So the big day was here…
In order for me to have a good night sleep before marathon, we moved cot bed to another bedroom. Hubby was about to sleep with Kuba and feed him overnight. I was about to sleep in our bedroom with my sister. Milk was ready and the plan was tested before. All set. But…during the night I heard Kuba crying, I knew he was in good hands, so I wanted to fall asleep again. The crying got louder and louder minute after minute, so I got up to check what was going on. I saw my husband carrying our son, trying to feed him with the bottle but he wasn’t taking it. I thought “are you kidding me”? You’ve got the milk, we tested feeding from the bottle, I’m running a marathon in few hours and you just wouldn’t let me sleep? I ended up feeding him myself. Couple of hours later same story…and then once again…I wanted to cry…I couldn’t believe that… Why, why today? I could remember how I felt during my training with that kind of sleep, especially my long runs…
And here I was on marathon morning feeling exhausted already… just great…
This is part 2 of my memories from running my first marathon, to read part 1 please click HERE
Anyway, I got dressed, got my power porridge for breakfast, drank my special isotonic drinks and fed my boy again (to keep him full plus to take the ballast off my chest:)). Breastfeeding marathon mama…
We decided that I would go to the start on my own. Later I was told that Lucas with Kuba were looking through the window for me all the way down to DLR station. They were sending me powerful vibes, Lucas had tears in his eyes. On the way I got so many messages from family and friends, I knew they all will be thinking about me and I needed that.
I must admit I was tired.
Going to the start was ok until together with some other runners we got stuck on the train. What seemed to be forever, after 20 mins, we got to the final station (great I planned to be there much earlier) and were heading to the start line. I could already feel the adrenaline – excitement mixed with nerves.
The part that needs to be written about is ladies toilet point…after a looooong queue there were some paper cups to take on, I was wondering what for…it turned out that there were no toilets as such but some urinals where we were supposed to do our business while standing. Those paper cups were to be placed down there to help making it an easy flow…what???? I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life nor I knew how to use it. All I could see was plenty of female rears trying to somehow do their business and… plenty of other ladies just making wee in a traditional way all over the place. I decided to join the second group 🙂
After dropping my bag, I got to the start line. It was quite cold, so I was wearing plastic trash bag to keep the wind off. Many others were leaving their jumpers and jackets over there, probably donating them to charity or so. I really admired runners wearing just tops and shorts – brave ones.
Hubby, sis and bro-in-law were supposed to cheer me up on the way, they got the map, planned where to go and first time I was supposed to meet them at 15k.
Finally, we began. The support started from very beginning and it turned out to never stop. All way long there were people cheering, clapping, giving jellies, fruits, high-fives. I decided to run slower, to keep my energy up for the whole 42k. I felt very good, grateful for being a part of this amazing race and enjoying the atmosphere. After about 10k, I felt I needed a wee but I was not keen on queuing for the loo. So I continued to run for as long as I could and finally needed to jump into the bushes to do my business. I was waiting for this 15k mark to see my family but when we got there, I couldn’t find them. I was still hoping to see them until 18k but my hopes were never met.
Passing the Tower Bridge was phenomenal, this is my favorite place in London and I felt awesome being a part of that running wave there.
After 20km it started getting hotter but I was still feeling good. I was running at 5.45 peace hoping to be able to go under later on. Every 30 min I was taking an energy gel.
When we were approaching Canary Wharf I started feeling tired and slowed down. At 30k it was the biggest hill ever, I remember saying “who the fu*.. put this hill in there?”. But then I heard my name – in the front line it was my hubby with Kuba . He stretched his arms, so I could kiss our baby very quickly. That gave me power. Another turn and I could see them all – my sister Gosia, Matt, Lucas and Kuba again, they were all waving, so I started jumping and sending them kisses, so grateful for having them there.
Running through Canary Wharf was amazing, the crowd was bigger, all clapping, singing, orchestra playing music, it was loud and it was powerful. That, together with seeing my loved ones was what I needed, I got a kick in my butt and felt much better.
Not for long though…after about 32k I felt worse, I got a stitch and felt I needed to stop. I really didn’t want to do this but after few more steps I had to. But then I felt even worse, I knew that if I stay still I would not be able to start running again. So, slowly I got back to the race but for the next 1k I needed to stop few more times. I was forcing myself to move, even if that needed to be a slow jog, otherwise I knew that I would not be able to continue at all.
9k to go and I’m feeling that my power is drifting away…
I could see a time pacer for 4h finish time passing me by and I tried to speed up but I just couldn’t. My breathing was fine, my mind was fine, upper part of my body was fine but my legs…I felt like they couldn’t move any more. I was not even lifting them up that much, there were just going forward one step at a time. I literally felt that my legs were separate to the rest of my body.
Last 5km, we were running by the Thames river, I could see London Eye but I had an impression that the closer I was getting, the further and further away it was. The finish line was next to Buckingham Palace, so when I saw Westminster, it was not long to go. But again…the closer I was getting the further away it seemed to be.
That was it, I felt no more energy, the sleepless night wasn’t helping and I couldn’t do this any longer…Dragging myself down, we turned next to Westminster bridge and then I saw them again – my amazing trio – Lucas, Gosia and Matt cheering for me again. My face told them all, I was almost crying. However I could still hear them with their encouragement that I could do it, that it’s almost finish and that they would wait for me in there.
During this last 2km I was wondering what was worse – going through the labour or running a marathon and to be honest I could not find the answer. Labour was freaking painful but so this was.
Last 1.5km and I was pissed off, really. I didn’t want to do this anymore, so I decided to finish it all as soon as possible. I don’t know how but I managed to speed up. When I saw Buckingham Palace and then turned to see a finish line in front of me, I had tears in my eyes.
When I crossed that finish line I was crying. When I got my medal I was still crying, so the lady hugged me tight.
After few moments my hubby gave me the biggest hug ever and we both were sobbing. He knew what it meant for me. He knew how difficult it was for me. And he stood by my side from the very beginning.
Gosia and Matt – they’ve been there for me too. All of them have been there for me during training preparation, to cheer me up on the way and to hug me at the finish line. They really helped me at that 30k and later on that 40k. I’m forever grateful for their support.
And my little man Kuba – he’s been waiting for his mummy too, he’s been proud of his mummy, who got safely through the finish line even though he didn’t let her sleep the night before. His cheeky smile and happy face was the biggest joy for me.
My finish time was 4:25:22, I was aiming to complete it in 4 hours but taking into account everything I’ve been through, I’m proud of myself.
Especially in the light of what happened to one of the participants…young man…he was not so lucky to finish that marathon…and he would never make any of the other marathons as he is no longer with us.
So here I was…
I’ve just completed my first marathon.
I’ve just completed London Marathon which is one of the Worlds Marathon Majors, where I got accepted first time round.
I’ve completed my first marathon when my baby boy turned 7 months.
I could not believe it…
For me it was not only about the last 42k. My marathon lasted four long months, my marathon was a combination of demanding training, dedication, discipline and persistence. But my marathon was also my biggest joy, my amazing achievement, my moment of glory.
During that last km I said “That’s my first and my last marathon ever. Never Again” …but, as you probably know, that’s not going to end there.
This September I’m running another one of World Marathon Majors.
See you in Berlin 🙂