Jons London Marathon Experience 2019
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
This is the hardest blog I have ever had to write. In truth the last week has been very difficult. Whilst today brought some bad times I truly want to celebrate the good.
So on April 28th I took on the London Marathon…
A small back story…in 2016 I ran this in 3 hrs 47 mins. However, felt I could go quicker. Training since September 2018 had been going really well including a 21 mile run at around 3 hrs 35 mins pace.
However, three weeks ago, 20 miles into a run, I felt my right groin ‘pop’. I instantly stopped and begain treatment. One week later I was able to run happily. However, last weekend on my final training run I experienced a similar issue in my left groin. Disaster.
The pain was significant and has been present all of the week leading up to today. This caused me great anxiety. Anxiety and panic attacks is something that has crept into my life in recent years. I am embarrassed to say I used to be a person who struggled to acknowledge and appreciate mental health but now have a far greater respect and appreciation and feel it is vital that it is discussed.
Sadly, my anxiety really presented itself the night before the marathon. I know this was because I knew my groin wasn’t right. If it would have been a client I would probably of advised not to run. If I had the option to defer I probably would of. However, I knew this was something I had to try empowered by the concern but love and support of my family. The fantastic work at the hands of Cameron and Sean gave me a shot.
On the night before the marathon, I didn’t manage to get to sleep till 4am with anxiety attacks and then my alarm went off at 5.45am. Not the preparation I was planning on.
I was very nervous at the start. I had not run all week and in truth wasn’t even sure if I could make one mile. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I was aware of the pain but I started the race well. I was running conservatively but comfortably at a 3hrs 45 min pace. I could feel the pain in my groin building but it was controllable and a pain I could mentally try to block. I reached halfway at 1 hrs 48 mins exactly where I needed to be.
The halfway moment was truly magical as my family were waiting for me at the start of Tower Bridge and I had an amazing moment with them and then took on Tower Bridge feeling euphoric. (The picture is me seeing them at the start of Tower Bridge). This really is the most amazing moment of the marathon. I would love to know if there is a better moment of marathon running in the world.
When I came down from this moment, I realized that the pain had built a little but still didn’t feel like anything I needed to slow down for. I continued through the miles that felt that they were being ticked off quite quickly. However, around 18 miles disaster hit. I turned a corner and felt an instant sharp burning pain rush up the inside of my leg. It stopped me in my tracks. I started to walk for a few seconds and then returned to jog but a few minutes later the same pain hit. I continued this process of walking and running, but the running aspect became shorter each time before the pain returned. It reached the point where I could not take more than three jogging steps before the horrible pain returned that would take my breath away.
I was around mile 20 and I knew I had a big problem. I considered stopping. This was the logical thing to do and wondered if the only thing to do. However, I then considered why I was running. I was raising a considerable amount of money for a charity called Livability. Livability help people with disability to live a comfortable life. People who have far worse issues than a torn groin. I then knew that stopping wasn’t an issue, they deserved me to finish the race. Plus my son was waiting for me at mile 25 and I knew I wanted him to see his Daddy finish this race!
Thankfully, some anatomical knowledge helped. I knew if I kept my leg in a certain straight position it shouldn’t aggravate the muscle too much. I therefore managed to speed walk, in this position. Quite simply I looked like I had messed myself (Sorry). Just for the record, I had not had a ‘Paula Radcliffe moment’(In case anyone saw me and wondered ?).
These miles were obviously tough. However, the crowd were truly amazing. I will never be able to thank them, enough. It felt that every single person screamed my name. I think they sensed the situation I was in and would not let me stop.
In a time, where the press we read has a negative slant on our country, the London marathon is a truly wonderful thing. I t remined that the people who live in this country are amazing. They have a love for London and each other. They were truly inspirational and if you were in the crowd and thank you deeply. The crowd will never know just how much they did for me.
Sadly my miles had changed from 8.30 mins/mile to 12 mins/mile. I knew that any time aspirations had gone. However, I knew that the challenge had now changed. This was about completion and mental strength rather than physical.
I therefore had a lot of time to think. I decided that this is what London is about. We could all take on a running event each week, where our foucs was selfish and on your own personal time. However, at the London marathon this is not the main focus. It is a chance for us to run for others. To provide an amazing amount of money for people who need that money more than us. Who was I to even consider stopping!
I made it to mile 25 and was greeted by a very emotional exchange with my wonderful Wife, Son, Mother and Son. I was nearly there. I got to the Mall. I was desperate to run. I had 200 metres to go and managed to fashion a very strange run, keeping my problematic leg straight. I hope no one saw me! I finished in 4 hrs 9 minutes.
So in summary:
The Good. This is without question the crowds. You were all quick to shout how amazing us runners were. This was equaled by yourselves. The London Marathon is a team effort and would not be the event it is without wither part of the team. Special thanks to my own cheering crew.
The Bad. Injury. Injury. Injury sucks, and that is said by someone who makes a living from it. Sadly it can affect us all. However, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This marathon wasn’t the time for me to set a new PB but I have learnt from this.
The Ugly-simple ME. If anyone saw me after mile 20 I apologise. This must of been the ugliest technique of power walking/running that has ever been seen.
I am thrilled with the money that has been kindly donated but my page is still open. If you wanted to donate please feel free to click https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/dashboard
Now to sleep and recover. Does any know a good physio??