Hello you lovely people, I am here to tell my tale...of my very first marathon....
Firstly: my background: I am 44 and I started running 2 years ago with C 25k. When I first heard Laura tell me that after 9 weeks I would be able to run for 30 minutes non stop I think I choked ( and swore) .However, 'how do you eat an elephant? One chunk at a time.... 'That's how I achieved C25k and I applied that principle to the rest.
I just need to describe the process to get to the start line:
1. Print off race details
2. Get a letter from your GP to say you are fit to run
3. Take above AND proof of identity to the running expo located on the far side of Paris
4. Get in a queue at said location and a French person studies above documents and if they are happy stamps something in red in French on the number 1 document
5. Take #1 document to another stand ( which completely confused me) where they rustle through lots of boxes and find an envelope with your number on
6. Take said envelope to another stall and claim a race bag and goodies
After all that I was flipping exhausted.....and broke too as leon found a stall that sold dried fruit ( which he loves) and we bought a bag of dried fruit pick n mix .....36 euros.....hmmmmmmm
So...the run. I can only do this in a true Juicyju list...
1.I felt amazing and strong and so enjoyed running in the most beautiful parts of Paris, very humbling
2.At every 5k there were tables with Vittel, cut up fruit, dried fruit and sugar lumps, and then 1 mile ahead tables with hoses to spray you down and sponging too
3.I met Rosie, another c25 k'er and she was so so lovely
4.I loved being amongst other runners, seeing their determination and also seeing the grit of a runner when it gets tough ( which it did)
5.Getting past 13.1 miles, it's a tough hurdle, and also mentally to think that it's halfway
6.After 15 miles I established a good system where I ran for 2.5 miles then walked fast for half a mile to recover. I could see quickly with extra fitness this will be my route and method to ultras. I felt I could keep going with that method as I really recovered
7. My lad joined me for the last k and joined me in the finishing line
8. My best friend texted me at every stop. It made me do it and carry on.
9. At 22 miles they were giving out wine...yes wine. I stopped and had loads...it helped so much!!!
10. My stick.
1. it was hard. It was hard. Did I say it was hard?
2. My gremlins were in full force...' It's 11 miles, not even halfway and you are already tired,'......' It's 18 miles, you are knackered and you have 8 miles left...yes 8 miles, you can't possibly do that!' .......
3. The pains...my legs hurt from about 12 miles. I just ran through the pain
4. The walkers...there were a lot of people walking from about 15 miles... Including a Nordic walker ( respect) but it put you off a bit
5. In the Bois De Bologne everyone was pissing ( yes pissing), including the women, in full view. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not shy and doing that sort of thing is not something I'd be embarrassed about, but there were portalooos so there was no need. I needed to go so I Queued and this woman in front refused to go in as the seat was wet...some people.... Needless to say I did use it!! It just felt odd seeing people pissing everywhere.
I read up a lot beforehand about marathons and timings. There is a lot of debate out there. I feel utterly privileged to be able to participate in such an event, and however slow us plodders go, we can achieve great personal goals. My time is: 5 hours 31 minutes. I'm so happy with that.
It's made me understand why I love running. Next steps are to run so much more to be stronger and fitter and to achieve my goals, and to run free. I can't wait to get out there for my next run.
Pic is me and my kids helping me along, and another runner ( looking sad!!)