It’s over, it’s done. 3 hours 48 minutes and 42 seconds later, with tears and plenty of them. Oh, and when they said it was flat, it really wasn’t!
So many emotions. Running has helped me with my mental health, more than I often realise. Since moving to Glasgow I have had pretty severe depression at times, coupled with anxiety. At times it is a real struggle to force myself to put my trainers on, or to go along to run club. I kept thinking about this throughout the run. I was on the verge of tears whenever I saw my parents or the MRF/Achilles Heel cheer squad.
I was in a lot of pain in my left quad and hip flexor. At numerous points I thought about quitting. This was like adding fuel to a fire, I kept wanting to listen to the angel on my shoulder that said just stop. But the devil won, I kept bribing myself to just get to the next mile, get to the next mile. Knowing that eventually mile 24 would appear, and 25 and 26. Turning into Stirling at only mile 17 was hard, you did the first loop and then thought shit, I have to do this again 1 and half more times. You ran under a gantry three times, when it got to the second time I just reminded myself only one more loop . Points of the loop were tough, cobbled streets, congestion, plenty of underpasses and tunnels and not wide enough pavements.
At about half way I was well on target for my dream 3 hour 45 time, it didn’t happen. As I turned into Stirling at 17, I knew I needed to keep 9 minute miles, but I just couldn’t. Seeing the 3 hour 45 pacer pass me did hurt. I would be lying if I said it didn’t. I really had to dig deep and just accept it was my ultimate goal and just not quite realistic on race day. When I first started training I thought aiming for under 4 was wild in itself.
I was completely broken when I saw my Mum steps from the finish line. She asked me to smile for a photo and I just couldn’t. Mentally and emotionally too drained. Yet when a complete stranger took my Mum’s phone for a better photo, I did smile and I am glad I did. It’s a brilliant photo, almost sums up how we are about mental health, happy on the outside, broken on the inside. Thanks again to the stranger who did take the photo though!
Again thanks to my parents for really helping me through the last 18 weeks of training. You have dealt with my mood-swings, temper tantrums and many tears. (Dad – am I a serious runner yet.) To all my friends, who have helped me in more ways than one, whether meeting me for a run, gym-session, much needed food or just listened to me moan/talk endlessly about running, Thank You. The same goes to my work colleagues, I promise to stop nattering on about running!
It’s still not hit me. I did it. I ran a marathon. If you had told me 3 years ago I would do that, I wouldn’t have believed it. And yes, I had a pink champagne bottle balloon and confetti!