I only bloody went and did it! At last I can call myself a proper marathon runner! Worcester Marathon – conquered!
I was SO nervous and jittery last night as I got all my kit together, although surprisingly I slept fairly well. It helped that because Worcester is only half an hour’s drive away, I didn’t have to get up at stupid o’clock! The alarm went off at a very respectable 7.30am, and after a leisurely porridge breakfast I was off!
What was also rather lovely was the fact that my hubs was able to drive me there and back. He usually works on Sundays, but he’d decided to call off his tour for the day to come and cheer me on, yay! And let me tell you, I was SO glad that he did! It was so nice to see him a couple of times on the route and get a cheeky little kiss as I went past to keep my spirits up 🙂
I was surprised at how big an event it was! Nearly 1000 runners took part, which made for a brilliant atmosphere – on the first lap at least! There was a half marathon at the same time though, and only 255 of us were mad enough to complete the full marathon, which meant that most of the runners and supporters had gone home by the time I started the second lap! It was a beautiful countryside route though (confusing that the medal has Worcester Cathedral on it, seeing as we didn’t actually go anywhere near the city centre!) but OMG it was hilly!! There were a few quite big lumps, but pretty much all the way round was either slightly up or slightly downhill – it never felt particularly flat! “Undulating”, I think they call it!
I had some running buddies on the first lap – two ladies called Rebecca and Lina from Regency Runners in Leamington who I bumped into on the start line – I’d actually met them before in Stratford when I did my second 401 Challenge “marathon” (in quote marks because I’m not 100% convinced that, as a standalone effort, it really counts as a proper marathon if you stop for lunch halfway round!). Lina was doing the half marathon, so we said goodbye to her at the 11 mile mark, which is where the full marathon runners peeled off to start the second lap-and-a-bit. I stuck with Rebecca at her speedy 10 min/mile pace for most of the first lap, but she pulled away from me at around 13 miles and finished in a brilliant time of 4:26:22! ),
I dropped the pace a little bit and stayed with another girl called Jess who we’d got chatting to early on in the race, but she dropped back even further after a few more miles and I heard on the grapevine that she actually retired with an injury at some point. I hope she’s OK! 😦
Things really started to get tough at around 16-17 miles. I’m not sure if it was “the wall”, but I definitely found it quite mentally challenging once the field significantly thinned out. It didn’t help that I had to have a quick, ahem, pitstop at around mile 20 (fortunately there was a portaloo, so I didn’t have to use what my friend Amy calls the “facilitrees”!), and I had a massive battle with myself about whether I was going to let myself walk up a big hill that I knew was coming up. As it turns out, I didn’t walk that one, but I did take a few little walk breaks a bit later on. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but I’m not going to dwell on it. It was my first marathon so it just gives me something to build on next time 😉
The last little bit of the race was really nice as it veered off the road and onto the Worcester canal tow path. As I came into the Sixways Stadium car park towards the finish line, Lina came running alongside me, cheering me on and willing me to sprint the finish – I may not quite have sprinted but I did pick up the pace and finished the race with a big smile on my face – brilliant! I finished in a time of 4:43:36 – a bit slower than I’d have liked, really, but I really don’t care – I did it!! I had wanted to get under 4.5 hours, but now that I’ve done it and realise just how tough it is to run a marathon, I’ve re-evaluated and really don’t think sub-5 hours is bad at all! Like I said, there will be a next time, so it just gives me a target to aim for! 🙂