Well, the first marathon of 5 is run and it is arguably the best one. I absolutely love the London Marathon (although if you had managed to get me to say that at mile 20 it would have been a miracle) and finishing it in a time of 3.58.16 was impressive indeed. Faster than last year and that was with the mammoth wall scaling I was doing at mile 17.
I don’t know why it hit me so badly this year. I don’t think I have ever smacked that wall with quite such ferocity. It was at exactly mile 17 – I mean I hit it as I was passing beneath the mile 17 marker. I literally stopped and knew that no matter what, I simply couldn’t go on. I was almost in tears as I leaned up against a fence, dimly aware of runners running past me. I simply couldn’t find anything to get me moving again. All of the feelings of failure and disappointment mingled with the exhaustion that I was experiencing and I just wanted to find the nearest St John’s person and wave the white flag at them.
How I managed to get going again, I honestly don’t know. I do know that I began talking to myself, then shouting at myself “Come on, Nancy! Come on!!”. I have no idea what people must of thought (actually, I don’t really care), but the verbal whipping was enough to get me moving again – but it was one of the toughest things I have done. I had to walk again at 19, and then I finally managed to find my focus, settle into my mantra, and get it finished. The final six miles were run with me visualising my new favourite run along the tow path between Woking and Pyrford Lock. I pictured that run at 6.00 in the morning, with the mist coming off the water, the sun shining onto everything and the rabbits hopping madly away from me. Strangely enough, that kept me going and I finished in fantastic time.
Sadly, as thrilled as I am at the achievement, it is a long way short of the 3.50 Boston Qualifier that I need. And I know, the only way I am going to achieve that is by not hitting the wall again as hard as I did on Sunday. Back to the books. And back to the tow path…well, as soon as my quads stop screaming at me.
Thank you to Joriel Joz Jiminez for the image