The Aftermath

So having crossed the finish line and been presented with my medal, by now both my legs were absolutely killing me: the medical people along the route and the volunteers who help people to the finish had been asking if I was alright as I was limping quite badly, but I had explained my feet were fine which seemed to be their concern. Just in case 26.2 miles isn’t far enough, after collecting your medal you then have to walk another 800 metres along a line of about 30 lorries, collecting your particular bag, and walk to the end before you leave the finishers’ area and can find your incredible long suffering husband.

Limping my way through the finishers’ area, weighed down by bag – and medal!

I was also getting quite cold by now, but although my bag had my hoodie in it, I wanted a picture of me in the race t-shirt with medal first (though it turned out that the official photographers had taken quite a few in the posed shot just after the finish), so that was the first thing I asked Stephen for, followed by a plea to sit down. Also I had put my bag down once to get the recovery drink out of it and found it nearly impossible to bend down and pick it up again, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to repeat this to fish out the hoodie!

Me and my medal – it was all worth it

There wasn’t anywhere to sit except the kerb or grass, and I was pretty sure I would never get up again from that low a perch, so I limped onwards through Admiralty Arch until we found a wall approaching Trafalgar Square to perch on for a few minutes.

I got a spark of energy from a great band playing some Pink Floyd music and that helped me get to Charing Cross, where I was technically an hour too late for the free travel marathon runners are supposed to have, but when I showed my medal to the station staff they let me through without a murmur. The train arrived as we did, so we got on and I was – finally – able to sit down properly, which I described as the best feeling in the world! I was also finally able to get to my bag, where I had stashed the home made flapjack Philly had made for me, the thought of which had been pulling me on towards the finish, and some chicken pieces for protein. We were joined by lots of other people including another marathon runner, so we chatted about how much we were hurting until he got off, having sensibly booked a hotel for the nights before and afterwards. My legs were aching badly, but they felt a bit better once we got in the car – possibly the height of the seat was better.

It was after 11pm when we got home: poor Stephen was tired too with all his travelling around London and along the route with me, so we just collapsed into bed. It took a long time to get to sleep, as my legs were aching so much. I couldn’t find a position to lie in that didn’t hurt, and everything was so stiff and sore it was nearly impossible to turn over to try and find another position.

I’d booked Monday off work. When I woke up, my legs were ok so long as I didn’t use them, but of course it’s best to move around a bit or they just seize up worse. It wasn’t as bad getting up and down stairs as I had feared, but I couldn’t straighten my legs properly, and anything as adventurous as standing on tiptoes to stretch the muscles was completely impossible. Several times during the morning I managed to stand up and walk halfway down the hall, thinking that I ought to take the dogs out for a walk, but gave up in exhaustion and sat down again. I did manage it at lunchtime! I went back to sleep for the afternoon, which frankly seemed to make me feel worse.

At work on Tuesday

By Tuesday morning although still stiff I felt much improved and made it into work. The stairs were manageable, and I was pleased to discover I could actually stand on tiptoes which had been impossible the day before. I was very touched to see Hayley had given me lots of chocolate and a card, and the sales team hadn’t forgotten the promise of donuts either! I had booked a physio appointment after work with the lovely Rosie and that pretty much sorted out the painful leg muscles, but I was irritated on Wednesday to find that the right hip flexor which had been the issue pre-race, but not hurt at all during the race, had become very stiff and weak feeling. A gentle jog around the track that evening was ok, and didn’t feel like it was damaging it, but the hip didn’t feel like it could do much.

On Saturday we had a parkrun planned for Stephen’s 200th different venue and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to complete it, but I was pleased to find that not only did I manage the whole parkrun, but the hip felt a fair bit better afterwards, so possibly just needs more strengthening exercises with gentle work to recover fully. I continued to be showered with gifts, with chocolates coming from Roger & Winn, from my sister, and from Fran & Dave, and flowers from Rosie – perhaps I should do this more often?

Proudly sporting my London Marathon medal and t-shirt, after Maidstone River Park parkrun, Stephen’s 200th different location (and my 116th)

This blog wouldn’t be complete without a huge shout out to Coach Stephen (he’s still writing his reflective blog entry), without whom frankly it would have been impossible. I probably wouldn’t even still be parkrunning without his support, let alone me having the sort of over-optimistic enthusiasm that first led me to enter the ballot, and then to take up my place and do the necessary training. He created the training plan, entered me in the races, volunteered at some of them, passed out gels, helped me work out the nutrition plans, and created vast numbers of complicated running routes as parts of parkruns, runs from the house to the local parkruns, runs from my office back to my house, runs all over the British Isles and America. And of course on the day itself, he organised the trip to the Expo, sorted the travel and accommodation, worked out the travel to the start (sort of!), and spent the entire day rushing all over London while simultaneously trying to keep track of a very excitable and active WhatsApp group, and walking most of the last 6 miles with an exhausted Lucy. He is quite simply AMAZING!!!

Did I enjoy the London marathon? YES! A lot of it was in many ways quite horrible as my leg hurt a lot and it was frustrating knowing how slowly I was going, especially in the sections where I couldn’t run at all. But it was amazing hearing the crowds, the music, the drums, seeing all the signs people were holding up supporting the runners. It’s hard to describe just how enthusiastic the support was – not just a few random shouts of ‘go Lucy’, but people clapping their hands with repeated shouts of ‘Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy’, or singing ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, or ‘go Lucy’, or hanging over bridges calling ‘you got this’, it was just fantastic! And particularly my wonderful supportive friends who came into London, those who sent brilliant messages for Stephen to read out, and got into the spirit of it all on the WhatsApp group during the day, and just generally showed so much interest! Special thanks also to Su whose idea it was to create this blog, and who has been so supportive and encouraging along the way.

Would I do it again, or another marathon? NO! I must confess there is a part of me which thinks I could have done it in under 8 hours – if I’d kept to the half marathon speed, it would have only been a little over 7.5 hours, which was Stephen’s original goal for me, instead of the 8 hours 21 minutes it took! But to attempt another marathon with a faster speed, I would have to be fitter, slimmer, stronger, do even more training for longer beforehand so that I didn’t pick up any injury, and I just don’t think I have that level of dedication for the whole business. And although Stephen enjoys the somewhat smaller marathons where you can actually do your intended pace and not have crowds of people overtaking you or for you to have to overtake, which makes sense when you are rather faster as he is, I just think anything except London would be a let-down afterwards. So, for me, it’s One and Done, LonDONE!

2 thoughts on “The Aftermath

  1. Brilliant blog post. Captures the highs and lows perfectly and they are what makes life worth living.

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