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Old 05-04-2018, 10:30 PM
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Default Canarian Weekly: My big tick, off the bucket list!

By Joe Price
I CANNOT believe it was nearly two weeks ago that I completed the hottest London Marathon ever!
All the preparation and training was coming to a head, and the realisation of “this thing I’d decided to do” was actually going to happen.
For the past few months, the training plan had been going well, and, much to my amazement, I was able to fit everything in, between working and looking after the children.
The early mornings weren’t as hard as I thought, and I actually enjoyed the experience of running longer distances.
Now, the day had arrived, and I was ready… well as ready as I’d ever be. The knee injury I’d picked up was okay and, I was aware that I would never be fast.
But I also knew that, in the words of the Shakira song from Zootopia, which my son had been singing for me all week: “I won’t give up, I won’t give in, until I reach the end”.
The fact that my family were travelling from all over the country to watch me run, and that I’d had so much support from all my friends, as well as the money I had raised for Leukaemia Care UK, also made me more determined.
The atmosphere was amazing, immediately. On the coach journey to the start, I chatted with a lady who had run a few marathons, and had received a “good for age” place for London. I walked up to the start area with a teacher, also running his first marathon, but he had obviously been running for a long time.
Then, after a few toilet stops and bag drop, we were waiting in the pens to start, and I met a few people in the same boat as me.
I still can’t believe how calm I was at the start. Perhaps the meltdown I’d had over my knee a few weeks before had removed my nerves.
The start line seemed to take forever to reach, but at no point did I ever think: “What am I doing?”
We chatted together whilst we waited, and, once over the line, we all wished each other good luck. We were off!
The weather was unbelievable, I had been worrying for ages that I would be too cold, but I needn’t have worried.
We all thought, at some point, that the sun would be covered by clouds. But no, it was beating down, and, straight away, I had to think about changing my fuelling and adding extra water when I could.
The crowd were amazing from the start, offering jelly babies and shouting each name as we passed, which made it such an experience for me.
My marathon was split into places where I would be seeing family along the way. And, before I knew it, I was coming up to Mile 9, which was our first contact.
I wondered whether they would see me through the crowds and not just run past them, but there they were, all cheering me on. A quick cuddle from the kids and I was off again!
Mile 11 was the Leukaemia Care cheer crowd… more high-fives and cheering, and, before I knew it, I’d reached halfway.
This was the hardest bit for me. The heat was getting to me (still no cloud), my knee was starting to niggle a bit, and, on the other side of the road, people at Mile 22 were running in the opposite direction.
It made you realise just how much further you had to run. I turned my phone on and received all the incredible messages from my friends and family, which hadn’t come through in the morning, and this gave me a big smile.
I met a lot of people on the way round, chatting away and enjoying the day. The lady who gave me the piece of ice was a godsend, as was the person in the crowd, handing out what I believed to be the best mini-cheddars I had ever tasted.
Tower Bridge was, without a doubt, the best place for crowds until that point. The noise was unbelievable, as was the spectacular view!
I reached the Mile 15 marker, realising that this was the most training I had done, because of the knee injury, so from now on, it was into the unknown.
By Mile 20, my knee was really starting to hurt, but I knew that Mile 22/23 was the next meet-up with my family, so I pushed on to get some support from them.
This was when I realised I had reached the other side of the road – yay! I was nearly at the end, with just 10k to go.
Seeing my family again was amazing, and, from then on until the end, the crowds were packed along the streets. Finally, we had some cloud, and, apart from the knee, I was feeling pretty good. Not long to go.
But by Mile 24, my knee had gone. The support was no longer helping, and it was hurting to run or walk. I got to the time marker and realised I was going finish in around six hours, and I have to admit, I was a bit gutted.
But I managed it, limping to the end, and, finally, there was Buckingham Palace. The the end was in sight, and so was the medal!
The meet-up my family at the end was great, and I finally got to have a conversation with them all, as well as the people from Leukaemia Care UK.
And off we went to Pizza Hut for a well-deserved treat.
I couldn’t fault any of the Marathon staff. The marshals were brilliant, always asking if you were okay. The water people were excellent, and always on hand, although I know people after me had issues with water running out.
The firemen with their water hoses, and the showers put on to cool us down, worked a treat. The St John Ambulance did an amazing job. They had their work cut out because a lot of people struggled with the heat, and there were other wounded warriors along the way.
I’d also like to mention Matt Campbell, the chef who, tragically, collapsed at 22.5 miles and passed away the next day. It just shows what sort of stress you put on your body to run a marathon, and my thoughts go out to his family. RIP Matt.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and donated to this brilliant cause. You really have been amazing.
The entire day seemed like an out-of-body experience, and it wasn’t until I returned to Tenerife and back to work, that I realised what I’d done.
In fact, it took me a few days, and a physio session, to feel proud of myself.
Would I do it again? Absolutely!
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