(Original post by standreams)
Well, I did it and hit my target time (between 03.50 and 04.20). Picked up another niggling injury the day before so for a while I wasn't confident I'd even finish, but I finished with a (for me) good time (not under 4 hours...but that was always going to be tough) and most importantly/surprisingly didn't walk a step...the furthest I'd ever gone without walking was 13.1 miles so this was a huge achievement for me! When I realised I had no hope of going below 4 hours I made not walking my objective.
I'll always remember yesterday as one of the best experiences of my life. The crowd support was fantastic and I enjoyed it from start to finish. Some things I'd advise any runner to do (especially for a long distance race):
-Write your name on your running vest. I got at least 40 shout-outs and lots of kids wanting high-fives. When the going gets tough, hearing encouragement is a huge confidence and energy boost.
-Plan on taking on extra carbohydrate during the run. I got through two packs of energy chews and needed every one. Hadn't practiced running with them before but fortunately had no adverse effects. I didn't 'hit the wall' as a result, although I did find mile 19/20 tough.
-Run for a charity you believe in- it turns doing something for yourself (for self-esteem/the challenge) into something even more worthwhile and highly motivational.
-It doesn't matter if you don't sleep the night before. I got 1 hour, but energy, excitement and adrenaline got me through.
-Pack your race bag and get your clothes organised in advance to reduce stress on race day. You need to get rid of any additional stress so you can focus on the day.
-For me the Marathon didn't get worse and worse as it went on- some miles were hard, then the next were good. It has peaks and troughs and you only really appreciate the highs when you've battled through the lows.
-Don't underestimate the possible emotional impact of training for and running a Marathon. I'm sure for some people it's just a long run, but for many it means something more and if you're one of those people don't be surprised you experience a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.
-Unless you are unfortunate and injure yourself, it hurts up to a point and then it hurts no more. Pain is temporary, pride is forever!
Naturally, I am wearing my medal today in the office and I don't intend to remove it for at least another day. The feeling of completing a Marathon is worth all the inconvenience and pain of training for it...it's just wonderful.