Apologies for the delay in getting a post up, I’ve not been near a decent computer-and-internet-connection-combo!
Where do I start?! I guess Sunday morning is probably a good place…
I kept waking up every couple of hours on Saturday night, expecting to have to get up but being slightly disappointed as I realised there were a few hours to go yet! As one of my main fears was oversleeping and missing the start the waking up was probably a good idea! Eventually it was time to get up and I managed to force a couple of slices of toast down me – better than nothing!
Soon enough it was time to catch the DLR to Greenwich and the main Red Start (where the charity places go from). It was quite a trek from Greenwich station to the start area, but there was no chance of getting lost because of the sheer volume of people heading in the same direction!
Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags
Pre race smile - or nerves?
I met up with the other rhino runners (including those crazy people who were wearing the proper costumes) and my ‘usual’ running mate Neil. I dosed up on my usual painkillers (although one of the Save The Rhino staff had to get the tablets out of the packet for me as I had no strength!). Soon enough we were all on our way to the start – no going back! – where to everyone’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why? Why?!’
We all ended up somewhere between pen 8 and 9 (at the back) so it was a good 25 minutes or so before we finally got over the finish line and started running. From the start there were loads of spectators brought out by the glorious sunshine. The first couple of miles didn’t feel as hellish as they normally do but I guess there were so many distractions going on – including the many male runners swerving off to have a wee in the hedges! I ran with Neil again this time as we have similar pace.
I was keeping an eye out for the JustGiving gang who I was expecting before mile 5 (check out my list of ‘landmarks’ here). Can’t remember exactly where I saw them (all the miles blur into one) but it was great to see Heather and the gang (I met Heather on Saturday at the expo, and she mentions me in this video! Woo!). Further on we passed the Cutty Sark where Matt Baker (formerly of Blue Peter fame) was waiting with a cameraman, to which Neil blurted out something like ‘Ooh, you’re a famous person off Blue Peter!’ and I almost fell over laughing (the runner’s delirium had kicked in by that point I think). We carried on round to mile 8 and Surrey Quays where my dad was waiting with a large Save The Rhino flag which we had printed up, and jelly babies.
The supporters were great, and it sounds like a cliche to say they got me through but it’s actually true. So many times I heard ‘Go Becki’ ‘Come on Becki you can do it’ ‘Go Rhino Head’ ‘Becki’s got the horn’ ‘Becki are you feeling horny’ and variations on a similar theme, and they really helped, it would be easy to feel a bit invisible in a crowd of 35,000 (but I don’t think there was any chance of that with a large horn on my head!). I acknowledged every cheer although what started out as a wave each time soon turned into an arm waft because I didn’t have any strength left!
Somewhere before mile 12 we managed to see Neil’s family, then it was on to Tower Bridge, which seemed to be hiding from me very well! I knew that I’d have to take some more painkillers imminently so decided on 13 miles as the point at which I’d walk for a bit and take the painkillers (no point trying to swallow them whilst running, I’d choke!). So Neil ran on ahead and I strolled for a few hundred yards. Trying to run again after walking was interesting to say the least, and because obviously the painkillers hadn’t had a chance to kick in, painful! I managed a gentle jog for another couple of miles but then the nausea kicked in. Despite my previous posts assuming the the jelly beans I was eating were the culprit of my post-long-run throwing up, it appears it might just have been the running, as I was only on glucose tablets for the marathon. I had to walk somwhere around mile 16 and when I stopped running it felt like my knees would buckle from under me…
More to come soon! :)