I have to say that it was absolutely brilliant. I loved it even though there was a degree of pain towards the end. The atmosphere, the other runners, the spectators, the weather, the seaside, the music and Twitter all came together on the day and delivered the perfect combination to enable me to get around the 26.2 mile route with a smile.
People starting to gather on a fresh Sunday
morning in Preston Park
Me looking somewhat anxious at the start
26.2 miles...... 26.2 miles!!!! ..... I ran that! It took me 4hrs 39 minutes and 20 seconds with one loo break and a couple of minutes of walking. But in the main I bloody well ran the whole thing. It's the furthest I have ever run in my life. I did one 20 miler in my training and missed two weeks out of my schedule so didn't get as many long runs in as I was meant to but it was enough training to ensure I was less than 10 minutes over my goal of 4:30hrs so I am very pleased indeed.
The second half was a bit slower and I think I hit the 'wall' at between 15 and 18 miles or at least that is where it seemed to get very hard work. I stayed hydrated and scoffed anything that was offered to me and by the time I got to 22 miles I could imagine me crossing the finish line. There was music all around the route and at 22 miles some thumping musc was perfect for getting me back on the pace.
It takes me a while to get into my stride and I could almost hear certain friends on Twitter shouting 'take it steady Jo, relax and enjoy'. Several friends had downloaded the very handy Brighton Marathon app for iphone and would be following my route from the comfort of their settees!
Two things at the start concerned me, firstly I was bloody freezing and secondly I was concerned that I'd not run with a body belt attached before. I know I'm meant to practice in the gear I run in but I'd only bought the belt a few days before and so didn't have a chance. Right up until the last few minutes before I offloaded my kit bag I wasn't going to run in it but then I saw so many people with backpacks and all manner of belts that I thought what the hell I'll wear it after all. Plus I could tweet en route if I had the energy, the other motivating factor being that it was stuffed with my gelatine free gummi bears.
Once we were off and after the first 3 or so miles, I settled into my zone and ran. Its really really hard trying to run slower than you feel like running in the first half the marathon so you have more energy for the second half but I did try and was thankful for my Garmin Forerunner watch which meant I could keep and eye on the time.
There were times during the race when I laughed out load at the signs spectators were holding up. One said, 'If your feet hurt its because you are kicking ass' . I shouted, 'What about if you ass hurts?'
Another sign held aloft by cheering friends of one runner said, 'Your arse looks big in that!' I thought about my own arse and smirked knowing that mine didn't look big at all!
Talking of arse, at one stage I had a very very tall bloke in front of me with a very nice looking bottom perfectly rounded and toned in his black lycra. I so had to to smile. In fact I smiled quite a lot really. I smiled at Dave running completely in pink for a breast cancer charity..... he had even sprayed his skin pink. He told me he'd run about 30 marathons. I was very impressed.
I saw a badger, a tiger and a rhino running! I have a Twitter friend who runs in a yellow duck suit and I thought of her and the fact she will be running 5 marathons in 5 days! I can't imagine running in anything not designed to be run in.
I overtook an alien and a couple of cavemen and I was full of admiration for a guy who was wearing combats and was carrying the backpack from hell and the knight in shining armour.
By the time I reached the half way point I felt a surge of energy probably enhanced by a huge crowd of people along the seafront cheering us all on. I got my phone out and recorded myself on audio boo.
The last two miles felt like another 10! They seemed to go on forever and by now my whole pevic girdle was aching like crazy and I could definitely feel my knees and ankles. There were spectators everywhere, on either side of the route cheering me on and offering encouragment.
Soon I could see the finish and what a sight for sore eyes it was.....
I'd done it! I felt very proud of myself as I wandered about in my space blanket scoffing a banana and smiling rather manically to myself.
After collecting my kit bag I changed into flip flops much to the relief of my feet and after wandering around aimlessly for about an hour or so, then proceded to walk the 3 miles back out of town to collect my car for the 2 hour drive home. On the drive home I was thankful for a delicious raw chocolate energy ball followed by a manuka honey superfood bar along with a bottle of water. By the time I got home I did wonder if I'd be able to get out of my car at all, but I did and although in some discomfort it was rather less than I imagined it might be.
Today I have taken the dog out for a walk and I can feel my hips and top of my quads feeling stiff but on the whole I don't feel too bad at all.
I have some thanks to offer people who have been very helpful in terms of motivating me and offering advice - I won't mention them individually in case I forget one... but suffice to say they probably know who they are anyway and that its people like you that make the challenges a joy to do. I thank you and salute you.
Now then, what's next?