London Marathon – the Experience

So I have given you the numbers. But how was the experience of taking part in the marathon? Well, this is how my day went. I had a good nights sleep against all odds. Woke up early though and had a hot shower, trying to warm up my muscles but was even colder afterwards. Did my hair (went with the feathers because that option won my poll – thanks for input) & make up. Did all the necessary prep work before getting dressed and saved eating until last. Packed the travel bag and Jon and I headed towards the train.

We decided to train it when we realised most roads were going to be closed. I tried to hydrate on the way which resulted in three train toilet visits. I thought I was in the clear until we reached Greenwich, but already on the tube I could feel I needed a toilet again. I thought I’d use the ladies at canary wharf but it was closed for cleaning! I get super annoyed when I need the loo that desperately… Not nice to be around at all. We got on the escalator to get to the dlr to Greenwich, but on the ride up I saw women walking into the gents – I was so annoyed I missed that. And there was really no way of getting back down and we didn’t have time. I was hoping the dlr would be quick and that hopefully there would be a toilet at the station. In my head i counted down the stations to Greenwich. There was toilets, but they were closed. I stopped once more to try and get to a toilet but it was closed as well. Jon pointed out that I’d be better off just walking to the start where I knew there would be toilets, I know he was right but it still annoyed me. I could not think of anything but my bladder! No nerves, no expectations, no excitement.

We came to the park but no toilets in sight. Asked and asked and was told over and over that it was “just straight ahead”. That straight ahead was far, far, far away. I wanted to jump in the bushes, which I in hindsight should have. Jon stopped me. We got to the entrance and Jon wasn’t allowed in. He kept telling me I should give him my clothes, jacket and stuff I wasn’t running in, but I could not think another thought. I decisively ran inside scanned for toilets but could only see mens urinals (there was suppose to be women’s as well, but if there was they hid it well) I could not hide the desperation in my voice when I asked for toilets and even inside the start area it was so far away. I never saw the toilets but I did see a massive cue. I had no choice but to stand in it, even though I could not see as far as it ending with portable toilets. I was just hoping I would not wet my pants even before starting the race and luckily I made even if it took forever it felt like!

Such a dilemma; you have to hydrate before, but it makes you want to use the toilets badly. The whole area felt very disorganised if I’m to criticise anything. In my opinion, they should have toilets all the way from the station to the start area. Since there is a constant flow of people all the time, the cues inside would minimize. That’s what I think…

I jumped out of the toilet and realised my next problem. It was close to 9.45 when the start is and Jon was far away. I still had my jacket, top and extra running pants on me and needed to give them to him. I started running back to the entrance (great warm up!) But as I get closer I see they have shut the entrance and loads of people start walking pass, between me and Jon is a seas of people! It’s the start line. I decide to try and get over the fence and throw my clothes to Jon over the second fence that he’s behind. Before making my way into the masses I get “undressed” to my running clothes. Grab the clothes I want to get rid of in one hand and start walking down. Soon I see that someone has broken into the fence and there was a little gap to get through so I go for it! I start crossing through all the people sideways and soon is on the other side. I start looking for Jon and just hope he is still there. I see him seconds before her sees me, he’s scanning the runners looking to see if he can spot me. Relieved I toss him my clothes, tell him I love him and start walking towards the start.

I’m a very organised, planned type of person, so chaos like this does not really work for me. I tend to get quite irritable. But anyway, things worked out as they always do and soon I was running my first marathon.

Compared to my other proper race, it was very crowded for a very long time. Not until mile 20 did it start to get a bit less crowded. This meant of course that it was difficult to keep the pace you wanted at the times you wanted to, and hard to overtake sometimes.

There was crowd watching and cheering throughout the whole course – amazing really! Little kids (which I usually tend to avoid) giving you high fives. It made such a difference. Especially in the beginning for me, because towards the end I started to get a bit drawn into my own world. Which is strange because the crowd was louder than ever!

I tried to hold my number visible when running through the finishing line so that I might get a decent photo… We’ll see how that worked out for me in a couple of days.

I tried to get a photo on my phone but my battery died. I got un-tagged, received my medal and goodie bag and then tried to find my meeting spot which was chaos again!

I did find Jon, or he found me rather but then I had to rush to the toilet – again! I thought I’d completely missed my charity. Didn’t see them on the route where they said they would be (but I must have missed them) and now both Jon and me were looking for them. We were just about to give up when I saw balloons and the drinkaware vest! By this time it was raining quite a lot. We got directions to the hotel, it felt very posh and it was very much a spa so it was definitely a weird feeling when you’re in the state your in when you’ve been running for five hours. Disgusting… He he! But the massage was great and I really appreciated the effort from drinkaware!

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