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London Marathon 2018: When You Don’t Hit Your Target Time

When it doesn't quite work out as planned!

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

The London Marathon. 

Over 40,000 people run this prestigious event every year! It has been on my bucket list forever but sometimes it doesn’t always work out as planned.

They say that you can learn everything about yourself in those 26.2 miles and they are certainly right. As we listen to those stories of people hitting their PB’s, broken world records and of those who joined in the ‘Spirit of London.’ There are also those stories of frustration, annoyance, injury and disappointment. I wanted to write a piece on that as it’s not always documented and let’s face it regardless of the amount of times people say “But you got round didn’t you” when you have been training for months you just want to get back out there to do the next one and prove to yourself that you can hit your target.

After years of not getting through in The Ballot I decided to go via the charity route for 2017. Now before it makes me sound like a miser I am all for supporting a charity but I also know how tired people get of the countless sponsorship requests throughout the year and £2,000 is a big target to hit.

Either way, I picked my charity, Shelter UK in case you were asking and I started training. I WAS IN!!

Although sadly it wasn’t that easy, after a couple of months of training something wasn’t right. I had increased my mileage too soon, I was out of alignment when running and instead of ‘resting’ I decided to soldier through hoping it would sort itself out. This resulted in a fall in Victoria Park and an X-ray showing that I had Achilles Tendonitis. ‘RICE’ everyone kept saying. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Wait for 3 months and you’ll be back on the road again.

Well I can tell you that after 3 months I still wasn’t healed. Devastated I accepted this wasn’t going to be my year and deferred my charity place to 2018. Slightly disappointed I thought I would take this opportunity to start resting properly, seeing my physio, doing my exercises and ensure I was fighting fit for London Marathon 2018.

I ‘rested’ for another 3 months then decided to embark on my first SPRINT triathlon. It wasn’t a marathon by a long shot but it was less running, and the cycling and swimming helped me keep up my fitness without doing anything too high-intensity.

Getting through that wasn’t too bad and gave me the drive I needed to start on my marathon training. I started again….but I kept my distance and speed low, nervous I was about to aggravate the tendonitis again.

After we came to Christmas I was still ok, passed New Year and I started to run home from work regularly. I even felt like maybe I had conquered the ‘demon tendonitis. I stopped seeing the physio and I guess I just got cocky!

As I embarked on my 13 mile training run I felt my tendon go again. It was too close to the marathon! I didn’t want to give up. It’s all mindset I kept telling myself, I can get through this.

I researched countless treatments online. I ordered everything I could my hands on. Creams, lotions, painkiller gels, oral painkillers new trainers, new insoles, and then insole heel lifts. So many people recommended them and I needed to do this. I would have lost my place if I deferred again.

As I started running with heel lifts I noticed the pain from the tendonitis subsiding…..but a pain in my knee growing. I ignored it.

I knew I was in trouble but now had my own pharmacy in my bathroom, I could just use these painkillers until the day of the marathon….it can’t get much worse…..right?!

How many of us have done the same? Thought the same? Well I did just that.

I couldn’t pull out now. I didn’t want to. I could do this. The niggles were all just in my mind.

So, I did run the marathon on 22nd April 2018. I started on target and felt great…….too great….my knee gave way at mile 8. I limped, I dragged, I basically struggled. Don’t get me wrong I also loved it (somehow) and the crowds and atmosphere was amazing but I was in agony. I just kept thinking it was all in my mind. Maybe this pain was just hitting the wall……. Well two days later I can tell you it wasn’t in my mind. It was in my body. I now cannot move my knee and it is in a bad way…after a trip to the hospital I found out I actually damaged the ligaments and will be on crutches for quite a while…but that feeling of disappointment at my time (1hr30mins later than I had hoped) is still getting in the way of me feeling happy.

Looking back though I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I am so glad I did it and it has just got me back into my love of fitness and for that I am grateful but of course now everyone is asking about my time.

How do you overcome that? I kept starting my reply with “It wasn’t that great” “I could have done better” but honestly, I couldn’t. It that time, in that moment, in that heat – I really couldn’t.

I am writing this article for you too. If you are reading this feeling the same then be proud of what you achieved and learn from it.

What niggle did you ignore? Did you train enough? Train properly? Did you get a PT? Did you see a physio? Was it the heat? 

If so, then what will you do differently next year? 

Me? I plan on booking a warm holiday in February next year just so that I can do a couple of training runs in the sunshine, I am planning on seeing a Personal Trainer, a Physiotherapist and ensure that I put myself and my body first. I am going to train properly.

To keep motivated I am joining a running club once I have recovered and have put in to become an Asics FrontRunner so I can help motivate others on this journey. I own Gratitude Cafe Life – the Wellness Guide for The 9-To-5 and will ensure that I keep the 3,000 followers updated on the training, nutrition to smash it in 2018.

I won’t lie, I was devastated but actually now looking back I am very excited to start recovery, training properly and getting the professionals in to really get me to the speed and distance I am hoping to achieve.

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