I have always wanted to run the London Marathon. Each year I have thought of many excuses not to apply, but recently I was inspired by a patient. I am a staff nurse looking after ladies undergoing breast reconstruction. This particular lady had bilateral mastectomies followed by breast reconstruction surgery and has since run the London and New York Marathons. Like me she has a young family and she has inspired me to run the London Marathon, because of what she has been through I could no longer justify my excuses! I thought I must apply and give it my best shot. It made sense to raise money for the Breast Reconstruction Awareness charity within my department because I know how much the patients benefit from the charity, which provides support and equipment above and beyond what the NHS can provide.
This is my first marathon — I have only ever run a 5k Race for Life before, so I had no idea what to expect or what I am letting myself in for. I have had to have a three week break in my training, due to starting my training with no idea what I was doing. This resulted in Achilles tendonitis and a pain in my knee relating to a tight thigh muscle, I have now learnt. I have sought the expert advice of a sports therapist, and I am now (hopefully) getting back on track with my training. I have some regular stretches and strengthening exercises to help with my problem areas, so I am putting every effort into these. I did my longest run yet recently, 10 miles! I was so pleased that I managed it, even though it was tough near the end. I train Tuesday and Thursday evenings and a Saturday or Sunday.
I found it difficult with the dark evenings as I don’t like running in the dark alone, but it does make you run quicker! We booked a babysitter for Thursday evenings so my husband could run with me. I attended the ‘Meet the Experts’ day for London Marathon runners and picked up some good advice, one tip was to get my name printed on my top as people shouting your name is a real boost to get you through the hard times on the big day! I got some ‘proper’ running trainers too, had a gait analysis at Runners World, every little helps!
I absolutely loved the whole experience of taking part in the London Marathon. I completed the 26.2 miles in 5 hours 13 minutes, which I am happy with. I wanted to do it in less than 5 hours but there’s always next time! And now I have a time to beat.
The day was much warmer than I expected so I made use of the bottles of water being handed out every few miles. I was pleased to see my family at 8 miles, at that point I was feeling good and nothing was hurting! The 18-23 mile stretch was tough, the pain in my legs was continuous from about the half way point, but I tried not to focus on the pain and embraced the support from the crowds to distract myself. The time ticked by fairly quickly but the miles just kept coming, it felt never ending…
The live music was very motivating all the way round, the support from the crowd was unbelievable and without that support it would have been even tougher. I was pleased to see my family again at 22 miles where I was really struggling, but I got the boost I needed from them and carried on.
The Blackfriars Underpass was dark and miserable and a lot of runners stopped to walk or stretch here… You’re away from the crowds and day light for this short stretch and I was glad to re-appear into the day light and hear the crowds again.
I was relieved to see the ‘600 metres to go’ sign! Delighted to receive my finishers medal. Just a shame i missed the Royals!
My recovery has gone well in the first few days after the Marathon. The day after the Marathon I had to keep moving or I would stiffen up! Gradually I’m getting less sore. I had a sports massage and all of my toe nails are currently intact which is a bonus ;D).
I am delighted to have reached my intended fundraising target of £1500, all down to the generosity of family, friends, colleagues and some ladies I have had the pleasure in looking after at the hospital.
I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone… I have learnt a lot in the last four months of my training and you just need to surround yourself with people who believe that you can do it and believe in yourself and you will do it.