The ballot for the London Marathon 2017 opened today. Oh that excitement of will I or won’t I get in, it was almost tempting and then I remembered: I don’t want to get in. A week and a day after the marathon and I have absolutely no desire to run that distance ever again. It hasn’t been a ‘never again…oooh look a marathon’ sort of scenario. I’ve done it twice – that’s twice more than I ever thought I would! That’ll do!
It’s been a funny week. I perfected a sort of penguin shuffle over the first few days until the stiffness eased and I could walk normally again. I learned that touching your toes is a privilege and not a right (I could barely reach past my knees) and I felt totally lost for a couple of days and tired for the entire week. I craved salty stuff for a day or two – crisps mainly and anything with carbs and then my sweet tooth kicked in and I just wanted chocolate and cake and biscuits. I didn’t want big meals, I just wanted to eat constantly. I was looking forward to a glass or two of wine but when it came to it wasn’t really bothered. I’m still not fussed really.
Looking back at marathon day is also a funny old business. I am remembering things I didn’t immediately after when I wrote the race review and my perception of the day is shifting a little now the pain has worn off. The memories that are sticking are the good ones. I remember the rhinos – oh the rhinos. They were fabulous. I think we were probably overtaken by all of them in the end but we spent a lot of time close to rhinos. I don’t know how the guys managed to run in those ‘costumes’ – more like contraptions really (sorry if you have no idea what I am talking about). I remember the crowds through Greenwich and I remember the first person to call my name – a little boy maybe aged 10 shouting ‘go Jessica!’. I remember all the high 5s offered by the kids and my inability to be grumpy about being in pain and then making the effort to run over to the kids even when I felt like I couldn’t move another step.
I remember the cutty sark and looping round it, smiling to myself and I remember really wanting the Too Fat to Run cheering station to come because I needed a boost. I remember the feeling of being supported and cheered on. I don’t remember the disappointment at not being able to run across Tower Bridge, I remember going across Tower Bridge, taking it in and looking at it as if I’d never seen it before and I remember going past mile 15 thinking ‘ ok well, not going to plan but I’m doing this!’ I remember at mile 16 setting my heart on finishing and I remember remembering – probably at around mile 18 – a t-shirt I’d seen during my first half marathon which said ‘Pain is temporary, knees are replaceable but glory is eternal’.
I remember my blister popping at about mile 21 as I decided to use the roar of the crowds to just try another little run and I remember emerging from the tunnel, I remember the Thames and how gorgeous London looked on the day. I remember how lovely it was to see Sarah and Mark out on the course – friendly faces also on this journey. I don’t really remember Buckingham Palace, I just remember the crowd and the noise and then seeing the finish line and Kath turning to me and saying ‘Starwars theme tune?’ and I think I laughed and maybe it did play in my head as I crossed the line. (See my Dopey half marathon post for an explanation of this. Edited: Actually it’s not there – we crossed the finish line to the star wars theme tune and it’s the best ever! Was it the marathon? Hm!). I remember the bloke giving me my medal – actually putting it round my neck. I remember saying thank you over and over again and him laughing at me telling me well done.
As the days have gone on, the time it took or the fact that it didn’t all go to plan have become far less important. I look back on the day with fondness and the overwhelming emotion looking back is happiness. I wouldn’t swap that experience for anything – doesn’t mean I want to do it again though! So if you’re sitting there wondering if maybe you should enter the ballot, do it. There isn’t really a good reason not to. Well actually there are 1000s of good reasons not to but none of them matter. I’m happy, really happy I’ve done it and even happier I don’t have to do it again!