Shawnie runs 3 hour 21 minutes at London

Since I can remember I’ve watched London Marathon on the TV religiously every year and after deciding I was going to give marathon running a go London has always been on my hit list. 5 marathons later I decided to put my good for age time to use and get a spot in London.

My marathon training had gone perfectly for London until Iran Hull 20 (5 weeks before) and I started struggling with shin splints. Mileage for the next few weeks was cut, and as an injury prone runner I was nervous. Miles on my bike and miles in the pool kept me ticking over but little miles on my legs. The weekend before London I managed 8 miles at marathon pace and after hobbling around for a few days after, I was 50/50 whether to run.

After speaking with Coach and going to the London Marathon EXPO there was no way I wasn’t at least starting the race.

We collected our numbers from the EXPO on the Friday and after sampling ever protein and energy bar the EXPO had to offer, getting taped up at the KT stand and entering every marathon ballot going (maybe I’ll end up doing Kenyamarathon next year) I was definitely psyched up again for London.

The rest of the weekend flew by and before I knew it- it was race day and we were on our way!

I was in the green start with Zoe, both of us super excited, far too happy to say we was about to run a marathon.
We were soon put in our separate pens and after lots of small talk with my surrounding runners we were being moved forward to the start line.

And off we went…

Coach had told me don’t set off to fast for the first 5 miles (would I ever? :P) and that’s a challenge in itself. Trying not to get carried away with what’s happening around you and the realisation of actually running the London Marathon is enough to make even the best pacers get a little carried away, surely? I’ve always thought that the first half of a marathon feels like a solid but comfortable Sunday run and the second half feels like, well the complete opposite.

The first few miles involved merging together with all the other starts, tackling the mile of speed bumps, high fiving as many kids as I could and amazement at the crowds that lined the streets before we’d even got into the main section of the race. I was actually running next to a Christmas tree at one point for the first bit.

The rest of the miles until Tower bridge went pretty quickly, I was feeling good, my shins wasn’t hurting, my pace was exactly where I wanted it to be so I was enjoying this feeling. I’d had a shout out at mile 8 which was a nice surprise by Lindsay and Nicola and crowds were growing and growing.

Tower bridge soon approached – and we were already around the half way point. I don’t think I’ve ever been over Tower Bridge in my life so this was an extra special part of the course. As I approached the bridge, I saw Mick and his wife, the atmosphere was quite overwhelming, the crowd was so loud and admittedly I had a happy tear running over the bridge (cry 1 of the run).

Mile 14 – my Mo sighting. Running down a dual carriagewayI saw a 22 mile sign on the other side of the road and the crowds really started cheering, I knew Mo was on his way. First group Kipchoge and the gang and then 1 minute (ish) later, followed another loud cheer and Sir Mo himself, hanging on in there. Amazing to think we set off at pretty much the same time yet they’ve gained 8 miles on me.

From my 5 marathons I know that I’ve always struggled anywhere from 16 miles and if I’m lucky from 18 miles so I was expecting a hit anytime soon, especially because of the last 5 weeks. Miles were ticking away (quite literally couldn’t believe how fast it was going) and my watch soon buzzed 18 miles. I still felt good, pace was still good, everything was good, I was still smiling.

Then I heard ‘fancy seeing you here’… Turned around and there was Craig, we got on about the atmosphere and he told me the best bits are to come… Really?! I didn’t think there were people left in London after seeing the crowds for the first half! And off he went.

Mile 20 – fastest split of the marathon a 7.07/min mile, oops. Don’t know where that came from but I’ve never done that 20 miles in before.

Mile 22 – I knew Uncle Rob and Auntie Linds were somewhere along this mile and for sure they was. (cry number 2) no time for a hug, but a high five, a friendly face and a ‘welldone’ kept me smiling.

Mile 23 – there’s the wall I was waiting for. It never hits you gradually, it just happens. I remember running past a Lucozade stand desperate for water and asking one of the volunteers for water but it was a no go- just Lucozade, unfortunately I’ve not found my perfect supplement for running yet, energy drinks are not for me when I’m runningand neither are gels, I take shot blocks and I cant even stomach a lot of them.

Luckily for me, I saw three friendly faces jumping up and down on a block (Kerry, Andrea and Loraine) I gave myself a pep talk because at this point a little walk would’ve been very much welcomed and so far I had not had a walk yet (a new first for me). Besides what’s a parkrun when you’ve already ran 23 miles?

Mile 25- Craig was right, it did get better. I had definitely had enough at this point but the crowds just kept you going, there must’ve been thousands of people and it was so loud that you didn’t hear anything, just white noise. Then my watched ticked over 26.2 miles and I saw the 800m to go sign, next time I’m sticking to that blue line.

600m. 400m. 200m. Mustering up some sort of sprint to the finish line, forgetting all about the last 26.2 miles because I was so happy and relieved to see the end (cry number 3). And I’d done it, tired legs but one happy girl.

Things London Marathon has taught me:
Believe in the process and the miles in your legs.
London Marathon has definitely earned its title for best marathon in the world.
Listen to your coach it works.
I can run 26.6 miles without stopping.
Christmas trees can run fast.
I made it onto Tri24/7 London report see here

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