Monday, April 27, 2015

3 marathons in 4 days part i)

St. George's Day marathon

I was very excited to be taking part in this event as I'd seen photos of it last year and it looked tremendous fun - dressing up, running by the sea for a few hours and then getting a medal being my idea of a jolly good day out!

But what should I wear? I searched for red and white things associated with St George's Day but I didn't want to wear anything with an image of a dragon being killed or anything that could be deemed to be racist in any way. Finally I found just the right thing which you'll see later on.

First I needed a cap and this cap from the Kent 50 back in 2007 was white once, before I started using as my gardening cap, so I decided to use it. Out came the trainer whitener which I applied using rubber gloves as it was rather messy procedure and it was really smelly until it dried.


Then I needed some nice red crochet to form a cross on the top. Tilly helped enormously by plonking herself on my chest which meant I had to crochet around her! I think she must have sensed that something was going on, bless her.

Then all I had to do was stitch it in place; not too firmly though as it had to be doctored the next evening for my 2nd marathon.

I went to sleep quickly but was awoken at 11pm by a vehicle outside with flashing lights and men wearing fluorescent jackets running up and down the lane flashing torches. As we live on a quiet country lane this was rather unusual. After about 5 minutes the vehicle with the flashing lights disappeared and we settled down again only to be disturbed by the same thing a few minutes later. They parked right outside our house and the flashing lights lit up the whole room. Then it got even worse as the men with the fluorescent jackets started to scrape the ground against something metallic, which we've now seen is some sort of drain cover, which must have been hidden in the undergrowth and their movement kept setting off our security lights so we had to turn them off. This nonsense went on until about 1am so when I got up at 4:30am to prepare for the marathon I wasn't feeling especially refreshed! 

Mike said the next day he had 2 phone calls from elderly neighbours along the lane who'd been very worried by the disturbance, poor things. One of them had even got his shotgun at the ready!

Here's my final outfit. The photo was taken at 5:30am just before I left to drive off to Deal for the marathon.

I'd worn vest and shorts as the forecast was for the weather to be warm later but when I arrived it was really cold and windy and I'd forgotten to pack a long-sleeved top just in case. Silly Susie. Thankfully I carry an emergency jacket in the boot, just in case I break down, which happens to be red and white so I wore that for the first couple of hours.

I managed to take a few photos before the camera refused to stop juddering and work at all, despite being shaken and shouted at!

View along the seafront

A show of red and white. There were several men wearing chainmail costumes and lots of flags too

Bonnie the dog chose the union flag to adorn her harness - she's doing her excited, please stroke me dance for me…….

…...whilst Caroline, her human, chose a child's dragon outfit together with her kilt
Can we go yet? Can I eat that?

Waiting patiently for my camera to stop shaking!

At the start there were the usual announcements and then we all sang Jerusalem to celebrate England and St. George

Then we were off and boy was that wind cold and strong. Brrrrrrr! It was exactly the same route as for my 39th marathon  last November so you get a feel for the place, but add a grey sky and some strong wind to get a feel for how it was onThursday.

I didn't have a specific finish time in mind and I wasn't going to push myself as this was just the first of 3 marathons so I set off at a comfortable pace and just pootled along. Well not quite pootling as there was a lot of head-down-into-the-wind going on until after a couple of hours the wind dropped and the sun came out whereupon I took my jacket off and caught the sun - with lovely lines across my legs where my shorts had reached and criss-cross marks on my back from my sports bra - how very attractive!

There were quite a few supporters out and about wearing red and white. We also got filmed by several people using their mobile phones. A convoy of tarmacking (sp?) wagons went past us twice and each time they beeped their horns and I saw one of the men filming us so we'll probably appear on You Tube.

So what kept my mind occupied as I couldn't take any photos? All sorts of things. The more I looked around me on each lap, the more things I spotted which only served to highlight how much I missed the camera! Shapes, patterns, colours, birds, people, smells, sounds were all around me. I watched my fellow runners, some running strongly, others forcing themselves onwards, all pushing themselves towards their own personal goals. At theses events there are many people who want to become members of the 100 marathon club and I've watched several people reach the magic number and realise their dream; what an amazing achievement.

I must mention that as it was a long drive to the venue and as I'd been up at 4:30am after little sleep I really hadn't felt like anything to eat first thing (naughty Susie!) and realised at the start that I'd left my drinks bottle at home (stupid Susie!) thus breaking all the rules of marathoning. Anyway there was a well-stocked aid station with water and juice to drink plus biscuits, cake and crisps etc.

After each lap I had some water and ate 2 crisps and 3 jammie dodgers (they're biscuits in case you haven't heard of them) during the course of the marathon so you could be forgiven if you thought my performance would suffer. On the contrary, I finished in 4:52:01 which is the first time I'd gone below 5 hours since the Kent Roadrunner marathon last year which I completed in 4:55:03. I was very pleased with that, although rather surprised. I suspect the faster time was partly because I wasn't stopping to take photos and just concentrated on running!

The super medal - photo pinched off Traviss's website

I headed home to fall into the bath, eat, celebrate with a glass of wine, catch up with Mike, decorate my cap anew and then head off to bed in readiness for another early start for marathon number 2 of 3.

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