I’ve just run the London Marathon, yes the actual London Marathon all 26.2 miles of it from Greenwich to the Mall in 4 hours and 13 minutes. I ran the entire way and didn’t stop or walk, even with the most horrific cramp, which reared its ugly head around mile 17 and by mile 20 it was pretty excruciating. In fact it felt at one point like I wasn’t running at all as my pace had slowed right down, although my times show I was only running about a minute slower from when I started.
By Sunday evening I had already received many texts, messages, and social media posts from friends and family who had wished me good luck. Those who had been tracking me throughout the race on the London Marathon app had posted congratulatory messages, so I posted on Facebook a picture of me completing the race. As it was a charity place, I also wanted to say a big thank you to the generosity of those who had donated helping me to raise a huge amount of over £1500 for Disability Rights UK.
Many friends and family commented to say I was an inspiration, which seemed to me to be an unbefitting compliment, as I really didn’t feel like an inspirational individual at all. Looking up the definition of being inspired it says: “Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative” – Oxford Dictionary. Perhaps then I do understand on that Sunday I may have inspired a friend to go and workout, go for a run or sign up to do a race of their own, maybe not a marathon but a fun run or a 5K or 10K race.
However I always think of inspirational individuals as those people we read about in the news, political figures fighting for great causes, those who carry out life-saving activities and undertake the toughest journey to change lives for the better, for themselves and others. I just don’t see this girl from Derbyshire in the same league!
What amazes me about the London Marathon is how it brings together the elite athletes racing alongside your everyday amateur runners. Some of those runners are chasing personal bests, some want to lose weight and become a fitter and healthier version of themselves, but it’s the runners who have overcome adversity raising staggering amounts of money for causes dear to their hearts who I see as an inspirational. Even more heartbreaking to read about is the stories of those runners who don’t make it to the finish line, through sheer exhaustion and injury, or in the tragic case of Captain David Seath who collapsed 3 miles from the finish and later died in hospital.
What they don’t prepare you for – which isn my eyes is the hardest part – is the come-down post race. The aftermath of 16 long hard weeks of training, strict eating plans and cross training sessions.
You’ve sacrificed so much of your life during this period; focusing on the goal you have set yourself and your charity, your commitment level is 110%. Once the race is over you are left on a huge celebratory high (definitely a few tears at the finish) and a sense of pride. But now the adrenaline has left my body I’ve been feeling a little lost and empty, not only do I have sore legs, stiff shoulders and aching back but I’ve been left with a case of the marathon blues.
I genuinely think this is why I don’t feel very inspirational at the moment as I’m still reflecting on the journey I’ve been on. I have another fitness goal in the pipeline and exciting projects to look forward to, but I think it’s healthy over the coming weeks – as my exhaustion disappears and life returns to normal – to take time to appreciate the achievement that my fellow 39000+ runners and I went through. Then I think I will finally appreciate my strength and determination of character and it’s inspirational quality to others.