What happens after crossing that finish line?
In the immediate minutes, Hilde crossed the finish line as did my Mum and the girls. I hugged lots of people, and used the railing to stretch my legs. We took some photos, and I was told where to go to collect my bag and that they hoped there would still be goodie bags. I made a couple of phone calls; Matt, my brother, my Dad, and trudged up the mall and sent other people messages. I collected my goodie bag and my kit bag, and then said goodbye and thank you to Mum who needed to get her train and goodbye to Hilde.
I sat on the steps of some monument and said to the girls let’s go for a drink, but I wanted to get my trainers off. That was an experience… having never had blisters before in training (bar one on a particularly soggy training session), I did during the marathon and peeled my socks off slowly. Helena and Sarah could see my toenails before I could and they reassured me all my toenails were intact! I struggled to remove one sock and we thought it was stuck to my foot with tape, it later turned out to be my skin and I was just peeling skin off… grim!
I put flip flops on, muttered the same thing over and over about can’t believe I’ve done it, thank you thank you, and then with Sarah and Helena taking a side each and pulling me up (sitting down was a bad move!) I staggered off towards the pub. We shared a bottle of prosecco and a couple of people asked me had I just done the marathon, well done etc, and then it was time for a cab to my hotel where Matt was waiting having driven back from Clacton.
Unfortunately, despite being assured the air con was fixed, the room was still a sauna so after a massive hug and chat with Matt I called reception who offered to move us – there was no way I could spend another night in that room and heat as it was simply stifling. Matt packed my stuff whilst I laid on the bed, and we moved rooms. I knew I needed to eat as I’d survived on porridge and jelly babies but I just wasn’t hungry. None the less I ordered Dominos, had a shower, managed a few slices and collapsed into bed.
I thought I would have the best night’s sleep of my life but I couldn’t have been more wrong, I couldn’t sleep! I tossed, I turned, it hurt. Before I knew it, it was morning and Matt went to breakfast whilst I stayed in bed before eventually getting up, washing my hair and getting ready to make a move. Walking was a real struggle and the four wheel suitcase I had with me was turning out to be a useful prop…
Matt had driven into London so could drive me home, and I said let’s get McDonald’s. We got a McDonald’s, but I didn’t eat it all and still wasn’t hungry and was a little confused. We made it home, and I collapsed on the sofa and didn’t do much – all my intentions of posting on my blog etc went out the window. The key I’m told is to keep moving but the challenge was I really couldn’t – moving was done by holding onto Matt and doing a strange sort of shuffle!
Various people called and messaged to check on me on Monday whilst I just chilled out. I was surprised I could barely move; I expected pain and stiffness but nothing like what I experienced. I also didn’t expect such a mental comedown; I was wearing my finisher’s t-shirt and medal but felt quite numb.
Thankfully, sleep last night was better (after finishing the pizza with some chips and a glass of bubbly) and I woke this morning feeling more human. Taking a couple of days off was a good move, and whilst it’s been a slow day, I’ve done everything I wanted to including going to the supermarket and the washing – an exciting day! My appetite still isn’t back but I’m told that is quite normal.
I can’t believe just over 48 hours ago I competed the London Marathon; something I never thought I’d even want to do, let alone accomplish. I don’t want it to sound a cliche, but I simply could not have done it without the support of so many people, most of whom I’ve already mentioned. You know who you are and I’ll always be grateful. I will also always be hugely appreciative of the strangers who made my experience too. It was without doubt the hardest physical and mental challenge I’ve ever put myself through but one that was undoubtably worth it, both personally and raising money for Marie Curie.
I’m very much limping/hobbling around and my body, particularly my feet, are a mess but I simply wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes, my day didn’t go to plan or how I’d expected, but I have to remind myself of the following:
- I’m now part of a group of 1% of people in the world who have completed a marathon
- I’ve raised money for Marie Curie, a hugely worthy cause
- I went from doing nothing/very little exercise to finishing the London Marathon
- I did a 16 week training plan with 4/5 weeks out through injury and illness
- I’m the lightest and almost certainly the fittest I’ve been in years
- If I can finish the marathon, I can do anything
- I made it home
I’m sure many of you will have seen in the press that sadly one participant, Matt Campbell, passed away during the marathon. Like many others, this weekend I’ll be doing 3.7 miles in Matt’s memory, the distance he had left on the course. That puts things into perspective.
I’ll post a little more about my experience and thoughts later this week, but for now, thank you for reading and your support.