So here I am, writing about my first DNF rather than my Southampton Marathon race report.
Training had gone really well the last few weeks and although I wasn’t going for my original target of sub 4 due to missing a few weeks of training back in March for various reasons, I was ready to have an easy pace run around the course. Unfortunately, 4 days before Sunday’s (yesterday) race, I caught a cold and soar throat (Man’s flu as some people like to call it). It got worst up to race day and Saturday evening, while putting together my race kit, I was wondering if it was wise to start.
Race day morning, I didn’t feel better but was exciting about a race I had been waiting and trained for. This was the day to race my local Marathon and the first Marathon in Southampton since the 80’s. While getting ready and having breakfast, my determination to run increased by the minute and suddenly felt better. so I thought!
After a free bus ride into town, given to all runners who shown their race numbers, I got to the race village just over an hour before race start time. Met with other #ukrunchat runners for the first time, saw my mate Andy then it was time to get ready. I met with work colleague Georgia and we decided to run together as it was her first Marathon. Nothing worst than running your first 26.2 miles on your own, especially if it can be avoided.
9am. Off we went, Georgia and I towards the end of the pack, looking to run around 10m/m. As always, in races, we went off quicker and stayed at 9.20m/m for the first few miles. As soon as we went, my body and mind reminded me I was unwell. I didn’t feel great but ok. Then at mile 4, I let Georgia go ahead and I slowed down to around 10m/m. Up to Mile 10, my running actually felt good, technically running really well but I started coughing! And from then on, it went downhill. My sinuses were burning and my coughs felt like being punched hard in the lungs. The sun also came out and it became very hot on the tarmac. It was time to make a decision. Do I stop or continue? Run/walk for probably another 2h30 and potentially make myself go in a dangerous situation.
The decision was made and I believe to be the right one. At the start of the second lap, at mile 14, I stopped. Walked back to the race village, got my bag and enjoyed a nice bottle of water before going home. I am so pleased I stopped. I shouldn’t have been at the start line but I am glad I did, otherwise I might have regretted not giving it a go.
“Listen to your body” is the best advise to any runner
I am so grateful for all the messages I received on Facebook and Twitter. The running community is truly an amazing example of support. And thank you to Nurishment Activ for your continued support.
A big congratulations to Georgia who finished in 4:40 and to Andy who finished in sub 3:30! Both in their first marathon. Great running guys! Georgia, sorry I couldn’t carry on with you.
Now its time to get better and get back out there. I’m not bitter about yesterday at all. These things happen and I have plenty more Marathons in me. Next race, Southampton Athletic club 10k road race. BRING IT ON!