You know you’ve made bad life choices when…
… your alarm goes off at 5am on Easter Sunday and you have to drive to Hull.
I must admit I felt tired and pretty miserable looking at the dark, drizzly morning outside.
But there’s no time to dwell on mistakes when you’re busy making more, so I hopped out of bed and set off for my first of three marathons in three weeks.
Chauffered by a superb one-man support team – my older brother James – I headed for Hull city centre to finally get this show on the road.
I was poorly prepared, and had to borrow an iPod from James and pins to attach my runner number from a random lady, but the moment the race started I was back on familiar ground – running for extended periods of time is basically how I live my life now, and this time I felt fit and strong from the first step.
Following a bloke I nicknamed Smeagol (because he looked like Gollum from Lord Of The Rings), I stuck closely to my pace of running each mile in 7 minutes 30 seconds.
Based on my training times, I knew I could keep that up for 20 miles, which would leave me an hour for the last 6.2 miles if I was to beat my 3 hour 30 minute target.
I spent most of the race expecting to hit the infamous “wall” of exhaustion, but at 18 miles I was still going strong – and even decided to pick up the pace slightly.
I won’t lie – the last 6.2 miles (you really feel the .2) hurt like hell, but I wasn’t going to let my body give up. Other marathon runners may know the feeling of simply overruling your body’s instruction to slow down – I’d trained too hard for too long to give up so near the end.
I imagine I looked demented during the last few miles, but I kept going and eventually found myself back in the city centre.
With less than 1,000 runners in the race, I was lucky enough to find myself alone as I neared the finish – something you’d never get in a crowded race like London.
I felt totally elated as I crossed the line – high-fiving James as I did so – but immediately found myself unable to walk now the race was over.
It took me at least half an hour to get back to the car (not a personal best), once again assisted by James, who had popped up at various points in the race to cheer me on and had even acted as an extra marshal at one point!
Massive thanks to him for his support on the day. Two to go.