Start Me Up (6 hour Timed Challenge) – 6.1.19

I am currently trying to write this run report as I marinate in a rather fragrant Acai Berry Bath Salts, Radox Sage and Sea Salt and Sainsbury’s ginsing black pepper bubble bath.  They all claim different effects to ease tired muscles so after today’s Marathon I am trying the lot!

Today, I ran on my own.  Much to Mary’s disappointment at me leaving her out – as her coach I decided that to hope for good weather and risk her lungs two weeks in a row probably wasn’t for the best.  Although it wasn’t bitterly cold there was certainly a chill wind that gusted over the exposed parts of the cycle track so it probably was for the best.

Having tackled the same course before I was under no illusions about what to expect – 14 – 1.871mile laps around the fully tarmacked undulating course to log another Marathon to the tally.

My kit bag was virtually untouched from the last marathon I did 10 days ago, so after charging my headphones and MP3 player, my kit was sorted.  I just needed to play ‘find my clothes’. Mary might have been upset at me for not letting her run but like the angel she is, my clothes were soon ready.

At 6:30 like a ninja in the dark I slid out of the house to drive to Hillingdon.  At that time in the morning the M40 was bliss. Cruise control on 70 and with Good Morning Sunday playing on the radio I arrived in plenty of time to use the facilities and collect my number.


I am not a superstitious person. Well…only apart from lake swimming when I have to have an odd numbered band or I won’t swim. Unless it is 2 as I love prime numbers and they make sure the fish don’t eat your drowning body – I may not be that superstitious but I do have an active imagination!

But upon being given 13 and then told, ‘I hope you’re not superstitious!’ My mind was whirling with what might happen. Given all my marathon mishaps and being told by Mary the night before, ‘Under no circumstances collapse this time as no one can drive you home after’,  I was slightly apprehensive especially since Mary was holding my life insurance policy as she tidied up from my attempt at finding my clothes.

In the world of cycling any rider given 13 wears it upside down to counteract the negative energy.  Well, as we were on a cycling track it seemed a good idea…

As a large group of Polish runners posed for group selfies I placed my own water bottle with electrolytes and 3 gels elastic banded to the bottle on the runners table.  This was to supplement the amazing aid station – a new hydration strategy… get me learning from disasters (only taken 5 incidents) – I was ready to go.

Shortly after 9 we started…

My legs felt like lead!  Maybe racing Nicholas at a hilly trail parkrun wasn’t a great idea.  Or maybe it was the bulk buying (and consumption) of lindor chocolates in the sales.  Or Mary had again shrunk my Mr Bump top.

After the first lap I decided that this marathon wasn’t for me.  But as I would have travelled 3 hours to get here I had better run 10 miles… I adopted a wall run strategy from the 2nd lap.  Walk the up slopes (much later hills), run the flat and downhills.

The track was certainly improved with the addition of music even if some choices on the MP3 player were highly questionable.  Being able to chat and greet passing runners soon had the laps passing – I would even go as far as to say relatively effortlessly for a 18 ½ stone runner lacking some fitness.

In fact watching the planes arrive and leave I was taken by surprise when at the lap end aid station I was told I had done 7 laps.  

I checked my watch!  Yep! 13.2 miles and the time was better than any half I have done for ages.  At this point I decided to go on. I had plenty of time to walk the rest and manage 13 laps before the 6 hour cut off so I could complete a 14th and last lap to get my marathon.  But I didn’t stop running (Well Jeffing).

Lap 8 signalled the start of the gels – 8, 10 & 12 to replenish lost salt with water and on the odd laps taking a swig of my electrolytes with the odd treat from the aid station – Turkish Delight*!

As last four laps approach I realised that I was on for a season’s best time.

Squeezing out a raspberry ripple torq gel – a genuine treat – I marched up the hill.  By the time I was running again it dawned on me. This was my first marathon of the year, a whole new season. Doh.  

Then disaster hit! Maybe not to my usual standard but running on Bluetooth had eaten the power of my MP3 player!  Ditching the extra weight on the lap turn (I don’t need to be held back by extra weight!) I grabbed a cup of coke and kept going.

The effect of the coke was slightly detrimental to my running as I started to resemble Mr Bump even more with a massive bulging tummy – and it started fairly amply.  

Every step seemed to inflate me more. I was like some human foot pump!  Despite a rather large burp my gut gurgled away. No more coke during races!

The joy of out and back lap marathons is the social element and encouragement of your fellow runners no matter how many marathons they have done 0 – 754!

Heading down the final hill I decided that although my PB was gone I could log a respectable first marathon time.

Collecting medal and a 6 item create your own goodie bag – worthy of the name,  I chatted to those around me. The cheery Polish group of runners who I found out were from an internet group decided to come and meet up some for the first time and race.  A few runners I have met before on various races.

After getting ready to go home I started to input my marathon into my now vetted and approved 100 marathon club spreadsheet. Yes this week I became a spicegirl… Okay a ‘Wannabe’ or associate member.

Looking back over the result to Liverpool my PB, where I did require some medal treatment after due to loss of salt, I saw the the time.  I checked my watch, then ran out to check the screen…

My year’s running goal achieved on the 6th January! Result. PB.




*Although totally delicious Turkish Delight will not be on the Kenilworth 10 miler training run as it would be eaten by me as I set up our aid station so you will just have to manage with cake, sausage rolls, crisp sweets and flat coke. Sorry.