Saturday, 23 April 2016

Paris and Manchester Marathon Part 2

Hi guys and thanks again for reading my blog.

As I mentioned in my previous post that I managed to register for the marathon and picked up the race number literally the day before and by now I was both excited and nervous.

The day of the run came and as the minibus was leaving at 7:15am, I had to be up and ready really early. I think it is one of the earliest times I have ever woken up on a Sunday. It seemed like such a rush that morning and I had to do things very quickly. We set out of my house around 7:05am and got the Poachers Pub (where the minibus was setting off from) just in time.

I got on the bus and it was nice to see people from my running club again and we all had a common goal. That was to try our best and complete this marathon. One thing that made me happy is that when I told some of them about what happened in Paris the week before a lot of them were very supportive and non judgemental. I knew though there was a difference in my mindset the way I was on the morning of the run compared to Paris. I knew I could run this marathon and just as importantly I believed that I could. My frame of mind was more confident, positive and relaxed.

Once we arrived in Manchester due to traffic we were dropped of a couple of minutes away from the starting line. I heard someone mention that starting line is like a mile away.My first reaction was like blimey another mile when i'm planning to do 26.2 anyway but in hindsight I guess it was a good warm up.

We got to Old Trafford cricket ground and the main things that we wanted to do was drop our baggage off and go to the loo. It felt like a mission to find out where to drop the baggage off. We were asking loads of people who seemed a little unsure. As normal the queues for the bog was incredibly long, so me and Mike (a fellow runner) decided we would try and find out where to put the baggage. Whilst on the way we found a different set of loos and the queue looked a lot smaller. Thought we had hit the jackpot and got a smaller queue. I was wrong but things like this are all part of the marathon experience and to capture of it is amazing.

I finally managed to get to the start line but I was around 15 mins late but lots of other runners were late too for various reasons.As I was walking to the start line the support was incredible, loads of people holding up placards and supporting their loved ones. It was lovely that lots of us were walking to the start line together talking to completely random strangers and wishing them luck for what they were about to do. It really isn't easy.

Once over the line I was ready and the run had started. My attitude was just have a slow gentle jog and nothing more. I wasn't aiming for a time. Especially after Paris I  just wanted to finish and make sure that I achieved what I wanted to for the beautiful charities that I was supporting (Mind, Lily Uganda and St Catherines Hospice), everyone who sponsored me but just as importantly for myself too. I set out with a goal to run 26.2 miles and I was determined that what happened in Paris was not going to stop me.

The sign for the 1st mile came a lot quicker then I expected and I thought i'm not going fast and I felt ok. Things were going well at that stage. Around this time I also met a fellow runner called Susan who also runs for Lancashire Red Rose Road Runners and it was nice to hear her words of encouragement and I ended up staying with her until just after the 4th mile. I remember mentioning to her that it was around this time that I began to struggle in Paris and I felt ok and she reminded me that it is a good sign.

Around mile 3 I saw the the Coronation Street recording studios. I was quite tempted to go and ask for a nice cup of tea with Ken Barlow but refrained from doing so in the end. I had lots of energy left in me at this time and I was using quite a lot trying to motivate the crowd into giving us more support, loving the fact they responded and cheered even louder as I went past. That is one thing I really enjoy about running in a big event. A lot of the time the crowds are tremendous and can try support you, encourage you, motivate you and just give you a bit of extra drive to do well and try hard.

I felt like I was going at a really good pace and could sustain that pace for a long time. Unfortunately around mile 5 we had to see that horrible sight of a stadium that is called Old Trafford. Some call it the Theatre of Dreams but I now call it the Theatre of Nightmares as they haven't won a trophy there apart from a community shield since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Some Liverpool fans that were running were commenting about how they hate Man Utd.

By now I needed the toilet again and I was wondering where the poterloos would be. Luckily they came on the 6th mile and this time there was no queues. YES! However I had run really well and at a pace I was happy with until that point but I was worried that having a toilet break would lose my momentum. Sometimes negative thoughts like that can enter your head especially whilst running but sometimes we can push our bodies more then we think we can.

So I got back out running and kept up with the same pace as before and I was really happy with the way things were going. At mile 10 we had some incredible support which seemed to go on for ages. Half of the supporters were on our side of the road whilst the other supporters were on the other side encouraging the other runners who were further along the route then us. I soon got past mile 11 and I saw a sign on the other side of the road where the other runners were returning. I had a quick glance expecting it to say mile 12 but it said mile 16 and I was like blimey these guys are miles ahead of us and I was wondering where the route would take for the next 4 miles. I thought it is probably going to take me a while to get to 16 miles.

As the route carried on we got to the halfway stage and at 13 miles I saw my time as it stood was 2 hours 55 mins. I thought this couldn't be right as I got 2 hours 35 in Blackpool with 2 toilet breaks. Then I thought because I started the race late it must have had some bearing on the time. I just think initially I was quite shocked to have seen that time. At the halfway point it felt like we were running in a mini town centre as there quite a few cafes and shops around but were in Altrincham by now. I don't ever recall visiting Altrincham but I remember the place had a good feel to it and even young children were stood outside the cafes offering us snacks.

Just after the half way point I remember seeing hill but it didn't have much of an incline but I hate running up hills in general so even small hills feel massive to me. As I was doing my slow gentle jog pace up the hill I felt the normal jangles of pain that you get running up a hill. I was glad that part was over. I was delighted with my performance at this point because I still hadn't stopped.

My first stop was just after the 15 miles mark due to massive cramp. I had never felt cramp pain like this before. I remember asking 1 of the marshalls if there was a St Johns Ambulence tent nearby but she said there wasn't and to make sure I stretch my muscles. This was the first time I stopped and I had an idea based on previous experiences that I was now going to hit a brick wall and do a combination of both jogging and walking. At this point I feel your main battle is a mental battle and working through the pain. It is hard staying in there but I have can have quite a stubborn personality at times and when I really want to achieve something, I believe I can do it.

After doing some stretches combined with light jogging the cramp eased off and I was on my way to the 16 miles mark. It still felt like a long way to the 16 miles mark because I remember when I previously saw it around mile 10 or 11 and still thought I was quite a distance away from the street I saw it on. I remember running along a main road towards 16 miles and we got some amazing support. By this time I had completely stopped trying to get the crowd to give us more encouragement and support as I needed to conserve all my energy into the running at this point as I was struggling.

Once we got back onto the street I originally saw the 16 miles sign on I was relieved. I remember it was around this point that a couple of girls were walking along the pavement at the sid and 1 of them offered me one of the energy gels and I wa slike yes please I could defo do with one of those right now. I found the energy gels quite helpful and they tasted quite nice. I also saw a man who was holding out biscuits and he had one of my favourite biscuits on the place which are Custard Creams. I thought I could have done with a bit more energy so I decided to take one. I aksed if I could have another and he said yes.

I had a really good mile between miles 17 and 18 because it was a non stopping slow but gentle jog and this was the first time that had happened since mile 15. It did take up quite a lot of energy but I managed to surprise myself to keep going and I really didn't want to stop until at least mile 18. I remember running onto another main road where there was a big crowd of people supporting and encouraging us and it can give us a big boost. When I saw the 18th mile it was a relief because I kept thinking to myself, when it is coming.

I eventually got to the 20th mile and at this point you can feel a little excited as there is only 6.2 miles to go and the end feels near even though it is still very far away and there is a lot of hard work that still needs to be done. At this point I got talking to a fellow runner and I was shocked that he was running as he told me that he has previously injured himself and hardly done any training but he still wanted to give it a go. He was done amazingly well to still be running at 20 miles even without hardly any traning. I guess it gave me the encouragement and motivation that I needed at that point. He mentioned at that point that he will be doing a combination of walking and jogging which was what I was doing anyway.

I got to the 22nd mile and I remember at the point I received a phone call from my dad and he was wondering where I was. I guess he was looking forward to seeing me at the finishing line but I sitll knew that I had a long way to go. By this point the majority of the time I was walking rather then jogging. The pain was quite difficult to take but I had a to learn the manage and work through it. Mind over matter because there was only a few miles left. As i've been told Muhammed Ali once said you can put all the hard work in at training but once you win you are a champion forever. I obviously never thought that I would win the marathon but finishing it felt like a victory for me.

Everyone in the crowd was now cheering on us on reminding us that that we were only a couple of miles left and the end was very close and I was feeling positive about getting towards the end. I saw the man that I met at mile 20 again and ran/walked with him for a while.

I then got to mile 25 and to my surprise I didn't feel any adrenaline and I was fully walking and looking forward to the finish. The guy who had been walking/running with previously had re-joined me along with another man and the 3 of us were walking towards the end making small talk about the marathon and other things. Then I saw my dad and I thought blimey I have to run now and by this point we were very close to the finish but it took a lot of energy to run those last few hundred yards. I ran towards my dad and he spotted me coming towards him and he decided that he wanted to run with me for the last few moments which was really nice as it was an extra motivation for me.

My dad told me that when we turned the last corner I would be able to see the end. I could see the end but I still thought it looked a long way but compared to the rest of the marathon it was a very short distance. I wanted to run a little faster towards the end and I had some energy to do so. Just before I crossed the finish line I saw my mum and my sister who were also cheering me on from the sidelines. I managed to get over the finishing line in 6 hours 19 mins and the first emotion that I felt was relief that I had finally done it and that I had justified all the sponsor money that people had donated. I do however feel a great sense of satisfaction that I had finally achieved what I set out to achieve. I am a firm believer in the saying that "everything happens for a reason" and I believe that everything that happened in Paris and all the pain and the cramp that I felt during this marathon made me realise how mentally strong and stubborn I can be and that is something that I can use at other points inn my life so overall I see it as a positive.

I then got the medal and the t-shirt but the first place I was looking for after that was the tent where I could get a massage. I ended up having one for about 20 mins and after a long run like a marathon it felt amazing. I tend to want massages after long runs sometimes.

I also saw my fellow running club member Susan at the end and I was very proud of her for finishing because she had done amazingly well and I knew from running with her at the club how hard that she worked and all the effort that she had put in. All the members of the club did amazing but I think Susan deserves a special mention.

I think a few people deserve a special thanks. The first person that I want to thank is Aimee who is the founder of Lily Uganda who were one of the charities that I was running for. Aimee has been very supportive with her encouraging words but she sent me a card after Paris thanking me for my efforts raising money for the charity which meant a lot to me and made me feel like my work was both valued and appreciated. Lily Uganda are a small charity but they are also a beautiful charity but behind every great charity is someone who had a vision to try and make a change and Aimee and her co-founder Charlotte were those 2 people in the case of Lily Uganda. Please check out their website guys to find out more about the incredible work they do and show them your support.

I also want to thank Sarah from St Catherines Hospice for her support and encouragement via emails and all her hard work getting the newspaper article sorted. St Catherines Hospice are also an incredible charity. As some on you may have already read in my previous posts St Catherines Hospice was the place where my Grandma spent her final days but the support the hospice gave was superb and comforting to our family as we felt a special family member was very well looked after and cared for. They also looked after us as a family very well. Again I would also encourage you all to support St Catherines Hospice and if you wish to find out more information please visit their website.

I want to thank the amazing people that I work with for their incredible support during the cake sale and all the kind comments and encouragement they gave.

I'm also hoping to continue with running and even did the fun colour run today which was one of the funniest runs I have ever done even though it was only around 3 miles.

In the last few days I have signed up to do the Chester Half Marathon next month, the Bolton half marathon in September and the Brighton Marathon next year. I still want to do the Chester half marathon for Mind, Lilly Uganda and St Catherines Hospice so if any of you wish to donate and show your support, please do so by clicking on the following link

I am also hoping to do a 10 miles walk for CLASP charity in London next month. I'm really looking forward to this event and meeting some of the amazing mental health campaigners. The event takes place on the 14th May 2016. For more information, register and donate please visit the CLASP charity website

I've also recently contributed to a blog series called "24 hours in the life of" which gives you a bit of an insight into my daily life.y a lady called Aimee. The blog is is run b It is scheduled to be on the blog on the 25/04/2016 so remember to check the blog on Monday. The link for Aimee's blog is

Sorry this has been a long blog guys but thanks for reading and i'm hoping to keep you updated with how all the running is going.

Thanks again


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