@Running Elmo, hell to the yes.
2011 was my first one, and I ran the same time as Lance. Due to injuries in both feet I'd had to stop all training 6-7 weeks before, so really it was a fool's game running a whole marathon on only fractionally over half marathon fitness. I might have dropped out, but felt I had an obligation to try and run as I'd already raised so much money and was in on a charity place.
For the first half I ran with RW pacers on 11-minute miles. But once that heat kicked in at 15, it really was one mile at a time. I stopped just after every mile marker from 16 onwards. Felt irregular heartbeat, woozy round the edges, basically early warning signs of heatstroke, so I figured snail's pace and regular stop and stretch breaks were the only way to go. But although I stopped many times, like Haruki Murakami, I never walked.
There was an elderly woman called Doris hovering near me for most of those last tough miles, and every time I ran on after stopping at a marker, ruddy dynamo Doris caught me up again! She really did function as a continual inspiration/humiliation to just keep picking my feet up and plough on.
I wasn't in good shape afterwards due to totalled feet, heavy head cold and bad reaction to gels, but it's amazing how Terminator-like the human body is in hastily smelting itself back together. Within hours I was weighing up the possibility of another on the train home. Main thoughts could be summarised thus: <Likelihood of doing another in short order? Unappealing. Likelihood of not doing another *fairly* soon? Highly implausible.>
I think what kicks in here is a quote I like about yoga - I'm no yogi but it was something along the lines of 'Yoga is a way of getting your body to do extreme things, and then working you whether you can achieve those extreme things more naturally and easily'. The final miles were horrendous, but the experience was still grimly fascinating. The thought begins to hover...How can you do it a second time, and make that extremity go easier?
Posted: 24/04/2011 at 17:57