I used to watch the London Marathon most years with my Dad and for some reason got into my head that I wanted to run it some day, I have no idea why as running is NOT an activity that I enjoy...
Later I made it a goal that I would do the London Marathon before I was 30.
2014 was my first marathon attempt!
Unfortunately one week before the marathon my pony, Linford, decided to have a huge strop and crushed my big toe!!! When it happened I didn't realise the extent of the injury, after all it was just a toe right?
Jon drove me to Salisbury A&E as we figured we needed to know how bad it was and one Xray later we discovered a crush fracture of the end bone in my big toe and the fracture had compromised the joint.
I asked the consultant if there was any chance I could run on it and was met with a look of complete disbelief and the word "no".
All those hours of training and I spent the next few weeks walking around with this sexy footwear:
After the burn of 2014 I had decided to give it another go, this was also my last year to achieve my goal before I was 30!
Training went loads better for this marathon, we had learnt a lot and I was much fitter to start with than in 2014.
I did everything I could to stay safe this time and made sure situations with Linford were always under my control!
I was part of a team of runners from Andover who were all raising money for an incredible charity called Whizz Kidz. They provide children with motorised wheelchairs and promote independence in children with physical and/or mental disabilities.
As a team we raised well over £10,000 for this incredible cause thanks to the generosity of friends and family, our casino night and corporate affiliations.
Training was hard but often really fun! Jon and I seriously clocked up the miles and we were really happy with the progress we made. It looked like we would be comfortably achieving a 5 hour marathon time which I was extremely happy with.
In the week before the marathon, the anticipation was building. Mostly excitement with the odd nervous moment, I felt strong and ready and I knew that I was fully capable.
The team during training with the inspiration for our fundraising:
On the Thursday evening before the marathon, Jon and I had to travel to London to collect our numbers and marathon packs, we also had to register and sort out paperwork.
I was so excited about this, they run it like an expo so there are freebies everywhere and loads to see. I knew that a busy and vibrant atmosphere was exactly what I needed to get pumped up and ready for this challenge.
I started to feel unwell in the car on the way and was sick in my makeup bag (the only thing I could find). Thinking it was just nerves we cracked on and arrived at the exhibition center.
Not long after we got there, I was ill again but this time it was getting really bad and far beyond any sickness I have ever experienced before. When I started feeling dizzy and getting palpitations, Jon got the center medics.
I hate passing out and I was fighting it while the medics were checking oxygen levels and putting ECG pads on my chest.
The good news for me was that everything was fine, just the stress of a rapid illness. After a bit if digging and my (often garbled) answers the medics were confident it was food poisoning, most likely from my lunch that day (I still can't eat chicken sandwiches).
Could I run?
The marathon was in three days and I was wiped out. I was up all of Thursday night a constant cycle of illness and trying to drink hydrating solutions and then slept all of Friday and half of Saturday.
The marathon was Sunday.
On Saturday I was able to eat dinner and because of our obsessive attitude to hydration, I didn't actually feel too bad! Just really depleted. You are supposed to eat foods high in carbohydrates in the 24hours leading up to a marathon (carb loading) and I had essentially been fasting.
We talked about it for hours... Safety of running, what could go wrong, how to maintain energy levels and more.
Ultimately I am stubborn and decided I would rather try and fail than not start.
The morning of the marathon I felt OK. Breakfast had gone down well and I was feeling excited!
This is the team before we set off:
The start of the marathon was amazing and for the first few miles I just had a massive grin on my face! It was great waving to everyone and I was feeling surprisingly OK.
That lasted to mile 8 when I crashed, hard.
Luckily Jon had decided to stick with me and was there to support and keep me walking, he also had a stash of jelly babies that I was slowly munching as we moved. At this point I was seriously questioning this attempt. I cried and when I saw the buses that pick up the people going too slow or injured behind us on the course I knew it was all or nothing.
Again I decided I would rather try.
We kept going, my energy levels peaked and dipped and we adjusted our pace to match them but kept going.
All I could say to myself was just keep moving over and over again.
By mile 22 I was done and we decided we could walk the last few miles. We had made up time and were now well ahead of the buses so as long as we kept a brisk walk we would make it.
We saw Jon's Mum and Sister who had come out to support us here too and it gave me a boost to get to the end. Based on our pace, they must have had a long day too!
I will admit that I ran the last few meters purely for the finishers photo...
The feeling of relief at the end of this was indescribable
After the marathon
Because we had run for a charity we had a post race reception that we went to where they provided food and massages. I don't have a great memory of this part except looking at plate of lasagna and knowing intellectually that I should eat it but struggling to.
Getting home was also a blur of trains and finally a taxi before we could collapse in bed.
Post marathon blues
The next day was horrific. I didn't know it was possible for my body to hurt that much and I was feeling ill again. What surprised me most was the emotional toll that all of this had taken on me.
I am normally quite aware of emotional responses and able to approach them with some logic but this was out of my control. I kept trying to do things and crying, I kept trying to eat and crying. I had flowers delivered from my parents in Australia and cried. I had flowers delivered from my office colleagues and cried again.
I was so overwhelmed by the congratulations I was receiving because I felt like I had failed.
When I expressed this to the people I spoke to they said but you finished!!!? Yes I had finished, but nowhere near the 5 hour time that I was capable of.
Gradually I started listening to what people were saying. I finished the London Marathon!!!
I realised that the kidz who would benefit from all the money I helped raise (I got more donations when I put out on social media that I was ill) would not give a stuff what time I did it in!!!
Third time lucky?
I am not superstitious by any stretch of the imagination but I am definitely hoping that 2020 will be third time lucky!!!
On the 9th of October 2019 I got an email from the London Marathon saying congratulations!! You have secured a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon through the "Lucky 2000 extra ballot" for people who opted to donate their entry fee.
I have entered the ballot for the last couple of years but not had any luck so to say I was shocked is a massive understatement.
But now is not a good time...
I didn't tell anyone initially that I had got in because I had actually been hoping that I wouldn't get in this year. After leaving my office job in 2017 and buying the clinic that Jon and I now own, I had been struggling.
I had been struggling to work out how to run a clinic, struggling to build my therapy business and overlooking my own health and fitness.
Looking at the impact of starting a mental health business on the mental health of the person running it will be an interesting research paper that I am hoping to bring to my masters degree...
Having struggled for a year or so, I was starting to get on top of things. The clinic had lost some of the team members that caused excess work and I was absolutely loving my work with clients. Taking on the marathon at this point, I worried, would be too much.
There is never a "perfect" time for anything
I realised that I was falling into negative thought patterns based on old crappy self beliefs that I would always fail.
There would never be a perfect time to take on the London Marathon, it would always interfere with business, life and other hobbies. So the only option now is to make it work.
Follow my journey
Make sure you follow me on Social media as I will be sharing my journey as I train again for the London Marathon. I will be sharing all of the sports psychology, therapy techniques and self hypnosis that I use to keep motivated and keep moving. All of these techniques you can use to help you overcome anxiety and build a confident and motivated future.
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