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Full Marathon training run Story 3rd Nov 2019

I have my first marathon race in Valencia in a few weeks time and all along the journey I’ve said I wanted to do the full distance in a training run before the big day.
Well, yesterday I did just that. Due to injury and a Morton’s neuroma on my right foot, my training has been hit and miss for the past few months and I didn’t think I was going to get this far. I was really worried about the big day, but I had done a couple of 22 mile runs and I think three 20 miles in the past few months so I knew how bad they were, especially with the neuroma. Then two weeks ago I had a steroid injection into the neuroma and was told not to run for a week. The week was over so I tried a steady mile on the treadmill at the gym after a good long session in there to help build up some extra leg strength while I taper off until the race. The treadmill run was great with no pains so I made the executive decision to attempt the full marathon distance in a training run this weekend.
Arranged my friend Alison to join me to get me through those last few miles which I really needed.

So, Sunday morning bright and early I set off out on the longest run so far in my life.
Like every training run I set off with far too much shit to carry .. it looked like rain so my rain mac was tied round my waist, water bottle stuffed in my compression shorts and a thin pair of gloves on my hands.. it was a bit nippy when I set off.
The first 4 miles went by pretty quickly with no bother.. a nice steady 8-9 minutes mile pace round the country lanes. Mile 5 came and the turtles head made its appearance at the worst possible time.. on a main road through a small village.. nowhere to set him free for around another mile where I had to oblige and let him do what he needed to do... lol

Just before the first of the hump back bridges en route .. I hate these things but I know I have to do them, I usually just go for them and run them but with the distance I need to cover today I’m simply walking them to conserve my strength.
I decide to do two laps of the loop today before heading back towards the end of the first loop which bagged me around 11.5 miles before getting back to my car and moving it from the car park due to parking restrictions. Sat and refilled my water bottle and went on my way into the second round.

Me at mile 11.


After the initial half marathon distance is where the fun began .. at miles six and twelve I lapped up my energy gels.. still not sure they actually give me anything but I’m going to keep up with them at least for today. I really don’t mind the GU chocolate ones .. they’re lush.
By mile 15 I’m feeling it today .. I think it’s because I hit the gym a couple of days ago for the first time in a while and I was still a bit stiff from that.
My hips are usually the first thing to start aching on a long run and today was no different.. just niggling right now but enough to slow me down. My feet are now also showing signs of wear and tear .. the country lanes I’m running have a really hard camber to them which isn’t good for running on.. you’re constantly running on the sides of your feet due to it. When there’s nothing around I try and hit the middle of the road to get some flat bits to run on which really helps.
So as I hit the 15 mile marker it was almost time to meet up with Alison so I made the turn round point and headed back to my car to once again fill up with water and carry on my journey.
By now I was at 17.3 miles I think.. I was aching like a bitch and pace had really hit me bad.. I forgot to restart my garmin and was half a mile in before I realised. what a twat I a. ... it started to rain somewhere round mile 18 which put a dampener on things lol
So, by now I was a bit of a mess ... I was cold and wet and my foot arches were aching like mad.. it was taking me all I could muster to keep moving forwards. My stride by now was almost obliterated and it was short sharp movements with hip pain at every step.. but I was still going.
Mile twenty I was ready to stop and lie down in the roadside, this is the worst I had felt at this stage so far in my training runs.Alison at this point knew I was flailing and was making me keep going. I hit my last energy gel and took on some water and this started the real challenge of the run. This was the last lap of the hump back bridges and there was no way I could have run them.
I am noticing that my breathing is getting much shallower now at around 22 miles.. something I’ve never had before, it’s really weird as I don’t run out of breath ever ... I’m now jeffing a quarter of a mile and running three quarters... if you can now call it running. My feet are moving forward hesitantly in every step .. my hips are almost clicking as I step forward.My back is aching like a bitch and I really want to give in as I move towards the final three miles along the most boring part of the run back to the car.
I’ve run out of water by now too so no excuse to stop for that purpose.
I’m broken at this point..Alison is pushing me to run more between Jeff’s but my body isn’t having it .. my brain is telling me to go forward my head is still in the game but my poor old body isn’t having any of it. Back onto the crazy cambered section of the road and I’m done ... the jeffing is getting more and more..poor old Alison is getting it all thrown at her by now.. I’m swearing like a miner at her but she’s taking it and she’s still pushing me onwards.
Mile 24-25 is the hardest thing I’ve ever done to myself in my life. I’m barely running and the pain is almost unbearable right now.. my back is almost spasming... my feet .. I can’t say they don’t feel to bad, it’s just the arches that are giving me pain. The neuroma has behaved itself and yes, it’s sore but nothing to what it has been in the past few months so for that I’m grateful.
My breathing is really shallow and I’m huffing and puffing more and more until I can run no longer. The last section is uphill, not much of an uphill but still an uphill section. My garmin told me i had hit mile 25.. I was elated at this point and I asked Alison to go get the car.. she politely refused and told me to man up lol
It was taking me all I could to move forward right now.. I knew I had already missed at least half a mile on my garmin when I forgot to unpause it so when I hit 26miles I knew I had done the marathon distance.. I was walking ok.. I was in pain with my back and my feet.. I was huffing and puffing but I was alive,, I was still upright and my head was in the right place... I knew I could finish..all be it slowly but I knew it was there inside me.physically and mentally I had done it.
That last half mile back to the car and the awaiting pub was my finest hour ... I was elated to say the least. I wanted to burst into tears with every last step, I just wanted to sit down and get my shoes off and give my feet a break from this relentless Sunday morning trek round Wiltshire.
As I sat there in the pub with a nice large glass of Sauvignon blanc, my shoes off, my hips finally at rest.. my head in the clouds at what I had just achieved. The realisation that Valencia is a few weeks away now and the fact that I had covered the full distance now fills my brain.. I can finally sit back and smile about what I have just done, thanks to Alison for driving me onwards to the end. Swiftly downing the wine and moving next door to McDonalds for some well earned food. I’m walking like I’ve shat myself, like I am about 80 yrs old and lost my Zimmer frame,it dawns on me that this is just the beginning of what I have to endure tonight after the run.

This is what I wanted to do today for ...this is what I needed to experience ... this is why I ran the full distance today.

I managed to safely drive myself back to Swindon and stop off at Sainsbury’s for some chocolate and cookies to get me through tonight.. I had earned the treats today and I wasn’t going to deprive myself of anything after that ordeal.
How I got in and out of the car back home I will never know .. by now I was creasing up ... I was in so much discomfort it was unreal. I’m not even sure if I’ve locked my car doors lol
In the house, the first thing was to get the kettle on and have a good hot cuppa. It was chilly by now and I needed warming up. The shoes are off and it’s almost orgasmic knowing that I’m home, knowing that I don’t have to move again for the next few hours and knowing that today won’t be repeated for another 3 weeks.
The next part of the marathon process is what you really need to prepare yourself for... trust me.

I’m experiencing pains in places I never knew existed right now, Surpringly though my gluteus are ok. My quads,my calf’s,my back, my feet and my lungs are all on fukin fire though lol
Stairs .... omg don’t even try them ... they are the devils work .. crawling up is the easiest part.. coming down , well .. buy yourself a fukin teasmade for your bedside cabinet.

After the run, and your obligatory hot cup of tea and a shit load of crap foodstuffs go to bed ... don’t even think of doing anything else for the day as you just won’t be fit to do it. Getting the running gear off was well .... eventful to say the least.. compression shorts are fantastic while running, they really do hold everything back and help your muscles. Once they are off ... whoahhhhhhhhh Neddy. Reality hits home. Climb into your pyjamas and give into whatever thoughts are in your mind. The next few hours you will want to die for sure.

Run a hot bath of Epsom salts they say .. have A good long soak and relax your muscles... great lest do just that. Only ... don’t .. it will lull you into a false sense of security. Because you’ve frozen your tits off running 26.5 miles you will have no sense of feeling anywhere in your whole body. Sinking into a hot bath will inevitably cause you to firstly .. burn your cold bollocks as you sit into the water which really didn’t feel that hot on your hands and feet.
It will feel good for about five minutes, then just laying there will hurt your lungs and your tired and aching butt. I think I managed about ten minutes before I couldn’t stand it any longer. Fun and games trying to stand up and get out of the bath .. drying off standing on a hard surface with your almost dead feet and getting into your pjs again ... oh my god ... if I were a dog right now they would be putting me to sleep. I need a career at this point just to pull up my boxers and pyjama bottoms.
Now all this is just great when the top half of your body really feels like it wants to go run it all again due to the millions of adrenaline cells just rushing around your body. All except for your bottom half which has obviously closed off all entry points. You appear to be numb from the waist down at this point, which might be a good thing for what’s still to come.

So, you settle down to chill out and watch tv or something, thinking you will be safe doing absolutely nothing. But you’re wrong .. inevitably all that water you have taken on board will now be wanting to escape.. it seems like every twenty minutes you’ll want to pee. Now on an ordinary day, to me at least, this wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience but today .... fuck me sideways it’s an ordeal in itself.
Firstly you’ll have to get out of wherever you are situated.. chair, sofa, bed. Your mind will be willing your parts to move , but they simply won’t accept the request. I am now having to lift my legs up with my hands just to swing them round to get out of bed. Once I’m sitting on the bed side, out of breath and in as much pain as I would imagine childbirth to be I now have to get my ever so painful, ever so swollen feet into my slippers .. and thank god I have slippers on a day like today. When you go out looking for slippers as a runner I will suggest you find the ones which are just wadding.. no hard soles, nothing with a back on and are as much padding as you can find out there. You will thank me for that advice later.
I’m in ... omg that was hard work.
My core will just about allow me to stand up, but not at the first attempt. You will hobble around for a good few hours and I suggest you just simply lay down and try and sleep. That’s if your body will allow it.. the adrenaline will still be pumping around your body for a good few hours and will keep you awake for a while but eventually you should drop off.
This is the reality of marathon running that you read about but dismiss as you think it can’t possibly be that bad.. wait .. it’s not that bad.. it’s twice as bad in reality.. don’t be fooled.. be prepared. Fill your room with everything you think you will need. Stockpile with drinks and junk food, you will want to eat everything in sight. Hide your running gear.. you WILL want to burn it and destroy it forever for the pain and hurt it is throwing at you right now.
Hide the tablet or laptop.. you will want to cancel any other marathons you have stupidly booked in advance.
Don’t bother with the ibuprofen for the inflammation.. it does fuck all at this level lol
Even with all this going on in your body, your mind will be grinning from ear to ear that you’ve just completed your first marathon distance. It will be telling you that you can do it, you’ve done it and you will do it again. You will be elated with the fact that your body can withstand the shear stupidity of what you have just done and it will say to you that ... hey .. we’ve done it once we can do it again. It’s all Bollocks .. don’t listen to it. Don’t pick up that tablet and book another one until all this shit is out of your system and you can think straight again.

So,what has today taught me ?
What will tomorrow bring ? More of the Same pain, definitely.
More of the same thoughts ? Mostly yes
Any regrets ? Ffs yes, a head full of them right now as I’m still struggling to walk, struggling with stairs, struggling to dress myself.

What it has taught me though is to do this dress rehearsal before you take on that race ... don’t listen to others who say... only do twenty miles in training, it’s bullshit.
Nothing can prepare you for your first race like this can .. you need to know how you are going to feel on the day and the day after. You need to know you can get through the distance and what it’s going to be throwing at you. It’s a steep learning curve and a brutal one but it’s the best way to cope with it in my eyes. If you can’t do this dry run then how the hell do you expect to get anything out of the race day?

I count myself lucky that I managed yesterday in so many ways. I had the help of a good friend in those last few miles to really get me through it.. a luxury I won’t have on race day. One that I now know has helped me conquer the distance. I’m now hoping that race day will give me enough motivation to kick my own arse to that crescendo rather than relying on my friend to get me there. I will now have firmly set in my mind, what she did to get me there... how she pushed me, how she made me feel so small,running on ahead of me at times and making me catch her up when I could muster up enough bravado. And how she was there for me in my hour of need. Not to mention the confidence she gave me at the end of it all by continually telling me I had done well, I had done myself proud and that I had done it. Those words and encouragement are what’s needed after that test of endurance. Something you won’t always get at the end of a race, as sometimes we race alone.

Today, the day after I’m still struggling with my aching feet and limbs but not nearly as much as last night. I didn’t sleep well and woke up A few times during the night and had to eat and drink again. When I finally woke up this morning I was in a considerable amount of pain in my knee which had been stuck in the same position for so long that it had obviously just set there. My back ache has gone and my mind set is positive to move me forward to race day. I think by tomorrow I will be ready to either hit the gym again or go for a short 10miles recovery run ๐Ÿ˜ˆ
All in all the experience of this training marathon distance run has been more or less what I expected. I was expecting doubts and pains and bloody mindedness to kick in during the run, and it did. Mindfulness definitely got me through it all.
If you can be strong of mind on the day, you will conquer it. Don’t lose sight of it .. kick your own arse or get someone along with you to do it for you.
I won’t say it was a joyful experience at the time but the day after you can look back at whet you have done and say
I kicked its arse ... I feel bollocksed .. but I kicked its arse !!!


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