What an experience. I have never done anything quite like it.
From a very young age I have always wanted to run a marathon. Last year I plucked up the courage to actually book my place on the Paris Marathon. I thought why not run your first marathon in one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. Looking back now I slightly regret my decision but I will tell you why later.
The lead up to the marathon was not great. I ended up tapering for a a solid 4 weeks due to a pain behind my left patella (knee cap). I booked in for a sports massage the day before my flight which I have to say was hugely beneficial, and only £8!!. I flew out on the Friday to give me enough time to relax before the race. This however was not the case, you can’t just stay in a hotel room when Paris is on your doorstep.
9th April 2017 will never be forgotten. After waiting, for what felt like a lifetime, the day was finally here. I want to say I was calm and composed. I wasn’t, not one bit. I only ate a couple slices of bread for breakfast and sat on the toilet for the majority of the morning. I put all my gear on and met some friends at the start line, in front of the Arc de Triumph. I have to say the nerves did settle once I saw the petrified look of my friends face. Once I was in my starting block the atmosphere took over and pure excitement kicked in. I was buzzing. On a complete high from life. I thought about how far I had come and how lucky I was to be stood there. Even though I was stood amongst 57,000 other runners, I still couldn’t quite believe I was about to run a marathon. The surreal moment of the race starting soon came and before I knew it the marathon was underway.
The first half marathon
I was killing it, I couldn’t have felt better. I was on cloud nine. I was sticking to my time, bang on 8.00 min/mile. Running through an amazing city enjoying the atmosphere. I even had a women shout ‘well done chemo2cardio, keep going’, if you are reading this thank you!! Just after the half marathon I started to feel the heat. The temperature was somewhere ranging between 24-28 degrees celsius, regardless it was bloody hot, a lot hotter than I had ever trained in.
My downfall. After 30K the heat took over. I went so light headed that I started to reenacted Jonny Brownlee in the dramatic end of the World Triathlon Series in Mexico. I was swaying side to side begging french people for “de l’eau s’il vous plait”. A few generous people gave me some but it didn’t really help. I finally got to the next water station, downed 5 bottles of water and ate half a banana. Feeling a tiny bit better I began to run again. Within seconds every muscle in my legs cramped, it was awful. I tried to stretch my quad out but my hamstring cramped. Nothing was going my way what so ever. What does make me chuckle is the fact that I put my thumbs up and tried to smile whenever I ran past a camera, just incase mum and dad were watching. I gritted my teeth and just about ran the last 2km.
I finished, which is some achievement considering there were only 42,500 finishers from the 57,000 who started. Part one of my challenge complete. Even though not everything went my way, what an achievement. I have ran a marathon within 18 months of being in remission. All I’ve got to do now is to be able to swim 2.4 miles and cycle 112 miles before running a marathon. Easy…
I will follow with a post soon on what I did wrong and what I will do next time. Yes there will be a next time. I have got the bug.