The Chester Marathon – the second half

3 06 2010

I was beginning to believe I could do it. Still on target. It was wonderful and awful. I felt pressure mounting. It would be so much easier not to keep going at this pace. To let off. I couldn’t. I’d promised everyone and not least myself not to take the easy option this time.

I pressed on. My blister hurt. It didn’t matter. Keep going. By 18 I was starting to see runners regularly stop. This is awful. Temptation hits you. No I can’t stop. One poor guy just stopped abruptly and projectile vomited. God this was becoming a war zone. He looked ok so I continued.

Still on target I reached 20 miles in 3:01:30. My muscles were slowly beginning to fill with lactic acid. I tried changing my running style. No use. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I thought the 4 hour target was becoming unlikely. I was running out of gas.

I knew my running partner Peter had come to see me and would be at mile 22 with some support. Just get there I thought. I looked around. No sign of him. Damn, something must have come up. I put my head down and continued. Let it finish soon. I hate this.

Then I heard my name “Rob Rob”. I was so fast Pete had just seen my cap going past and had chased me down. “You’re going to do it”, he said. “4:10” I said. What a difference support makes though. The next mile I kicked on for a bit.

I suddenly started feeling light-headed and that I had to “perform” then I started feeling nauseous. I could no longer drink easily. I tried sports drink and it tasted awful. I just sipped on water. The wheels were starting to come off. For the next two miles I kept feeling wobbly then awful.

I kept going but was beginning to slow. I lost interest in time. I just want to finish to get the thing over with. I can’t stand it anymore.

Off the Greenway we came back into Guilden Sutton. The support was excellent but I could only focus on the hill. Then shortly afterwards for the first time since I have started running (nearly 3 years now) I stopped. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I walked then started running again. The shame of stopping made me continue. My legs were so heavy. I stopped again. Then started. I knew I wasn’t going to quite make my time. Will power had got me so far at this pace but I just didn’t have any left.

I longed for the 26 sign. It took forever. Now going at a snail’s pace I came across the mad woman marshal. She was great (but mad). She was whooping and hollering. God I could have swung for her. Then I saw the 26 sign. The pain will be over soon. Cars were leaving. Drivers with pity in their eyes.

I ran into the Rugby ground car park then saw the grass. I looked for the finishing line and saw my family. I just focussed on the line and kicked as hard as I could. I raised my arms as I reached the line.

I crossed the line in triumph, was given a medal and a bag then went over to the grandstand, leant against the wall and wept. I couldn’t calm myself. I had set a ridiculously high target and nearly pulled it off. The time to be confirmed was 4:02:22

After a few minutes I walked across to my wife and family and gave my wife, Helen a hug. I heard a noise come out of my mouth almost like an animal in pain and just cried and cried. I think at that moment all the pain and joy came out in one big wave of emotion. I had to share it with Helen who has believed in me from the start.

I was not sad at just missing out on 4:00. I was proud of my time. 22 mins off my previous marathon. I ran the race like a veteran and almost delivered.

I’m now 44 but my goal is still to run a marathon in under 4 hours. I ordered a book from Amazon today….. “Advanced marathon running”. Next time I will be even more prepared.

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3 responses

4 06 2010
Mike

Robert
I was 44 when I ran my PB marathon – rest up a couple of weeks then build up again for an Autumn marathon, you’ve got all those miles in your legs to help you to your next one –
Mike

4 06 2010
Renate

Inspite of the relief and elation you felt at the end , it sounds like sheer torture and I just do not know how you did it, Robert. I just have to congratulate you again on paper and tell you that you did us all proud. And here is to the next one and hopefully our nerves will stand it!

6 06 2010
Wifey

You are my inspiration, you have depths of strength I know were there and I never doubted you for a second. Superstar. xxxx

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