26.2 Things I Learnt From My First Marathon

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1. Gels are gross, whoever says they’re nice is a downright liar.

2. You’ll need to pee. A lot.

3. That even if you are last or first that medal will still feel wondrously heavy round your neck.

4. Drink stations are more like watery gauntlets. One bottle of water held out by a volunteer, four runners heading towards it, let the fight commence.

5. Having your name on your shirt is the closest you might ever get to feeling like a celebrity.

6. That gel-like substance the medical staff have on their fingers is vaseline, do not try and eat it off their fingers. It’s creepy and tastes just as bad as regular gels.

7. Never ever wear something you haven’t worn lots of time before. It will come back to bite you on the ass or rather chafe you on the nipples.

8. There is no shame in walking.

9. Getting overtaken by someone in fancy dress is hilariously demoralising. Bloody Minons, stupid Spiderman, holy crap is that a man with a washing machine on his back?

10. Everyone running has their own amazing story so at the start line, or during the race if you’re feeling chatty, ask people for theirs.

11. Accepting candy from strangers is not only ok, it’s encouraged.

12. If you have a beer at the end you will get drunk. Fast.

13. Losing a toenail is a badge of honour, a painfully ugly badge that you should never ever get out in public.

14. Prepare for your mind to take you to places you didn’t want to think about while running; “remember that time when you were 16 and got turned down by a girl you fancied? Lets think about that for a few miles”.

15. Sleeping well in the lead up to a race is just as important as hydrating.

16. When you pass any fast food joint, it will smell incredible. Tempting and incredible.

17. Work on your race face for the photographers. No one likes a weird grin and flailing limbs on their mantle piece.

18. Trust in your training, the start line of the marathon is your victory lap after months of training. Go out and enjoy it.

19. Try not to get a song stuck in your head. It will stay there. “Wake me up before you go-go” Damn it Wham!

20. Work on your pacing and trust in it but most importantly don’t beat yourself up if you fall from it.

21. Read the signs people have made, they will make you smile. My favourite: “Slow down I’m trying to count everyone”.

22. Visualise finishing and that medal round your neck. It’s coming.

23. If you try and high five someone and miss, it will feel like the most awkward thing you’ve ever done.

24. Trying to do maths while running is damn near impossible; “11 minutes over the next two miles followed by 10 minutes over the next three I will finish in….4 days?!”

25. You always used to think that people wearing the foil capes after the race look ridiculous, until you get one wrapped around you and you feel like Superman’s tin-foiled cousin.

26. As soon as you’ve finished, you’ll never want to run again. Vowing to eat drink and be merry until you look like you’ve completed an eating marathon rather than a running one.

26.2 You’ll think that until you’ve stopped walking like an elderly duck and groaning when you stand up like your great uncle, then you’ll book in for another.

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See what I mean about prepare your race face!

Miles Left to Run: 695
NEXT RACE: Copenhagen Marathon 22nd May (THIS WEEKEND!)

Three Song Playlist

Keaton Henson – Lying to You

Laurel – San Francisco

Adam French – The Optimist

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