I am English; we like to talk about the weather and this is no exception. Yes it was raining "cats and dogs" and strong winds blew the rain in horizontal at times. I could feel it stinging against my face and legs at times. The car park was sodden with all of the recent rain and saw me and many other drivers needing to take it easy as we tried not to get too in stuck driving over the undulating muddy grass. I was wet and cold even before the race started, not a good sign but being in the middle of the pack in the starting pen, many of us could keep warm together. We must have looked like a bunch of penguins huddling and shivering together!
At one point I almost wished the rain would get even heavier but instead it eased off for a little while. When you're wet and can't get any wetter you might just as well enjoy the exhilaration of a real downpour. All in all I am sure the weather will be a memorable feature for many people; it is things like these April showers and weather which is temperamental at this time of year that makes life in England so great! Notwithstanding this, it looked like some runners were suffering at the end.
I adopted a steady 10 minute per mile pace, or thereabouts from the outset. I think this was fairly constant throughout. As normal, although I started in the middle of the field there were many over taking me in the first half; in my first ever race I was fazed by this but I'm not bothered nowadays. I liked running with my competitors but I didn't talk to anyone; it was a case of remaining focused. Quite a few times I would spot someone a little further ahead who looked like a "good" runner and they'd become my pace setter for a couple of miles. That's nice, especially if it's an older runner who gives me that inspiration to press ahead today and for the rest of my life.
When I got to mile 21 I was starting to hurt - some of my upper leg muscles were being worked hard and they were telling me! And yet that is the wonderful thing about our bodies and the natural pain relief that kicks in. No sooner had it started to hurt, it was gone again. In spite of the endorphins, I knew I was pushing myself and I was starting then to feel quite tired when I jogged up some inclines (in Milton Keynes these inclines are short, just like coming up from an underpass) but they were enough to slow everyone down. I refused to walk, I had to keep going.
A glimpse of the end
I caught a glimpse of the MK Dons Stadium through the trees and I knew I really was nearly there. Around another corner and on to a (traffic free) road and I knew I was on the home straight. My pace picked up and ran through some crowds of spectators all cheering and clapping (there must have been someone more worthy behind me) and into the stadium itself. I made it. " Thank you Lord" I said quietly to myself as I walked around the pitch perimeter to get my goodie bag, a nice way to cool down.
And now, the following day
I feel great within myself. I did it. Just sitting here wondering how everyone else is, especially the first timers like myself. How is everyone feeling? Everyone feeling the achievement?
Me? I'm so pleased I did it. My blog reader H suggested Vaseline but as I've never had any problems "down there" there seemed no need. I wish now I had.
"Wet shorts + 26.2 miles = chafing where the sun don't shine"
I feel a little stiff but okay walking around the house. I know I'm going to have a hum-dinger of a cold but it is definitely worth it. Having a bit of Type A personality in me, I am not satisfied with myself. I could have done better and would have done if I'd stuck to the training schedule. That's life: I have a job and a family to take care of. I am so thankful to everyone bearing with me through this race and most of all to Rachel, for putting up with me on this journey.
Some pics from the day....
|Not doing much business today!|
|A group warmup|
|Runners resorting to plastic sacks to stay warm and dry|
|Time to go for a "cuppa" and put my feet up!|
|An impressive place to cross the finish line|