Training for the Boston Marathon really kicked up a notch today. This time last year I was travelling to Tokyo in order to reach my “fifth star”. Today I was in Chasewater in the wonderful West Midlands, but hey I could not complain… Well… I should not anyway. Since the Birmingham Marathon got canned there is very little chance of me running a marathon this close to home anytime soon.
I had a couple of major concerns today.
I had NEVER ran a marathon which required multiple laps before. 8 laps of 3.3 miles lay ahead and I could imagine myself getting so bored after lap 4 I’d end up chasing butterflies or texting.
For the record, I did one of the above… Go figure.
My other concern was the size of the race. Roughly 80 runners. Would there be any support and what would it be like? I don’t mean crowd support, the local Goose and Swan population would provide that in the form of aggravated hissing. Would there be drinks stations? In hindsight I really should have read the pre race briefing email, because this would have cleared up any concerns.
Concerns stuck pushed to the back of my mind, I set out for a red eyed 20 minute drive to Chasewater Park (via McDonalds which added 30 minutes). Parking up the event seemed to have a decent buzz to it, despite the small size.
Race number collection was quick, simple and allowed the chance of a fleeting glimpse of the medal. Oh, I forgot! The timing chip! Check this bad boy out.
If I wasn’t aware there was a run on and I saw myself running I would have called the police for trying to outrun the limits of my police tag.
9am sharp we got going. All 80(ish) of us jogging in to the thick fog.
This is where this write up gets repetitive. Should I really write up a review for 8 laps? No.
What I will say is the course was nice and varied. The first mile took us along the edge of the lake and on to a trail section through woodland. Mile two ran alongside the Chasewater Vintage train track and under some fizzing power lines. Shocking. Mile three was back on a trail path along the edge of the lake to the check point.
Oh and what a check point! Drinks, sweets, cakes, biscuits, everything. The only disappointment I have is with myself… With myself for NOT noticing this until LAP FOUR!!!! When I DID notice it, by Lord did I take advantage. I think I managed to polish off a large bag of Haribo, A pack of Jaffa Cakes and a gallon of squash. Never finished a marathon feeling stuffed before… Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating (slightly) but there was incredible range of “nutritional support” provided by friendly, smiley people. What else do you want eh?
I will tell you what you don’t want. You don’t want to take a lump of vaseline and slather it on your chaffing inner thighs to realise very, VERY quickly that it was Vicks Vapour Rub. Oh. My. I have never smelt so wonderfully menthol but felt such pain before. The whole of the sixth lap was spent looking like a Penguin struggling to get home after a trouser accident.
With the pain clearing up, so did the fog (which was a shame because it was hiding my tears). What a beautiful day. Beautiful park too! Can’t believe it is so close to home and I’d never been here before. Just goes to show there is always something new to see, somewhere new to run.
Just before 2pm I approached the finish line. Turning the last corner to see my wonderful three year old Niece had made the journey up, stood by the finish line grinning like a Cheshire Cat and clapping like a maniac. Probably best to point out she hadn’t made her own way up… Nanny had bought her with the promise of food…. Probably explains the applause actually. “What? He’s Finished?!? PICNIC!!!”
A few Scones later (can you tell I like food?) I started to feel a bit more stiff and accomplished. 7 weeks ago I was nearly 16 stone. Today I finished a marathon in 4:46. 7 weeks from this I’ll be in Boston getting ready for a Marathon.
Six Star Finisher coming up.