You may have noticed that my training diary on here kind of ended rather abruptly. Well, that’s because my training did. Not long after my epic 16-mile in the North York Moors, I decided the injury to my foot needed to be rested if I were to stand a NY chance of lining up on the start line.
To be honest, the resting was not improving the situation, and after a period of two weeks with only two short runs, I decided to just go for it.
With just two weeks until the marathon, I was somewhat set back in my training. Would pushing out a 20-miler, as is usually expected 2/3 weeks out from a marathon, break me? I thought it might and decided that I would do some easy runs and just jeff my way around the marathon.
In the 14 days leading up to the marathon, I managed 5 training runs and a total of 25.83 miles. My preparations had been woefully inadequate.
I looked ahead at the logistics of getting to the start line in York and realised that going in the car was going to be a bit stressful. So, as I was now on my own anyway due to a dance audition, I booked a ticket on the ‘Park & Run’ service. I would park at Elvington Airfield and get the bus into and out of York.
On the day of the marathon, I was up at 5am! Breakfast was the overnight oats with sultanas and banana that I had prepared and I was out the door at 6am. I arrived at the airfield at 6:50 and by 7am I was on a bus heading into the event village at York University. How very efficient.
While arriving for an early bus slot meant I was parked on the first row, something I would be thankful off in a few hours time, it meant I was at the event village at about 7:30 – with the race not starting until 9:30.
What else could I do but potter around?
I bought a coffee and flapjack from one of the vendors. The coffee was utter crap but the flapjack was nice enough. I took up a seat under a canopy and listened to the latest Running Commentary podcast and did a bit of people watching.
Podcast over, I switched into my running shoes and head for the portaloos. It was a simple plan: got to the toilet and remove tracksuit pants. It all nearly went very wrong. The cords to my running shorts tied into a knot instead of untying the bow as I pulled the strands. It took ages to get to knot undone so I could actually use the toilet.
Then the fun part. The particular tracksuit pants I was wearing have zips at the ankles. I had assumed that in the fully open position I would be able to remove the pant without removing my trainers – the runner training I had just put on. I was very much mistaken. I then had to remove my shoes in the confined space without putting my clean and dry sock on the wet, muddy and putrid floor.
One shoe off. Stand on it. Take leg out of pants. Don’t put hand on that, whatever it is! Hold pants out of muck. Put shoe back on. Repeat on other side. Honestly, that should be a task on Task Master!
Portaloo shenanigans completed I headed to the baggage store. I saw a familiar face there and it was nice, to be honest. Paul is a fellow event director so we had something to talk about to take our minds off the upcoming pain fest. He was also short on training so in a similar position to me on that front too.
We followed the long stream of runners to the start line and took up position. Ideally, I wanted to put myself further up between the 3:30 and 4-hour pacers but I got to the start too late for that. I was, however right next to the Minions.
I’m not a fan of mass warmups so just moved about a bit and tried to relax. I knew the next few hours were going to be tough.
Then before I knew it the countdown had started. We were off.