Funny observations from the marathon:
1. The Grappler: There are various points along the course where volunteers dish out cups of water and sachets of energy gel. They held out handfuls of gels so we could take what we wanted and stuff them in our pockets. This is the weird thing. Everyone in front of me would run past the gel guy and grab as much as they could - without stopping. Of course, some fell on the floor and the runner didn't grab the amount he/she wanted, but instead of stopping to rectify this situation, he/she would instead grapple wildly with hands *whilst still running* to try to paw more gels. Obviously, by this time, the runner had ran past the gel guy but still kept his outstretched arm suspended behind him, with grabby flailing fingers - in reach of more gels. Just stop and take the gels man.
2. Poo Queue: Most chaps went to the toilet in hedges/grass verges etc. There weren't many toilets on the course so it made sense. Therefore, if you had the misfortune to need to use the Portaloo whilst running and you had the double misfortune to be queuing behind a male then you could be sure that you had the triple misfortune of knowing he would be having a poo and you will be in the right after him.
3. Gel Hell: There is a theory that energy gels add crucial sugars and carbohydrates to your system in a concentrated vital dose so that you may benefit from quick energy over a long distance run. This is one of these theories that I believe to be, not only true, but abused by the majority. We all know the rules about the timings, the "brand" trials in your training runs and the quantities which one should consume. The funny thing about race day is that everyone is in a panic and over eggs their energy reserves by slurping down vast quantities of this gruesome citrus drool as to avoid flagging by Mile 4. I did this. My Mile 13 I had consumed 6 gels. By Mile 14, I noticed. See below.
4. Spew-Spot: At halfway, my stomach felt odd. Like, painful. I'd eaten too many of these rotten gels. I'd only ever had 2 in any training run. I felt like a walking pick 'n' mix. Unfortunately for me, I was located in the busiest part of the race for spectators. I scanned the street for a secluded intimate spot for a hurl. I knew that it would come if I wanted it to or not and I rather fancied making myself do it in a location of my choice rather than it arriving at its own free will, in projectile form, at an undesired point of the race (in front of the photo guy, the water boy, or a child bearing Haribo). I couldn't find a vomit point anyway so I decided to slow down, have some water and not have any gels for a while.
5. Cruddy Buddy: I get that running with a pal is cool and chewing the fat whilst pursuing your running dream is awesome. But it's really hard to get past you guys if I am running a tad quicker than you and you are taking up all the fucking space.
6. Not you, him!: It's one of the ultimate faux-pax. The support around the route is brill. People are shouting your name (except for Zoe Ball, who shouted "Go On Jeff" at me) and their children are giving me some skin for a high-5. The crowd are rooting for you and your sore feet, your aspirations, your plight. It's so charitable - I'm a complete stranger and they want me to succeed. One lady and her little one was waving so madly at me, camera poised, leaning over to pat me on the back, a beaming smile on her face. She was so very encouraging. I reciprocated the goodwill and held my arms aloft, mouthing "thank you, thank you!" at her whilst making mock-grimaces about the amount of pain I was in. Anyway, she wasn't even doing this for me, she was doing it for her husband behind me. I felt like a right dick.
7. I can't get no sleep: It's no laughing matter, not sleeping. Especially when you are so freakin' tired but cannot drop off. There are lots of tried and tested methods of falling sound asleep - some more orthodox than others - and when you have exhausted (ha!) all possibilities your race is in 7 hours, then it truly is a sad situation indeed. Such was my scenario on Saturday night that I even considered suffocating myself with a blanket with the aim that when I eventually passed out, some air would have filtered into my mouth so I would not die but would be instead be asleep. I didn't do this on the basis that if it went wrong, it would put a bit of a dampener on my room mate's weekend.
8. "So take a look at me noooww...: here's a slither of positivity. The marathon run was an Against All Odds achievement. There was no way I should have been able to do that based on how poorly and knackered I was that day. I'm afraid of sounding all dicky and brazen, but if you, reader, are ever in a right jam and don't think you can make it- think of this. The human body can pull the impossible out of the bag. Even for 5-and-a-half hours.
9. I want to break free: One of the biggest fears about running long distance is needing a poo which, when your stomach has been bounced up and down for 2hours, resembles a poisonous vat of boiling acid pebbledash and you still feel ropey after having done it. Like it stained your tummy.
10. "I just met you, and this is crazy":Imagine one of these old black and white movies where 2 loved ones are romantically reunited on a train station platform. They run to each other in a love-fuelled ecstasy and sweep each other up in their arms in a beautiful embrace. That's what happens when you spot someone in a race who you have met twice before and only know their first name.
11. Dead-man walking: When you take your trainers off after a marathon, your feet look the trotters of a dead person. My feet were grey and wet. I just needed a little white label hanging off my little toe with J.BALDRY typed on it.
12. The beer afterwards doesn't taste as nice as you would think it does. And all the signs telling you that you can have cake at the end aren't that motivating. Nobody thinks of cake when their stomach is a pile of grated cheese in their abdomen.
13. Fair weather friend: Even the hardest of atheists must surely mutter a holy plea at Mile 21. There's nothing like a long race that kickstarts my usually sporadic faith in the Big Man.
14. Are you there?: Similarly, you can also have a nice chat to love ones who are not alive anymore. I felt very close to my Nan that day.
15. Star signs: Amongst the good and bad of Motivational Signs. Good: Hit this to power up! We are so proud of you! Thank you for running Brighton! Bad: You are nearly there! (Fuck off you fuck. No I'm not), You are making it look easy! (I'm going to punch you in the face) and the ever-insulting Well Done! (I'm going to punch you too you dickwad).
16: Royal wave: the best thing I saw was a man/woman dressed as the Queen and waving people on with the Royal wave. It was brilliant.
17. The best bit by far wasn't actually crossing the finishing line. That was a bit of an anti-climax. There were 2 best bits actually. The first was heavenly technology alerting your loved ones of your progress and knowing they were following you with tears in their eyes. The second was when one of your running buddies sends you some photos the next day that you didn't know he had taken. And they are good ones. And you realise that what you did was really clever and you didn't dream it.
Sent from my iPhoneP