A little over four months ago I ran my first marathon – Manchester Marathon. I’ve talked about this a lot on instagram, but not on here and since we’re approaching marathon season again in the autumn, maybe sharing my marathon recap can help others settle some nerves. Or maybe we can just have a moment to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. Marathon training is no easy feat!
3 April 2022 – the morning of the marathon. I woke up feeling nervous. I knew I would, I always get pre-race nerves though I should say now that I never aimed to ‘race’ the marathon in that sense. Just completing my first marathon would be an achievement in itself as it should be for anyone!
I had a few issues first thing, the main one being that I got my timings all wrong and exploded porridge all over the microwave. Eek. This meant I didn’t get as much porridge as I’d usually have before a long run, but figured I’d make the best of it. Carb loading had gone well in the lead up so I wasn’t about to loose my cool and worry I wasn’t fuelled enough. I’d had ginger tea to settle my stomach a little too. Marathon nerves are real!
I planned out what to wear and tested this on some long training runs. I’d highly recommend you do too, whether it’s your first marathon or your tenth.
Quickly running through my kit here:
- My Sunderland Harriers club vest, Nike sports bra – a comfy one I’d trained in.
- On Sprinter Shorts ( I ordered these a few weeks before) and I tested them out on training runs too, including a 20 miler. I ordered them for the amount of pockets they offered, knowing I didn’t want to run with a flipbelt. I managed to fit 4 Maurten gels, a pack of clif bloks and my iPhone in these without any issue.
- Sleeves were a good addition as the forecast was to be quite chilly in the morning. I knew if I warmed up I could fit them in one of my pockets. Easy.
- Shoe of choice – the Nike Vaporfly. Again tested on a couple of training runs – and suitably cleaned after one of those when I got a bloody toe. Reminder: always cut your toenails before a long run. Always.
- Socks not in the flatlay but you’ll see in photos below – mint green Hexxee pair.
- Sunglasses – Goodr pair, a firm favourite.
Getting to the start line
We got off the tram and walked down the finish straight to get to the bag drop / start area. Just knowing that in a few hours I’d be running down there (hopefully) about to complete my first marathon was exciting. Nearly had a little cry, but didn’t. Probably because I was with other people – had I made the journey alone, could’ve been a different story. Once I’d dropped my bag, had a banana and a quick toilet trip I headed round to the start line. This time, seeing the finish was exciting. The nerves had gone at this point and I couldn’t wait to get going.
And we’re off!
Mile 1-3: wow my legs feel fresh but I don’t want to get carried away going too quick, stick to 8:20 pace.
Mile 4-6: Running through the city centre is fun, so many people out! I got distracted with my thoughts – ooh I haven’t been here in so long, there’s a nice coffee spot along Deansgate, ooh there’s a Pinarello store must tell Dad I spotted that. Oh mile 5, time for my first Maurten energy gel.
Mile 6-7: Do I need a wee? I feel like I do… hmm, I went before I started though so surely not. Oh why am I not running a half marathon? I like that distance. This feels a bit lonely. No come on Tasha, you can do this.
Mile 8-9: No I definitely do. That’s fine, next portaloo that doesn’t have a queue I’ll run in and out. Sorted. Lost a minute I think but I’ll not worry about that. Kept my watch going, no pausing here so I then can accurately track timings.
Mile 10: Yep that’s better, glad I went. Ooh time for another gel already? Oh there’s some music here under the bridge, nice!
Mile 11 – 12: Wow some of these supporters are really encouraging, loving the shout outs, or are they shouting at another Tasha? Oh no, one said go on Sunderland so that’s definitely me.
Mile 13: If this was a half marathon I’d be finishing soon, hmm. No, stop that. You’ve got this, just keep running.
Mile 14-15: Is that hail? What on earth… glad I’ve got my No Club Running Club sleeves on. Ooh gel time again. (should add here, the hail lasted about a minute but was somewhat unexpected)
Mile 16-18: Okay Altrincham isn’t quite as flat… wow someone really just shouted for me, thank you! Support and shouts along the way really do help, whether you can read someone’s name on their bib number or just generic ‘go on’ etc.
Mile 19-20: My legs feel a bit tired, but I’ve got to push through it. Okay last gel, then if I need to I move onto Clif Bloks.
Somewhere around 20- 21 I remember getting a shout from Alan from No Club Running Club – if you’ve not checked them out I recommend you do, running gear that’s a bit different! Always good to support a small business too. The encouragement was just what I needed. I felt like my pace had dropped and figured I’d take a mile to reset.
Mile 22: Right, focus. 4 miles to go, even at 9 min pace I was going to get close to 3:45 – which was my secondary goal if everything went well on the day, the stars aligned etc etc. Pressure is off.
Mile 23: Omg I’ve never ran this far before. I nearly cry. I’m emotional about what I’m about to achieve and thinking about the family members we’ve lost who I won’t be able to share the news with. Okay need to calm down as I can’t run with a lump in my throat. Basically a parkrun to go, come on.
Mile 24: Back on track with goal pace and I feel like I’m gliding along. Glance at my watch, we’re going sub 3:45. How does this feel okay? Hang on I’m speeding up. Keep going.
Mile 26: THE FINAL MILE MARKER and I feel like I’m flying towards the finish straight with this burst of energy that suddenly kicked in somewhere in mile 24. I’m trying to take everything in. I’ve done it. I’ve actually done it. I’m going to cry.
26.2 I cross the finish line. I’m filling up. Oh there’s my medal. Okay I’m crying now. Wow, I’ve done it. I’ve ran a bloody marathon. My finish time – 3:42:35!
What about after?
Well, my legs were sore. Especially my right hip flexor but I tried to keep walking around for a bit and made a beeline for the merch tent to buy my Manchester Marathon hoody. I felt like it would be bad luck to buy beforehand even though you could pre order online. Necessary merch acquired, I ate some chips and a protein bar. I also enjoyed a can of alcohol free Erdinger – and of course posed for a photo with my hoody and medal. I found I had a wonderful sleep that night, then the stairs were tricky for a few days afterwards. Going down any stairs should be approached with caution and a sideways method might be helpful for you. It was for me! As was telling everyone I’d ran a marathon and soaking it all in. Oh and a spa trip is a wonderful way to recover.
Would I do it again? Immediately afterwards I wasn’t so sure… Now, maybe!