Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Souvenirs of the London Marathon

A bit of an introspective post here.

It's taken over a month to get round to writing it and that's because it's taken that long to really want to think about it.
I had been looking forward to the VLM for a long time. I first entered within a few weeks of diagnosis and it's taken all that time to get in. The experience was a bit diasapointing.
Quite a lot of it was my fault. You have to put in the training and over the winter I didn't do enough. OK I can blame the weather, trotting backwards and forwards from the UK etc etc but basically I left it too late to build up the mileage. I managed some long runs in the month before the event but probably far too late and too big an increase in distance. The result was yes, I finished and I ran most of the way but in a desperately slow time. I knew I was running slowly but had hoped the event itself would help me to run a bit quicker, my fasted mile in recent years was done in the New Forest Marathon.

As for the event itself .
I really enjoyed the immediate build up.
We had a good day out at the Marathon Expo where you have to go to register . It was good knowing that my OH , daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren would be on the route to cheer me on.
The night before the marathon we spent in a Premier Inn near Tower Bridge. I'd booked it a year before. The hotel was full of runners and even served a carb loading pasta meal if you wanted it. I went for the normal menu. Next morning it was quite disapointing to be the 'healthy runner' and stick to muesli, red fruits and my nod towards extra carbs, a slice of wholegrain toast. OH had the full English cooked breakfast and very nice it looked.

I left early for London Bridge station and the train to Greenwich. Stupidly we followed advice and OH didn't come with me. The wait at the start was exciting but a bit lonely as most other people seemed to have someone with them. I almost spoke to a lady wearing a DUK vest but was a bit she, I wish I had now because I've now read her blog elsewhere and realise she was also wearing a pump. I tested BG whilst waiting and as I thought was fairly low, even though I'd had the extra toast at breakfast so I ate a cereal bar. I was determined to keep BG up during the run. The start of the race itself was a bit strange,. I was on the blue start, which isn't the one shown on the tele. After walking for a while I suddenly realised that I'd reached the start but it was hardly marked so it was a bit of an anticlimax.

I'm not going to go through a mile by mile analysis. Some things were great, the crowds as everyone tells you are fantastic, and a lot of them wait for the slower runners. I had the shock of my life when the first personyelled out my name, then I realised it was printed on my vest! It was great to see some of the character's There was a dinosaur . At one time I couldn't understand why sometimes a rhino overtook me and then I seemed to catch him up and overtake, there were several rhinos ! The man carrying a fridge, passed me somewhere on the course. He deserved far more than a medal. I passed the marching band, they were playing well at about 5 miles . I was glad to come across the centipede whilst they were taking a loo break, getting past a chain of 50 people cannot be easy!

It was fun running over Tower Bridge and great seeing the Houses of Parliament and brilliant running past Buckingham Palace with only a few yards to go but you see all the sights a lot better on the television than from the course.

Much of the course though goes through surburban London or Docklands and some of it is pretty boring. Also because so many bottles and gel packs are thrown down slower runners like me are surrounded by a sea empty bottles and the road gets wet from the spilt water and sticky from the gel. It's unpleasant.
The strangest part was I found it lonely. I've got used to running by myself, I don't even run with my OH much now. (and that's a mistake I think I was running faster when I ran with him). I also run in fairly isolated places, normally I might see a couple of tractors and the odd car but not much else. I think in consequence I run very much within myself , having lots of other people around me I just retreated into myself even more. Every 'official' photo of me has me with my eyes looking downwards. It didn't help when I missed seeing my husband , daughter and grandchildren. They weren't at the JDRF spot as I thought they'd be. I 'd been looking forward to seeing them and was really disappointed that they weren't there. (they had been at either end of Tower Bridge, OH had missed me when he tried to phone daughter. They saw me at that moment, but I didn't see them). For the next few miles my speed was really really slow , so it obviously affected me. I cheered up when I eventually saw OH at Docklands with about 8 miles to go and again when I at last heard the 'Go Granny' and saw everyone else about 4 miles from the finish.

Incredibly after the finish and a sandwich in St James's park. I felt fit enough to walk to Waterloo . My glucose levels were fine, I'd run with a reduced basal for the whole time and had taken in a lot more carbs than usual (about 100 including the cereal bar at the start) The lowest level was 5 and the highest reading was 7.8, though I doubt it was that high for long. So I really could have done better, I wasn't even sore the next day, just a bit down. In fact I was almost tempted to enter again for next year... but never again, I've done enough marathons. We have entered for the New Forest half though, it's my aim to get a bit quicker.

The fantastic thing about the London was the reaction of other people when I asked for donations for the JDRF. I was a bit reluctant to attempt to raise any money. I don't know many people so I didn't think I could raise much. I set up a just giving page and asked people. I was astonished by peoples generosity. When I saw the first few donations I cried, I was shocked! I managed to raise just over £400.

To all those people who gave can I again say thankyou.

To my anonymous donor, if s/he reads this thankyou also. I may not have totally enjoyed the event but knowing I was sponsored made it very worthwhile.