A little late but here is what I (Kylie Babez) wrote on the plane to Thailand (I had had a few celebratory beers so apologies for any mistakes!)…
After missing Rotterdam Marathon in 2015 due to last minute injury, I never thought I would ever complete a marathon. What made it worse, Debbie only wanted to do Rotterdam as I was doing it and as we (including my parents) had already bought flights, entry and accommodation, my role was being the cheerleader for Debzie (it didn’t work!)
Anyway, my fortune turned and I managed to complete one now so a quick recap on how I got there…
Specific mara training started in January, which prior to that, I had a stable base of around 65/70 miles per week leading into the new year. My coach Lewis began giving me specific marathon sessions varying some brutal marathon paced sessions in the weekend and some long tempo/intervals during the week. Most of the other training runs were easy recovery runs and other bits and bobs depending on where I was at with my programme.
I took part in the nationals in February and despite my placing not being my best, I was reassured it can be difficult to do well at shorter distances on marathon training legs. I also ran the Garioch half marathon in March in 70 minutes, but was ordered to do 6 miles steady (in 36 mins) beforehand with a little break in between.
Mileage leading up to London reached an average of 95 miles per week.
Onto the race itself! We stayed at my cousin Vicky’s place which also meant I got to see my godson, Charlie and his wee sister Belle (and daddy Rob of course!).
The morning of the race, I kept the brekky simple and went for porridge, peanut butter and bananas (and a couple of Jaffa cakes nearer the start time of the race).
I left to go to the start and that’s where I met my mum and dad. We went for a coffee (also to collect my new race top since my forres harriers vest looks more like one Rab C Nesbitt would wear).
Then, it was off to the start line! As I was in the championship pen, we had our very own changing rooms and drop off lorry, accompanied by some free water which made the race preparation that little bit easier.
We were directed to the start line 20 minutes before the start, and I managed to get right to the front of my pen, making it much easier for an easy run through in the first mile. Just before the gun went, Tim Peake was blasted on the screen to start the race off which was made it slightly more unique!
I also managed to give my running pal, Robbie Simpson a wave, who secured an elite spot as he was looking for an Olympic qualifying time for Rio!
The gun went off, and I started off very steady, as directed by my coach Lewis. The aim was to go out in 5.30 pace, and assess how that feels later on in the race. That strategy kind of went to plan and I was I’m fact hitting 5.26ish for the first half of the race. The day was quite windy so getting into a group was key…it was either stay at 5.30 per mile with the worry of dropping off and running alone or going a little faster and working efficiently with the group. I chose the latter until I reached the halfway point.
I got to the halfway point around 71 minutes, and felt fantastic! So much so, I decided to drop the group I was with, (which had last years Scottish Marathon champion) and aim to the group ahead. With a couple of gels in me, I started picking the pace up and was hitting low to mid 5.20’s per mile and realised the groups I were chasing were starting to wean out and were going slower than the pace I wanted to run.
I then saw Debbie, Vicky and Lucy around the mile 18 mark, which at that point I was still feeling good enough to throw my arms in the air like a baboon.
It was around the mile 20 point where I ran past Olympian, Craig Mottram, who was obviously having a bad race. I was whizzing past a few athletes who looked as if they had burnt out. It was also at this point where I believed I was on for a low 2.20 marathon even if I was to drop a few seconds per mile.
The crowds throughout the race were electric and at times, I had to slow myself down to avoid doing a silly mile! My mum and dad were around the mile 21 mark and that felt special knowing they were there to hopefully share my first marathon in a decent time.
I was still going strong until I reached mile 22, and that’s where the legs started feeling like they were running through treacle and my pace dropped to 5.45 per mile. I now know what hitting a wall kind of feels like, but again the crowds gave me a few seconds boost. By this point I was desperate for another gel.
By mile 23 the pace started creeping into 6 minute miles, something which felt completely alien to me in a race and I knew it was now all about damage limitation and mental strength. The low 2.20 mark was now slowly becoming out of sight and my new goal was just to run as hard as my body could go.
At mile 25, last years Scottish Marathon champ whizzed past me and left me at a standstill, taking 90 seconds out of me in the last stage! I started seeing flickering lights and could see what I thought was the finishing line….until I noticed people turning the corner to another long stretch to the finish line!
I thought I did a sprint finish, but to others it probably looked like a fast jog!
As I approached the finish line, a couple of guys passed me but I had absolutely nothing left. I started putting my hands up for joy when I got to the line in 2 hours 25 minutes and 23 seconds!
I then fell over at the finish line with exhaustion, reassured that I had nothing left in the tank. I started getting slightly emotional. It was only then I realised I had another 1km to walk to meeting point ‘F’ (stands for “thank ‘ F’ it’s over!”) to meet my family.
20 minutes later (you can do the math over that 1km!), I finally reached the meeting point and was jumped on by a snotty and tearful Debzie babez and Vicky, who I was told was telling everyone within a 2 mile radius that her cousin just came 28th! About 10 mins later, my mum and dad arrived who were delighted with my result. I was also startled to see my cousin Daniel who lives not far from London, keeping it a secret that he was coming to watch me!
We then just hung out like pimps until some of our friends finished the marathon – a literally blue and salty Paul Rogan hobbled over and absolutely smashed his PB by 8 minutes in 2 hours 41! A happy Callum came over after nailing a sub 3 even after all his ultra marathons in the last few weeks! A not so happy Wayne came over as he blew up at mile 15 and started getting a lot of stick form his army pals on his phone.
It was time to head to the pub for a few beers and prosecco (and enough burgers to feed the entire city!)…the walk was a painful mile away but well worth the effort as we met some of our pals including Fiona and Tom.
After a couple of hours, it was time to head back and jet off to Thailand for two weeks of no training and lots of eating with my tanned goddess while I burn and peel…she will have to train as she has a few big races coming up though!
New goals now…I have no idea! If anyone has any suggestions let me know!
Thanks again for all your support, especially my coach Lewis, who has given me a great foundation for my first marathon and of course Debzie babez and my family and friends….