As soon as I started I began to warm up, the fog lifted and I don’t think I stopped smiling for the first 18 miles. Everything felt so comfortable and easy, although I was soaking wet I didn’t care. The volunteers were absolutely brilliant, smiling and clapping every time you passed one. And then spectators were the same, I was just bobbing along, dodging in and out of people enjoying the race. I don’t know how to put into words how incredible the atmosphere was but I just couldn’t have been happier to be there.
I mentioned earlier that I made a few stupid decisions on race day, number one as I said was wearing a wooly jumper to the start line and not having waterproofs. Number two was taking gels I had never tried before…I feel like an idiot admitting to this one as I have run 5 marathons now and know not to do this. What was I thinking?! The appeal of the different flavours got me, the packets are smaller than the gels I usually take so I went with them. I will definitely be going back to my usual as the new ones were far too sweet and they didn’t help maintain my energy as much as what I’m used to, I felt a definite dip that I wouldn’t usually. They didn’t really agree with my stomach but I’m lucky really cause it could have gone so much worse. This along with my brand new compression socks that kept falling down (stupid decision #3) meant that it wasn’t the day for me to try for a PB, I think I could have pushed and taken a couple of minutes off but I really didn’t want to sabotage Manchester. I really absolutely loved the race and felt so comfortable until mile 20, I mean it’s 26 miles, that’s never going to be easy.
When I finished I soon heard that a couple of my friends had absolutely smashed PB’s, I was absolutely delighted for them but I’m not going to lie, a little bit disappointed in myself, why hadn’t I just gone for it?
I’ve spent a lot of this week reflecting on the race and on what’s ahead. On reflection I am really glad I made the decision I did, I’ve seen the race pictures and I am smiling in almost all of them, I have got brilliant memories of an incredible day. My legs didn’t hurt at all on the days following the marathon and it’s given me the opportunity to make some tweaks for the Manchester marathon to make sure I am as ready as I’ll ever be for that big PB attempt.
Now home from Japan after a brilliant two weeks, I’ve loved eating lots of different foods and recovering from the marathon but now I’m ready to get my head down. In preparation for the Manchester marathon I am going to be sticking to my nutrition plan, strength training, completing the running schedule, foam rolling, Epsom salt baths and wearing my Oofos at every given opportunity. Hopefully…all of these things will mean I hit my target, and you know what even if they don’t I’ll know I’ve given it my all and enjoyed it. In 2017 I ran my first marathon and pretty much constantly had sore feet, as well as plantair fasciitis. Last year I discovered Oofos and can’t believe how much of a difference they have made, they are the first thing I put on after getting back from a long run and most definitely after a race. They give my feet the much needed support and comfort, stopping them ever getting tight like they did when I started marathon training.
The Tokyo marathon was a great reminder for me that this sport isn’t all about times and PBs, I’ve run 5 marathons now and each one has taught me something. I’m in a place where I can’t remember who the me is that doesn’t run marathons, I might not always be able to run the longer distances but I know that running will always be a big part of my life and I love what it’s given me.