Rotterdam Marathon #14

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Yes, well. This post has taken ages to write. In fact, I don’t think I am going to write much.

I trained hard and focussed on MP – 9:07min/mil. I wanted to beat my PB of 4:12, which has stood since 2014. I wanted to get a 3:xx – maybe even a 3:55…

Training was fine – I had missed a week as I had a really rubbish cold and cough which was bronchial, so I could run but couldn’t sleep as every time I laid down I coughed up a lung. Antibiotics fixed that but put paid to a PB attempt in Colchester half marathon, although I still managed a sub 2.

Six days a week was exhausting but fine and I never dreaded a run. I eked out rest time and worked out if I did an early run on Wednesday morning my rest would be until Friday morning.

Rotterdam was hot. The weeks before had been spent packing to move house. I work away from home. I had had a cold during training. I didn’t sleep well the previous week. All of those excuses, but what it comes down to is that I failed to maintain MP, or close to it, beyond the first five miles. In fact, it was my worst time (excluding the trail marathons) ever.

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Heartbroken. I love running but after four years of four months of hard training twice a year, of 5am wake ups and missing social events and occasions because I have a run to do, only to choke on race day, I’m pretty close to done.

I have Luxembourg at the end of May and Chicago in October. I’ll do those without any kind of time in mind, and that’ll be it for me.Sixteen is a good number. I’m not strong enough to cope with another round of hope, hard work and optimism followed by disappointment and shame.

Volunteering at VMLM!

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After 14 marathons and dozens of other races, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the London Marathon. A friend of mine is part of an Essex running club who always put a team forward for Mile 17, as you’d do in a local race to support. This year they had the opportunity to put a new team in the Mall, and he asked some of his friends in our online running club, the BCRC.

 

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Bright and early. That eyeliner was definitely not around later…

The first fifty who’d put their names on the list were picked, and my husband and I were asked to head to Embankment for 7:45am, to pick up our security passes and t-shirts. It was a really early start (4.30am alarm, yawn!) but I was so excited  didn’t really notice.

 

We got out orange tshirts from our team leader, who also gave us our photo passes. That lanyard is coming to work with me! We walked to the Mall where the overall team director briefed us on what to do. We were giving out goody bags – a fantastic place to be. We spent the next couple of hours opening boxes and working out strategies on how to get rid of the rubbish, which side was open first, etc. We saw the mini marathon come through and in no time at all, the wheelchair race had finished.  David Weir went past us!

 

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Pointing out the bleedin’ obvious, a la Paris and the BCRC way

The Elites were directed into their VIP area so we didn’t see many of them, but it was so exciting just to be close by. I spotted Chrissie Wellington striding through, and Martin Yelling of Marathon Talk.

The next six hours passed in a blur of runners and shouting and congratulating. Sweaty hugs and steadying hands.  I tied a space blanket around one guy and politely refused another’s request for a second t-shirt for his girlfriend.  I saw a few NRRs and I think I spotted  CONAC, but as there were two sides I missed a lot of people!

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The amazing @befitforaking at the finish of the VMLM17 after doing the Boston/London double!

That sentiment about all of humanity being visible in a marathon is so true. I saw so  many tears, and pain, but also joy and lifts from fellow humans. Conversations between runners about the miles they’d run together, the race they had had. I was astonished at the amount of people who stopped to thank us for our time – it was so lovely and thoughtful and also unnecessary.

 

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Thanks Shake Shack Westfield, that was delicious!

We finally got home to Norwich about 11pm, tired and footsore but so happy from being able to give back a little bit of every supporter and marshal in every race. Racing and running are brilliant, but I think it’s so important to do what you can every so often, to let others carry on and to acknowledge the wonderful people who make races happen.

Well done to all of the runners – you are all heroes!