Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Marathon Man - Part 4
Perhaps the best way to start this blog entry is to answer the questions posed at the end of the last one. Here goes...
Will I have made it?
Yes. Yes I will. Just about. I've got the medal, the finisher's t-shirt and the photos to prove it. 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 29 minutes. Done.
Will my legs and lungs hold out?
The lungs will. The legs, not so much. Towards the end every major muscle group in my legs was cramping. That's not much fun. Especially in the quads. I have never had cramp in the quads before. Turns out it sucks just as much as anywhere else.
Will I soil myself around the 20-mile marker?
No I won't, and any rumours to the contrary are unfounded and malicious. I haven't washed my shorts yet, you can check them.
Will Brooklyn Decker be waiting at the finish line to give me a really long congratulatory hug?
No. Bang out of order. What's that? Your professional tennis player husband, modelling commitments and blossoming international film career got in the way? Whatever. So selfish...
So there you have it, I have officially run a marathon. At this moment in time, just two days later, it's hard to say exactly how I feel about it. The strongest memories at the moment are probably the negative ones! As I sit here typing this, my legs are in pretty much constant pain. Going up and down stairs poses real problems. I walk like I've been the victim of a brutal, leg-based, gangland attack. It's like someone dressed my legs up as a Crip and drove me into the Bloods part of town. Yeah, that's exactly what it's like. I guess that's how a physiotherapist would describe it too...
Don't get me wrong though, I am over the moon I've done it. No more training for it! I'm so relieved that I can now go for a jog when I actually want to and not because I have to! And it's nice to not have something scary looming on the horizon any more. But in terms of the actual achievement I don't think it's set in yet. I'm still finding it hard to believe that I actually ran 26.2 miles. Doesn't seem real yet. Hopefully that will come when the pain subsides!
Nonetheless, despite my overriding memories being of pain and physical suffering, there were moments that were amazing. In fact, if I think about it, the first 14 miles were really enjoyable. And even though I was in pain, I've never been so fucking happy to be standing still after crossing the finish line!
+ Seeing familiar faces in the crowd dotted around the course cheering me on. That was brilliant. It was nice when strangers offered support, but nothing beat seeing friends cheering me on. That was awesome, so thanks to everyone who came to support.
+ Getting a high-five and a shout of "Come on, Andy!" from Gus Poyet. That was pretty funny/cool.
+ The feeling of taking part in something so big and so challenging. That was pretty overwhelming.
+ Raising so much money for such a good cause. Thank you again to everyone who sponsored Dan and I.
+ More than anything, running it with one of my oldest and best friends. Oldest in as much as he's been my friend for a long time. He's not 90 or anything... Seriously though, not only was it great to share the occasion with him, but he also pretty much carried me over the finish line! Those last few miles would've been a hell of a lot tougher without you champ!
+ Everything after about 18 miles was gruelling and painful. Running the final stretch should've been joyous, but to be honest I was in such pain I couldn't enjoy it!
+ The training.
+ Blah blah blah, stop being a moany old bastard and enjoy it.
So there you have it, my marathon adventure is over. I bloody did it, and I'm glad I've done it. But if anyone hears me talking about doing another one, you have my full permission to hit me in the testicles. Talk to me in about a month if you want a sunnier opinion on marathon running...