“Pain is temporary, finishing is forever” this phrase was going through my head like a mantra as I was running in the London marathon on Sunday 26th April.
People said to me “Gina this is your fourth marathon, you should be used to this”. I think naivety is the best prep for marathon running, you have no idea of what lies ahead.
There is no atmosphere like London, the crowds carry you through and high five you when you’re feeling broken. I’ve not run in any other city so I don’t have anything to compare it to. The London marathon has a special pull which is why I have entered it again for next year.
Marathon training is hard but rewarding work. People look at me and think I’m joking when I say I run marathons. I’m not stick thin and I have boobs but that doesn’t stop me from getting out there and running. As someone said if you get your trainers on and run, you are a runner!
This time when I’ve been training, my inner demons have nearly taken control. That little voice in your head telling you, you’re not good enough and what the hell do you think you’re doing trying to run a marathon. It’s disabilitating and on quite a few training runs I’ve been on the verge of tears. A few deep breaths and a few drops of rescue remedy I’ve managed to get through. Being under stress has that effect on you. Luckily I’m seeking help to try and get this under control and asking for help is ok.
I ran the marathon dressed as Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman first made her appearance back in 2003 when I ran my first marathon. It was a dare and never one to give in, I did it dressed as my favourite superhero. It’s a great costume to run in, as I’ve got older I realise there’s not much to it!! Thank goodness for the cape to hide my modesty.
As soon as I entered Excel to get my running number the nerves and excitement started. Though I nearly didn’t get my number as I’d forgotten to bring my photo ID. A few security checks and it was deemed I was me and one number given.
Number collected it was across London to my in laws to relax and carb load!
Nerves was in force when I woke up on the day of the marathon, trying to force porridge and toast down. My start was in Greenwich in the red zone. The weather was cold which was perfect running conditions. I did get some glances at my costume as I made the way across London with Dave to the start. I think I had several nervous wees. It was so cold and took solace in a nearby cafe until I had to make my way to the start.
As soon as I made the way to the start, my nerves calmed and I felt excited to be running in the London marathon again. A few pics and a reassuring hug and it was time to say goodbye to Dave, next time I would see him would be around mile 12 our first rendezvous.
Then we were off, it is such a huge feeling when you cross the line. I was soon into my stride and the first few miles passed quickly. First 10 k covered and was feeling good. In my head kept thinking about my first meeting with my family at mile 12. I think I ran mile 11-12 the quickest! Its very hard to spot people as the volume of support is huge. But I remembered from the map where they said they would be standing. I just beamed and ran over to them when I spotted them. It’s such a boost seeing them. A mouthful of fudge a few hugs and off I went.
The next few miles were hard, but seeing Matthew and Amanda at 30k mark kept me going. Again the relief at seeing a friendly face is overwhelming. A sweaty hug (me not them) mintcake and off I went. I love the poster Matthew made!
Refuelled off I went, next aim was to get to mile 24 when my Team Pennington support crew would be. For me this is where it gets really tough, tiredness kicked in and your body feels as if it’s running on empty. It’s a case of just putting one front in front of the other and letting the miles tick by.
When you get to mile 21, you can start to see the iconic landmarks we all know and love. As the miles ticked by, I was relieved to think I was nearly there. Just pass mile 24 I saw my family, utter emotion passed over me as I was broken but nearly there. Lots of hugs, encouragement and the next time I will see them will be at the finish.
I’m not sure how I got through the latter stages, the crowds were amazing and lots of high fives. I could see Big Ben and then Buckingham Palace and knew I was nearly home. The last half a mile feels so long, the grandstand and finish came into sight. I was nearly there. A massive sense of achievement washed over me. My time was 4:53 which was a little slower than I wanted but still pleased. My well earnt bling hanging on my neck as I made my way through to meet my family. When I checked my endomondo I’d actually run 27:15 miles! On the course there are blue lines painted on the road which is the exact measurement of the marathon. I obviously ran outside the lines!!
I saw Jake and Millie first as Dave and the rest of my family had got stuck trying to get across to the finish.
More bling for my collection, trying to stretch and not seize up. A rather undignified change and was off for an early dinner. But the sickness bug I had on Friday and a sore throat made the thought of a celebratory drink not high on my agenda. So I toasted my marathon success with a diet coke!
My body was starting to stiffen up as I made my way back across London to my in laws. The hot bath never felt so good. Early night was definitely in order.
The support for the Brathay charity I was running for, has been immense. I have managed to raise £3700 which will make a huge difference to these young people’s lives. I am going to visit the charity to see where the money goes in a few weeks time. My temporary pain is so worth it for the good it’s going to benefit them.
I finally got my celebratory fizz!
If you still want to sponsor me you still can at http://www.justgiving.com/Gina-Pennington2