miles, getting it out of the pocket of my camel back and carrying on along the canal towards Brentford. From Brentford I headed towards Kew bridge, along the river toward Chiswick bridge and over to the south side and towards Richmond. Whilst going over Chiswick bridge I was searching my backpack for another energy gel, unfortunately they had decided to jump out and leave me to it, I was on my own!
Initially I was worried I wouldn’t be able to last the distance but I told myself that I just had to tell my body to keep going, one foot in front of the other. In fact by the time I got to Richmond bridge I thought, ‘well only four miles to go and I can put my feet up’ – and those last four miles flew by. I got home 3hr 10 mins after I set of that morning, so I was able to have a long soak in the bath and feel much more positive about the marathon in three weeks time.
The muscles were a little stiff, but taking the dog out for a walk in the afternoon helped keep the dreaded lactic acid at bay. I’m also eating so much – pasta, rice, potatoes and bread all feature heavily in the diet to help get you around the marathon.
That was the longest run and we now enter the “Taper” stage, which is a gradual reduction of miles over the next three weeks to prepare for the day itself. This is a 25% reduction followed by another reduction of 25% so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and to give it my all for Carers Network on the day…..”
“Training has picked up intensity over the past few weeks and the long runs have got long!
My past few weekend runs have increased from 13 to 16 then 18 miles before dropping to 13 again. I have had to buy a hydration bag as my 16 mile run caused me a few problems as I didn’t drink enough fluids during the run. This caused some disorientation and I felt exhausted afterwards, but I guess it’s best to discover the problems now and not during the marathon.
It’s also been interesting finding out routes for the long runs, living close to the river and canal it gives me very scenic routes to explore, unfortunately after two hours of running I tend to enjoy the views a lot less!
These long runs are really important as they will help me get used to running the high mileage over longer periods, my body and my mind need all the help they can get as it is very tiring on both.
The shorter runs that focus on speed also help by providing strength and stamina, I often get out with a friend and that makes these much more fun as we can push each other and offer support.
I’m really grateful for the help I received from a group of neighbours and friends with our charity night in a local pub. We had live music, food and lots of fun, that really helped raise lots of money for Carers Network and with that money on top of other donations we have passed the initial target of £1800!”
“Training is going well, I did 12 miles on Saturday morning as I increase the mileage as part of the plan.
I left the house at 06:00, it was dark and cold. I needed my head torch as I headed south down the canal tow-path towards the river Thames. I crossed the river using Kew bridge and it was dark until half way along the south side of the Thames as I passed by Kew gardens. It was incredibly peaceful with very few people out at that time, the views were fantastic and there was a lot of wildlife up and about. I then came back over Kingston bridge and along the Thames path until I had to divert due to the extremely high tide cutting the path off. It was then up through Syon park and back on to the canal for the last couple of miles as I headed home. I then made a cup of tea and took the dog out for his morning walk which is about 5k.
The longer slower runs are much more enjoyable than the more intense speed and interval running as part of the training programme.
Doing the high mileage certainly gives you an appetite, so three eggs scrambled on toast is always worth it!
I then went to the Meet the Experts Day in Westminster, this was a day put on primarily for charity runners by the Virgin Money marathon organisers. It included an overview of what to expect on the day with advice from marathon coaches, nutritionist and marathon pacers. These are runners who will stick to a rhythm to get you around the 26 miles in a certain time.”
Stay tuned for further updates from Mike as he continues his training …