Marathon five was started but ended spectacularly quickly! Yesterday I started the Thames Meander Marathon in London which was due to be my fifth marathon of the year, and my eleventh in total. But it ended after 0.4 miles! So much for my lucky sweatshirt..
With only five days between these marathons after winning the Cambridge Boundary Run last Sunday, the key emphasis for this week was recovery. I took every opportunity to stretch, have a hot bath, get to bed early (although some interesting phone calls disrupted this..), refuel and carb load. I decided to not even bother attempting any running - instead I took Monday & Tuesday as total rest days, cycled Wednesday & Thursday ( I also had a very nice massage on Thursday..) and then total rest on Friday. I basically just ate non-stop for five days.
The rest of my challenge is taking shape - accommodation has been booked for the Taunton Marathon on April 3rd, the Manchester Marathon on April 10th (which is my birthday - hint hint) as well as flights up to the Edinburgh Marathon on May 29th where my ten marathon challenge finishes. It is a Bank Holiday the next day, so I will certainly be celebrating/making a fool of myself. We have also booked up a guesthouse for Man v Horse which my girlfriend and I are running in June!
On Friday I had another dentist appointment at Guy's Hospital in London. It was 3.5 hours long and they literally cut out my front six teeth! Lots of sawing noises and funny smells. I have got to wear this temporary gum-shield type contraption for the next two months, which looks pretty ridiculous. If you see me and wonder why the hell I have the whitest teeth in the world - alas they are not real, I'm just borrowing them..
I did not actually get anything for winning last week's Cambridge Boundary Run marathon, No bling, trophy or prize money - just pride. To be honest I am not really into that anyway, so it was no major issue - I have kept all my race numbers but to me marathon running is ultimately about challenging yourself. However, my friend Ian decided my triumph was worthy of a reward, so he presented me with this little plastic beauty on Saturday! No expense spared, clearly..
So marathon number five was due to be the Thames Meander Marathon in London - an out & back route along the River Thames, starting in Kingston upon Thames and running all the way along to Fulham & back.
My two training partners and close friends Matt and Ian were also running, meaning the mighty Woodbridge Shufflers were out in full force! We all ran the first marathon of the challenge at Flitch Way on NYE, and we are also all running the London Marathon in April, so it means a lot to have them supporting me throughout this five month experience/ordeal. They are also both REALLY OLD so it does make me look/feel younger..
On Friday I decided not to run as my legs were still so sore. No injuries, just fatigue everywhere. I started looking for other marathons to enter instead and found a couple next week, but they were both sold out.
After chatting with Matt & Ian I decided to travel to the race and make a decision on the day. I was staying at my girlfriend's house in London so we got the luxury of some extra time in bed for a change, rather than the usual road trip from Suffolk. I actually felt alright in the warm up so gave it the big one on the start line. In hindsight I should have just jogged round but unfortunately I am a racer and I get very competitive, so I went off at the front.
I was running in second place when I got 0.4miles up the road and suddenly my right calf was throbbing. Then I felt something very weird so I stopped immediately. I tried to stretch it out but it was done. I then faced the walk of shame back up the course to the start past all the other runners. Matt & Ian stopped and offered to wait & jog with me, which real nice of them, but it just wasn't going to happen.
I obviously made several mistakes. Firstly, I won last week's marathon by nine minutes, so I should have eased off and saved more in the tank for this week. Secondly I then should not have run the race because I knew on Friday I was in no state to run a marathon. Then once there, I should never have let my competitiveness get in the way by trying to run at my usual pace. Part of me also wishes I had still finished the race, even if it meant walking the next 25.8 miles. But I just felt that with so many events coming up it was best to stop.
I won'the lie, I was pretty devastated. I felt like I had let everyone down who has sponsored me and who expect me to keep winning all the races. But my girlfriend and her parents were incredible and put up with a couple of hours of moping! She found me sitting on a chair with my head in my hands.. But now I realise Injuries are part and parcel of endurance sport. I have won four marathons already this year in times between 2:51 - 2:46 so it is probably my body just saying "give me a break"
I have a physio appointment booked for Wednesday night so fingers crossed I have not done anything serious. There are only 3 weeks til the next marathon and 6 weeks til the London Marathon, so it's going to be an anxious wait. It feels okay today, so we will have to wait and see. But I am not going to feel sorry for myself and I will be smashing the rehab. I'm fairly certain that me and that gym bike will be rekindling our romance again over the coming weeks..
My fundraising is tip-toeing up towards £2,000. My initial target was £1,000 which I passed some time ago, so if anyone would like to sponsor me I really would appreciate it. All money is going to Beat to help them support people nationwide suffering with eating disorders just like me, so you would be supporting a fantastic cause! Don't worry I won't be short-changing you - I'll be sorting out a replacement tenth race soon so you'll still get your money's worth!
I am running ten marathons to raise money for Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity. You can follow me on Twitter here, on Instagram here, or on Facebook here. You can also sponsor me via my Justgiving page here. Thank you!