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Marathon running and all that.....

Tunnel 2 Towers 5k Run / Walk

Image: hananah134977360_medium.jpgThe first Max Appeal team completing the Tunnel 2 Towers event.

A piece written by Hannah, one of our members about taking part and how it made her feel.

Hannah says
" It made me so special and great to be at the finish line and made me feel like crying. I would like to say a big thank you to the person who organized the race."

My Tunnel to Towers Race by Hannah Payne

Image: hannah3_medium.jpgOn Sunday 19th July 2015 I did a 5k race for max appeal. It was great fun and I really enjoyed it. I met some other people who did the race as well. I felt so good for doing the run. It made me so special. I would like to thank the people who organized the race for max appeal.
Image: tunnels_2_towers_walk_medium.jpgMy sister Maria, her partner his cousin and girlfriend and my Auntie all did the race with me. When we arrived I had a photo with the young solders, fire men and police men. When we started the race I was the first one to start the race. Then we followed the piper to start the race.

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We went through a great big black tunnel called the rotheride tunnel. When we came out of the tunnel we could already see the towers in the distance.

Along the way people where waving to us and cheering us on.

When I got near to the finish line I walked from the corner bit to the finish line. They had men standing with there flags at the finish line and lots of people where cheering. It made me so special and great to be at the finish line and made me feel like crying. I would like to say a big thank you to the person who organized the race.

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What a great day I had sometimes I love having 22q we do lots if fun activities. Also we met lots of different new people too. Love my max appeal friends. Thank you so much for being there for me.

We have raised just under a 1000.

By Hannah

No one said it would hurt that much Part 1

Martin London MarathonIt's taken a week to get my head around writing this blog. Well, almost. And I think a two parter could be necessary just so you don't get overly bored.

Last Sunday I did what I set out to do some 20 weeks ago. I ran the London Marathon in under 4 hours and I raised a lot of money for a very worthwhile charity. The sense of achievement was truly incredible. I don't think I've done anything like that before. Personal achievement has always ranked pretty high in everything I do, but the combination of the two is something special. Here is what happened before the race............

I'm no runner. Thats a definite. I've ridden bikes all my life. I did have a short period of running before going travelling about 9 years ago (i'll keep fit whilst I'm away for a year by running round the streets of Bangkok needless to say that lasted about two days). My dalliance with Triathlon and the need to run at the end got me doing a bit more training and then somehow I got talked into running the Birmingham Half Marathon last October. That was my first big run and it wasn't any fun at all.

As with most events, the run up to that first one was less than ideal. I got knocked off my bike 8 weeks before and my training was severely hampered by my leg being immobilised for a week, then another two weeks to allow it to heal. I had base fitness from the Tri season, but nowhere near enough miles in my legs. Still, I got around in a reasonable (for me) debut half of 1hr44min. Collectively, we raised about 2,000 for Max Appeal!

In the post half high (I got around) I got chatting to the Charity founder, Paul Wootton. He dropped into the conversation he had a couple of London Marathon places. I'd entered the ballot and not got in. So had my Tri Team Mate. I knew once he said he had a place, I'd be running the 2012 London Marathon it was my 40th Birthday year, what better mid life crisis than 'I know, I'll run a Marathon'

All charities want a minimum fundraising total. Paul told us this amount, but over a pint Ed and I decided we'd go for a bigger sum. We both felt that Max Appeal! were giving us a great opportunity, and we wanted to make sure we did a great job in the fundraising. We broke down how much we could blag off our friends and family (50) how much we'd need to put in (4950). Those numbers didn't add up we hadn't got 4950, so plan B was to do fundraising events. Ed went down the Delia Smith Bake Off route and flogged dodgy cakes to work colleagues. I took the big boss approach and forced the staff to wear their own clothes to work and pay for the privilege.

That got us going but we needed something big. The great Birmingham Property Quiz was born on a long snowy sunday run. Book a bar, lay on some food, get some random questions that are too hard to answer, get a load of free prizes donated, get everyone drinking far to much and hit em with an auction mid way through when the beer has kicked in! Ker-ching success indeed, a whopping 12k raised in one night by the fantastic Midlands property sector. I'm eternally grateful to everyone that turned up that night and made it a massive success. I will be doing that agin next year........

With the Fundraising in the bag, we could settle back into training. Ed faced his own injury challenges and lost 5 weeks. Mine on the other hand went incredibly well. I got my Long Runs in with the aid of Marathon Talk and IM Talk podcasts. The most memorable was setting out to do 17 miles in the snow on my own. That was some mental test. Interval sessions came and passed with the associated agony and early morning runs before work became a regular. It fitted around my hectic life. No injuries either two weeks out from the marathon I was in the shape of my life. The first time ever i'd got close to an event without a mishap. I think I may have vocalised that a bit too much. A week out I got a heavy cold. That got worse and the Thursday before race day the doctor prescribed antibiotics. My head really dropped. 16 weeks of hard effort and I didnt think I'd make the start line. I had the debate of even taking the tablets would they effect my performance? I decided better they did than the impact of the infected sinus and dodgy chest. Would they do anything? I didn't know. This was a real low point, and to come so close to the end was a bit soul destroying.

By Saturday, I felt better. Much better. They had worked. I set off to London feeling pretty good. My spirits were high. The start line awaited...................

No one said it would hurt that much...... Part 2

The trip down to London was largely uneventful. A slight mistake at the tube station saw us naughtily fare dodge to the expo to register, adding to that 'life on the edge' feeling we were already having. Obviously anxiety had crept in and I was convinced the queue would be two hours to pick up my all important number. Hmm. In and out of registration in under 5mins. Maybe it would go well after all.

A bit of shopping for a souvenir (won't be doing this again, gotta get a memento) for both of us, then a confused wander around the expo unsuccessfully finding our way out, until we stopped being British and asked for directions.

The remainder of the day was refuelling and resting, with the obligatory pre race beer to aid relaxation.

At dinner, Ed was asked by a rather attractive American lady to escort her to the start tomorrow. He played it cool, rather indifferent, but it you could see it was no hardship.

The Sunday morning arrived. For once, I had a nice nights sleep. I arrived at breakfast early in my race kit, covered carefully with clothes I was happy to chuck at the start line. Jogging bottoms by Lonsdale (6 quid from sports direct) an oversize oneFgear SSEC 11 reject sweatshirt. All in Marl grey. Ed arrived in a similar get up a blue 20 year old umbro sweatshirt. We looked like Lou and Andy from Little Britain. The American lady turned up, took one look at us and decided to travel to the start with a floppy haired Hugh Grant look a like. All can say is she missed out.

As we headed to the start, the nerves built up a bit. I took in the views of London from the Grenwich observatory. The sun was shining. It felt warm. My chest was clear. It was finally here.

Ed works in logistics. He successfully demonstrated his expertise and took us to the wrong pen.

Dave Hollyoak (marathon veteran) had suggested to take a bottle to your start pen for that last minute toilet break. Good tip, I used it and deposited at the start. Seriously hope no one thought that torq bottle had energy drink in it.

We edged forward. You could feel the tension. We shook hands. Ed frowned and gave me some very sage like advice.

'Now, remember. Don't go off to fast. It's a marathon, not a sprint'

Hmm. I'd kinda worked that out.

Then the start. Our pen released and we edged towards the line. Hundreds around us poised to press the start on their Garmin's as we crossed the line. We were off.

I was surprised at how easy it was to run with so many people around me. I distanced myself from the prancing morris dancer pretty early, but the variety of fancy dress around me gave me comfort that I would undoubtedly be humbled by a Scooby Doo at the finish. I noticed straight away how hot it was, glad I'd left the Barney Rubble outfit at home.

We'd settled on a target pace to bring us in at 3.35 to 3.40, my 'A' target. A sub 3.30 had gone out of my head when I got my antibiotics on Thursday. I went through 5km bang on schedule. The feeling and temptation to up the pace was massive. I stuck to 5.05km's. 10km came and went, again, bang on schedule. This was feeling too easy. I was blown away by the crowds. I've never seen so many spectators lining a route for so far, not even at the Tour de France. I think the absolute highlight of this part if the race was seeing a young lady take advantage of the out stretched hand of a St Johns helper and eat a big lump of Vaseline. I'm assuming she thought it was energy gel, unless of course she had chaffing in the mouth?

I went through 15km again on schedule. I knew there was a long way to go, and I was keeping my self in check. The next milestone was Tower Bridge and the half way point. Ed and I arrived here together. I started to think about the second half of the race. I could press on from here. Maybe my sub 3.30 could be back on?

25km passed. I'd run a 5.01 last km, my fastest of the race so far. Ed was feeling good and had moved ahead of me. I could still see him, but I was still being cautious. This had to be a good sign. But it wasn't. The next 4km I started to feel it. I was getting towards the longest runs I'd done in training and I knew it. It started to hurt. Now was the time to dig in. 30km passed. I didn't feel good now, I was very conscious of the heat. 30km to 35km I moderated my pace. Through all my training I'd been comfortable at 5.30km pace. I settled into this, knowing that 3.35 was out the window, but that target 'B' of 3.45 could still be in the bag.

35km I really felt it. I knew I had to stop. My legs were showing early signs of cramp. My mind was wandering, telling me I had to stop for the toilet. 5 cubicles were reviewed and rejected due to 'painting'. I stretched my painful calf. The marathon really had started. I had a fear I was going to have to walk to get to the finish, something I knew I would regret. I thought of the 15k Ed and I had raised, how lucky I was to be running the greatest marathon in the world. I set off again, not knowing what was to come.

I don't remember a lot of the next 6km apart from it was carnage. So many people were walking. I saw many people lying down desperately stretching, some being treated by St Johns. My Garmin data shows me I was barely running. I stopped to stretch my calf 4 more times, the last being on the embankment where a spectator really encouraged me, massaging my shoulders as I stretched on the kerb side. 'you can do it mate, you are almost there' I set off on the last few km's. I was shuffling now not running. I looked around, I wasn't the only one either.

As I went through mile 25, I looked at the clock. It was something like 3.52. A rough calculation. I'm not gonna make 4hrs at this pace. My heart sank. I knew if I didn't hit my 'C' target I'd have to do this all over again, and believe me I never wanted to run another marathon at this point again in my life. I just had to up the pace. I dug deep. I could feel the pace increase as I hit birdcage walk. I was still struggling, but the sub 4hrs was all I could think about.

At about 600m to go I looked to my right and saw something I think will stick with me for the rest of my life. A young woman was lying in the road, with paramedics desperately doing CPR. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had an unbelievable urge to stop. But I couldn't do anything. I pressed on, turning into the Mall with that image in my head. I later discovered this was Claire Squires, who tragically died before finishing her marathon.

The finish line was in sight. I looked up at the clock, I was going to make it. Just. 3.58 something as I crossed the line. I'd done it again! Many of my PB's are something 59 and seconds. What I hadn't connected in my desperate sprint to the line was that was gun time not chip time. D'oh. My last km of 5.13km pace was totally unnecessary. The relief was incredible. I realised how much pain I was now in. Agony. I turned to the woman next to me and said 'we did it' she said ' yes, we did, and I'm never doing it again' I agreed.

As I wandered away and the medal was placed around my neck it really meant something. Part for me, part for the people that had enabled me to raise so much money. A great, great feeling.

I finally found Ed at meeting point C as agreed. He was a similar shambling wreck. He'd had a similar run to me and blown up, but come in around the 3.48 mark, a great run for someone that missed 5 weeks with injury.

That was it. I'd done my London Marathon.

This blog was called 'no one said it hurt that much' for a reason. It's true. The Marathon really hurts. Really hurts. I have never suffered in a sporting event like I did for that last 7km. The days that followed, I couldn't walk. Stairs were impossible.

I said never again. That lasted a day or so. I want to tick off the Marathon Majors. Hopefully Chicago next year, hopefully it will be a new PB too, closer to my target. But right now I'm really happy with my 3.56.