The old saying goes “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. And while I’d loved to have smashed a PB during Saturday’s 26.2 miles, the reality was that I’d crammed some focused training for this in to just a month and a PB just wouldn’t happen.
Note for anyone wanting to do a marathon: completing the odd run-commute (6 miles) and stepping your big weekend run from 6 to 12 to 18 miles over 3 consecutive weekends doesn’t make for easy running!
It was my second ever marathon and ninth challenge of this year! All I had to do was get round injury-free and enjoy the amazing scenery – and that goal seems to have been achieved (pending a few very sore muscles)!
It wasn’t easy and my muscles certainly aren’t thanking me know (standing up and sitting down is a particular issue), but it was incredible. Running with Lizzie made for an excellent first 8 miles, the singing, the giggling, the views (we did run too – promise!) took my mind of how many more miles were ahead.
When we went our separate ways I was on a high. Lizzie went on to push through her own running wall by “having a word with herself” and also stopped her own race to look after a friend – a true hero! Picking a mark ahead of me, I’d keep my pace going until I could confidently stride past. It was going great! The steady start now meant my legs had warmed up and I got into a great rhythm.
What I hadn’t factored was the undulating nature of the course. Over 500m of climbing were certainly felt in my already tired legs! This took me to mile 17 when I really started to tire and stiffen, to make things worse my headphones (and motivational Motown) ran out of battery. Disaster!
Happily there were some amazing views along the coastline of Reykjavík and some brilliant company in the other runners, learning about their reasons for running – either in memory of someone, because Reykjavík is beautiful or “because I can and to beat my personal worst” – really gave me the boost I needed. And before I knew it, there was just 6 miles to go!
It was looking good, I was getting closer…and slower, a lot slower! My legs were giving up and completely shutting down. I was down to a shuffle just to keep moving, but then I saw my watch tick down to just 2 miles to go, then just 1 and then I saw the finishing straight.
Funny thing about crowds and a finish line, no matter how tired I am, there’s usually a sprint finish left in the tank. It was an amazing feeling, especially when I heard friends cheering for me, waiting to see me cross that line after already smashing their own races too!
They were the exact boost I needed when I was getting tired and their words of encouragement on my slow but steady way round were hugely inspiring – so thank you to all and a huge well done to everyone for completing their races and doing it with a smile!