Second week and the second marathon but not just any old Marathon!! This was the Zero2Hero’s GRADUATION … yeah baby! 11 months of training, ruined by 11 months of excessive wine intake to shake the nerves, and finally the day had come when I could look forward to no more training and lots more wine. But “just” doing this marathon wasn’t good enough .. Oh no siree! I was hardcore now (meaning I still had functioning limbs) and figured I’d throw in the MK 5k Rocket race as well, double the runs, get in! and on a bank holiday too which means there was also a spare day to … erm … prepare for the 2 runs for the next 2 days and what could possibly go wrong! I mean, it’s always grey and miserable on a bank holiday, the only time we’re guaranteed rain or howling winds or sub-zero temperatures or hell! even snow is a bank holiday weekend in the UK.
But Christ Alive, I must’ve been really bad in a former life because the sun came out … it not only came out it turned itself up to temperatures replicating the deepest depths of hell with the thermostat turned up to excess .. and then some! But hey, it’s just a little plod in the sunshine right?
So welcome to 379 members of the Green Army Family… all out to enjoy the 5k Rocket race to cries of “why is the pub open and not selling booze?” (at 8am) and “I’m going to take it easy today, no faster than a 20 min 5k” to “I won’t push it, just getting the old legs turning before the marathon tomorrow”… and then there’s me! “I need a wee”, “where’s my hat” “oh my god! how are you, it’s been aaaaages” .. yep .. welcome to my social circle .. and that’s why you can’t see me in this photo .. I’m there, but harking back to my school days, I can be found at the very back of the photo talking and disrupting people.
I too, thought I would use this 5k as a nice little leg turner .. or in my case.. to see if my legs were still attached to my body given I hadn’t heard from them for a couple of weeks.
The first thing to understand about this race is that it is advertised as being a flat and downhill point to point race … ideal for achieving your PB …. and that is EXACTLY why it starts at the bottom of a long incline from pub up to the shops, I was just grateful the pub wasn’t serving alcohol and the shops didn’t open for another 2 hours otherwise I’d still be out there now walking around Debenhams with my Rocket number attached to my green tee!
So there we were, a field of almost 1200 runners, 3/4’s of which was a sea of green, plodding up a hill on a “flat course” waving to the cameras, turning right to go down hill and then making like cars around the roundabout at which point my watch told me I’d just done the 1st mile in under 10 mins. No one will ever understand what motivation this gives me as a plodder – my “warm up mile” had suddenly registered in my head as being a sub 10 and, not being very good at maths, I figured I could do this in half an hour and still be at McDonalds before they stopped serving breakfast. So the legs kept turning, the head kept thinking ‘Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin’ and the next thing I know I’m sprinting towards the finish line in 29:09 … go me! smashed my previous 5k target …. and took so long getting over this fact I still managed to miss breakfast!! But hey!! this little dudette was there waiting for me at the finish line which made missing breakfast worthwhile. (and that blows the whole “SavageMum” stuff out the window!)
And so onto the more serious business of the Marathon the following day with temperatures expected to hit 27 degrees I think we all knew it was going to be a toughie and sure as eggs is eggs, it was a bloody beast from start to finish. For once, I attempted to take this seriously … it’s no laughing matter running 26.2 miles, but throw in unexpected sauna like conditions and the hilarity of running a marathon had to be replaced with a moderate amount of seriousness, which of course only lasted about 6 miles for me by which point my race strategy (yes!! I had one this time … go me!) of running 8 x 5k’s plus a little bit extra for shits ‘n’ giggles, went totally out the window …
….. and no, the irony of me running passed a pub and smiling about it, isn’t lost on me either! but I had to share these photo’s as proof that at one point during this long plod, I was actually “having fun” in a weird, painful even sadistic kinda way.
The wheels fell off quite early for me this time … I can’t even “gloat” and say that I made it into double figures before I crashed and burned. If I recall correctly my new strategy of run / walk was adopted round about mile 7 when my phone, with all of it’s amazing recently downloaded tunes, had started playing up. Now I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason and I wasn’t disappointed because as I turned around I saw my Chief Cheerleader / Pit Stop Director / Hero behind me looking strong and focused. I’d lost him at the start and didn’t get a chance to wish him “good luck”. As he got closer, I got ready to cheer him on but bless him! he got there first with an encouraging “why are you walking?” … oh.. er …. oops – busted! He was doing a good marathon pace, my usual pace, so I started running and managed to keep up with him for about 10 steps ensuring he made it safely through the blossom that was attacking anyone who dared run beneath it before giving up and letting him crack on.
By mile 9, after I’d taken another quick shower in one of the many water features the spectators put on for us on-route, it was time for me to start thinking of taking on board some hard-earned fuel by way of the 20 odd Jelly Babies I had stashed in my running pouch and it seemed like a good opportunity to stop, walk, stretch out, refuel and sort the old phone out at the same time. Reaching into my belt I pulled out my phone which was covered in a gloppy mass of melted jelly babies, I now had a choice of plodding whilst licking my phone or waiting for the next water station – no surprises, I decided to wait … best laid plans and all that … so not only had I changed my race plan, I now had to change my refuelling plan too. It was at this point that I decided, disorganised running with no preconceived ideas and plans suited me much better than pretending to be a proper athlete. Next stop .. Gatorade!! whoop whoop the #RebelWithoutAClue strikes again .. having never had Gatorade I decided to down it like a shot of Jagermeister, grab a bottle of water to wash it down with and see where that got me! … As you can see …. it got me a right grumpy “shove that camera up yer bum” kinda face.
So … no music, no fuel my fried brain was desperately searching into its archives to try to remember what else I could do to keep myself occupied while I plodded along pretending to myself that this was just another social run… I gave a few shout outs to some of the runners who were throwing up in bushes, had a lovely chat to another random chap … until I found out he was a politician who had just finished his “huge” campaign in London… I’d hate to tell you what party he was canvassing for .. but suffice to say it matched the colour of my t-shirt. I managed to lose him by pulling up with ‘cramp’ and shouting “go on without me, I’ll catch you up” … I didn’t… obvs!
By the time I hit mile 19 I had adopted my final strategy … crawling! well not quite but I walked the entire mile and was picked up by an old work colleague, who is also a Redway Runner .. but she’s one of those amazingly intimidating yet awe-inspiring lean, mean Ultra running machines who bends and sweats at yoga at 5.30 every morning. Pet Hedges – you’re a legend and I had the pleasure of run / walking with her for the rest of the way…. interspersed with her watering down my backside to get rid of the sweat marks and being “look out” while I pee’d in a bush at mile 21… glamorous stuff this plodding malarkey.. it’s all about looking good and picking up a tan on the way don’t you know!
Finally around mile 24 another ‘one of a kind’ super human Redway Runner who wasn’t even running in the marathon, came back to find us …. I introduce to you that other legend, Alistair Devenish. This man bought so many of us home its unreal – he also went out and ran his own half marathon in the evening covering a total of 33 miles all in that day!
This is one of my favourite photos and memories of the day …. me being dragged in by 2 super humans one of which had it in her to go the complete distance twice over but instead stayed with me and kept me going, and the other who has the toughest legs in MK, a totally selfless nature and a pure heart of gold! … oh! and Check. It. Out! … on the home stretch I found me some flying feet! whoop whoop.
I said goodbye to Alistair just before running through the tunnel into the stadium and as he headed off back up the finishing straight to pick up a few more Redway Runners, Pet and I headed into the Stadium to do the final lap to the finish line and it seems that having spent 7 miles talking crap with me and wiping sweat off my ass, she could take it no longer and off she sprinted to the finish line leaving me eating her dust. As I rounded the final bend, I saw a picture that I’m not sure will ever leave me …. picture a cow with arms wide open standing slap bang in the middle of an inflatable blue finish line … yep .. a far cry from London but to be honest, 5 hours and 46 minutes after starting it was the craziest but best thing I’d seen since mile 7 …. so forgetting to apply any form of brakes whatsoever I nearly knocked him off his feet. Thanks for hanging around in that cow suit Kevin Tilley! you may not have run it but you survived for god knows how many hours in that cow suit and still didn’t smell as bad as an actual cow! you rock!
Finally … there was my supportive, encouraging mentor. Let me help you decipher these photos …
Steve: Kerry! amazing effort, I’m so proud of you. You’ve done it.
Me: <sob> <sniff> <gulp>
Steve: There, there, it’s all done, you’re super human. Congratulations
Me: Everything <sob> hurts <sniff>
Steve: I know it hurts, but look!! 3 medals
Me: <Raises eye brows, looks at the long-suffering wifey>
Steve: They’re great aren’t they? …
Me: Yes Steve, they’re great <sniff>
Steve: C’mon Kerry, man up, enough of this emosh shit, it’s over now- go and get your medals
Me: <sigh> Ok where do I go?
Steve: Just head round to where those balloons are, see them? just going up the stairs, go all the way to the top ….
Me: Wait what?
And what became of my Chief Cheerleader / Pit Stop Director / Hero’s first marathon I hear you ask? …. Well I’m proud to say that he SMASHED IT!! Personally I had no doubt, you see he’s a stubborn, resilient sod who has amazed not only me but I think he’s kind of amazed himself too and my only regret is that I couldn’t find it in me to run faster than him and be there at the end like he’s been for me so many times before, but I hope he digs deep and finds it in himself to be proud of his achievement because it really was a massive superhuman achievement.
So that’s it! SavageMumRuns marathon journey finished….done …. dusted but the burning question on everyone’s lips seems to be “when’s the next one”. Well let me print this response because I’m not going to say it again ….
…Are you f*@&ing mad?, you must think I’m a total t**t if you think I’m ever doing that s**t again, now p*** off …oh …what’s that? an Ultra you say…. erm ….
Until next time