But my goodness, what a blub-fest! This time around I was seriously overwhelmed by the emotions of running the marathon. You name it, I probably cried there on Sunday. The platform at the train station on the way to the race? Check. The start line? Check. Baggage check? Check. On a rock after collecting my bag at the end? Check (fist bump to the girl from Nottingham who talked to me here whilst I was having a little cry-fest - thanks lady for taking my mind off it!) The finish? Check....check...CHECK.
At about mile 17 I could feel a sob bubbling up in my chest so badly that it was affecting my breathing, and all I could do was walk and sob to get it done with. I wasn't sad, I wasn't in pain, I was just extremely overwhelmed by it all. I was also trying to show that I was actually happy, so I was trying to smile whilst sobbing. Word to the wise - do NOT try this - I can only imagine what this looked like to the crowd as I passed.
Sob done - it was time to get back to it! I was glad I got that out of the way and felt much better afterwards. Thanks to the German lady here who called out 'Go Sarah, you are a Superstar!' which made me pick up my tired little legs and start running again. And this is what I love about the marathon, the support from absolute strangers cheering you all on together as you all run to reach your own individual goals; other runners helping each other out and supporting them when the going gets tough; the lift you feel as other runners see their own supporters on the course; not to mention the many emails and good luck messages I had from friends and family. I kept thinking of all of these messages as I ran, and they definitely kept me going when it got tough, as did focusing on getting to the next check point.
I had tried to break the run into four 10k sections (and worry about the extra 2k at the end!) with my champion supporter Jamie planted at three other designated places. This was fine until my brain went all strange about 34k. I was on my way to seeing Jamie at his last point and all I could think by this time was that I needed to know the remaining distance in mileage - but my exhausted brain wasn't playing ball and was unable to do the most basic of maths. I was thinking I would just have to run to Jamie and ask him what 7 x 6 was....thankfully I refrained from sounding like a total loon, pulled myself together and got over it! At 35k I just managed to keep the tears at bay as Jamie gave me a little pep talk and told me it was less than 7k to go. I said I'd see him at the end and soldiered on for the remaining 4.35 miles (in case you're wondering).
Throughout the run I kept thinking that this was my last marathon, so I had to make it count. Then the next minute thinking, 'If I carry on like this I might just qualify for London Good for Age Time' then back to, 'Never again!' Who knows?!
The brilliant Chrissie Wellington said on twitter before the London Marathon, 'There's no pressure, no expectation other than to do the very best with the body and mind you have on the day. That's success and perfection'
After all the weeks of training and the injuries, on Sunday during my third marathon, I feel like I achieved just that.
Thank you to all of you who sent kind and supportive messages both before and after the run. The amount that this support carries you through the race is immeasurable and I am truly very grateful.