My VLM 2010: /Alex/ (2:39.26)

A journey through pain - my experience of hitting the wall and making a quick mental recovery

Posted: 26 April 2010
by /Alex/

2010 London Marathon Mile 22
Beginning to feel it at Mile 22

My name is Alex Milne. I am 20 years old and this was my third (consecutive) London Marathon. The previous two went horribly wrong - in the first, I was aiming for 3:10 but finished in 3:30; in the second, I wanted sub-3:00 and finished in 3:22, with a halfway split of 1:28!

However, this one was a totally different story. I had put in more than 1,000 miles of training since the beginning of the year, so a fast time was achievable.

The first 10 miles passed fairly quickly and I paced them well (sticking to 5:55 pace which was my aim). I passed halfway in 1:17:48. Even at Mile 15, I felt great, was still on pace and was really enjoying the amazing support from the crowds.

By Mile 18 I started to feel my legs getting heavier, but I could still run at the pace I wanted to. I think the wall hit me at 20.5 miles. It got progressively worse as I got closer to the finish. My muscles were screaming in pain, my vision was completely blurred (and flickering strangely) and my hands were tingly and numb! To top it all off, I was feeling extremely nauseous. I forced myself not to stop and walk as that was the one of the main changes I wanted to make from my last two marathons.

I remember turning the corner, seeing the finish ahead and trying to speed up. But I stumbled and nearly fell as my legs just wouldn't move. I crossed the line to my enormous relief in 2:39:26 (my aim was sub-2:45) which was a PB by 43 minutes! I half collapsed and had to be looked after by a first aid team for nearly an hour until I 'recovered'. However, I did get an amazing massage!

All in all, I'm not sure if the amount of pain I went through was worth it, but it's amazing how quickly the mind forgets what happened. I told myself, "never again", but now I'm not so sure. In fact, that's exactly what I told myself after the last two! I find the addictive nature of running marathons bizarre - do we just forget all the pain we went through, or do the good feelings afterwards outweigh the hurt?

I'm very happy with my time and couldn't believe it when told I was the quickest out of all the 18-21 year olds. This was really an incredible day. Congratulations to the 36,523 others who completed the race!

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My VLM 2010: Unicorn (3:00.18)

sub-3:00, PB

Discuss this article

What a mature report from one so young.  I found your thoughts on the mind forgetting the pain very interesting.  For me like forgetting the pains of labour.  I know exactly what you mean though.  As I got to mile 24 and saw my family on the side cheering me on I thought 'now I've achieved sub 4 and my family have seen me I don't need to do it agian.'  48 hours later I'm thinking 'now I've knocked 13 mins off my time it is possible to knock a furhter 12 off and achieve 3.45.'  Are we ever happy???
Posted: 30/04/2010 at 21:49

Well done Sarah.  Do you run for PFR? 

In answer to your question I think in the early days of running there is a constant need to get better, or at least there was for me.  Eventually you get to the stage where you're happy to maintain a certain level of fitness

Posted: 01/05/2010 at 21:10

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