So after running for around 4 years I decided it was time to take the plunge and enter my first marathon!!! So I entered the Yorkshire Plusnet Marathon in October and then in true Lucy style panicked and thought I better have a practise run first.
Training began in January mostly by just starting to build base miles and up my weekly mileage every three weeks with one week cut back. In the weeks leading up to marathon time I was rather terrified that coach William Laye had decided I didn’t need long runs, nothing over 2.5 hours. I managed to convince him to give me one 20 mile run for peace of mind but other than that the furthest I ran was 17miles. I did stick to my training plan fairly religiously which meant that I had completed some fairly horrific hangover runs which Richard Amos mostly dragged me through!!!
One week to go and I wasn’t totally feeling optimistic. Too many people kept saying sub 4 which I had no hope of reaching, I was hoping 4:30 but under 5 and I would be pleased – this was my practise marathon!! Friday night – fool proof plan lets go out until 2am drinking, Saturday hungover parkrun, travel to Liverpool, many hydration tablets and bottles of water, feel pretty rough early night, passout, Sunday ready to race.
Marathon day arrived and I was feeling a little happier and more confident as I’d decided to not put any time pressure on myself, just get round and run happy. There were many messages of luck from the lovely BRC members and a lovely thankyou from Lucy for help to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer in memory of Dave ‘Just remember all the times he took the piss out of you for getting a taxi to The George‘. Waiting at the start line I was next to the 5:15 pacer and there were very few people behind. I have some really reassuring chats with a couple of older experienced ladies who reassured me everything would be ok. Then a lovely message from Natalie reminding me to just enjoy myself and take lots of selfies.
The bands along the course were absolutely fantastic and I was dancing passed most of them, which very much ruined my pace and my running form but who cares I was having fun. By now I have passed the 5 hour pacer and could see the 4.30 pacer in front of me. I decided to just catch him up slowly and then see how I felt, I could just run with them and I’d be set. So I caught them up but there were far too many people crowded around so I decided to just run a little bit ahead of them. We passed the Everton Stadium and then came into a lovely park with a big pond full of ducks – selfie time, love ducks!!! About half way through the park was a band which I had a little bop to and another selfie with J. I was now following Sonic the hedgehog very much enjoying running through the park. 118 118 band, selfie time! We went up a ‘hill – slope’ and around a corner passed the Liverpool Stadium – quick photo and then back into the park coming back down. All the time I’m thinking I do enjoy running in a park and this is very pretty just don’t go too fast, quick glances at the watch – No 8’s allowed!!! Out the park we came to a hill, which a lovely lady at the start had mentioned, it was a bit steeper and longer but half way up was a band of drummers so I was pretty much loving that!!! I bounced up the hill slightly shaking my ass the the beats and passing quite a few people who clearly trained in areas flatter than Bridgnorth. At the top a lovely runner said this is the highest point in Liverpool - ‘OMG your like a tour guide, I might just run with you for the rest of the race and hear loads of amazing facts!’ – I think he was horrified!! In my mind I was thinking right highest point must mean lots of downhill, don’t go too fast.
Through the park I reach an out and back part and couldn’t remember if I had already run along it or not (there were a few parts on the course where runners were coming the other way) – this could be a sign I was a bit tired, I had a little giggle to myself. Another amazing drumming band, selfie, selfie, selfie – I hadn’t seen the band and so I hadn’t been out, I need to still come back the other way. This was up hill and so back would be downhill and that was good, I was still enjoying but getting a little tired, I reminded myself to have little sips of water at each stop from now on and also started pouring some down my back to try and keep cool, the day didn’t seem particularly hot so I should be ok. The 4 hour pacer was on the way back down but I wasn’t sure how far in front he was, just enjoy it and don’t worry about time. Got to the end and there was a music van playing Penny Lane on repeat – loving it, selfie, assume this is penny lane. Pass the 4.15 pacer running up the hill, seems far enough behind that I’m doing ok. Then back down the way I had come, passed the drums again, still loving them, more selfies!!! I passed the 20 mile point, this was now the furthest I’d ever run, but I felt good. Actually thinking about it I had done a few 7/8 mile training runs when rather hungover where I felt considerably worse and I managed to get through them, I can totally do this, no problem!!! I’ve totally got this. I was pretty tired but had definitely run further and faster feeling worse, was still thanking supporters in my sing song voice and high fiving all the kids. It was good I was enjoying it. Through another park and then I could see the Mersey in front of me, I knew this meant about 5K to go, just a little parkrun, I actually felt better than I did starting parkrun hungover yesterday, YES got this BOOM. I looked at my watch and it was on 3:30, if I push this I can get sub 4! But what if I push too hard and lose it, what if I don’t run happy, what if I get to the end and want to die??? I was actually in torment, push for the time or just keep enjoying myself, what to do?
Advice for others thinking of doing a Marathon.
- TRAIN – all the training I put in very much paid off, I’m very glad of Will’s help and also glad I listened to all his advice. Strength training as well as running is really a must as well.
- Choose a marathon you know will make you happy, I love music and so the bands along the way were fab.
- Run hungover (not on the day) in your training, actually nothing is harder than a tempo run after 4hours sleep and a gallon of Gin and Prosecco!!
- Hydrate before during and after and also use water to cool you down.
- Think about your running form – always, this helped me lots when I think if I’d let it go I would have suffered
- RUN HAPPY – don’t put too much pressure on yourself, take selfies, have fun, if you have a positive mind set and feel good about it all then the miles will just fade past.
Huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me :)