Da-da-da-da! Da-da-da-da-da! :P
I've had a rather lazy day, and eating like there's no tomorrow! This has been today's spectacular carb loading:
Breakfast: two bagels with cherry-berry jam, orange juice
Snack: Lucozade Lite
Lunch: 2 baked potatoes with salad, non-dairy spread and salt, orange juice
Snacks: 2 sultana scones, more Lucoade Lite, 1 apple, orange juice, grapes
Dinner will be pasta with tomato and brocolli sauce! More fruit, maybe some bread or another scone. More orange juice (have been told to drink loads of it!).
Next week's meal plan has no pasta whatsoever ;)
Yesterday I went out to the ExCEL centre to officially register for the race. I collected my race number, my timing chip and the "final instructions" and then had a mind-boggling wander through the expo. It was a runner's paradise!
Saw my mates at Lucozade, and was asked if I'd do a little Q&A with marathon coach Martin Yelling about my fitness journey - so much for sneaking in quietly ;) But it was lots of fun, even though there was some embarrassing microphone feedback to start with :P
Martin is such a lovely guy! His wife Liz is one of Britain's elite female marathon runners - she did the Reading half marathon in something like 69 minutes a few years ago. So impressive! I enjoyed meeting him :)
After the Q&A and putting my t-shirt in to be printed, I had some lunch at the Pasta Party - the meal deal was a portion of pasta with tomato and basil sauce, salad, bread, an apple and some water. I listened to some "last minute advice" that was being discussed on stage!
I wandered around a bit more among the stands - there were all sorts of wonderful things to look at and try out. I ended up getting an arm band to hold my phone and sports jelly beans, because I have trained with an armband with my iPod (of the multiple distance inaccuracies!). I was tempted by the Spibelt but was worried about not having trained with one. Next time!
A medal display I saw
I also chatted to people who were reps for other big marathons across the globe - one of them (Ray from the Loch Ness Marathon) gave me some advice for tomorrow. He said the start is the worst because it can take ages to get into a rhythm because it's so crowded - he said not to panic, and to not waste energy weaving in and out of the crowd, just to be patient and it would thin out and then I can make up the time then. Good advice I intend to heed.
"And you'll be coming to Loch Ness, aye?" he asked, in his delightful Scottish accent.
"Let's see how Sunday goes first!" I replied.
Then finally I headed off to beat the tubes at peak hour, and this was my farewell:
A little shiver ran down my spine!
And I got my shirt printed with my name on the front:
I decided to go with Philippa rather than Phil because I didn't want people thinking I was a strange looking man
I had something put on the back too. I was thinking about putting This seemed like a good idea 3 months ago which I'd seen on a marathoner's shirt last year and thought was hilarious ;) But in the end, I took inspiration from a shirt I saw at the Reading Half Marathon and went with this:
As pukey as it sounds, I do run to celebrate life. Because I used to have a life in which I could not run, and the little I had achieved with myself at that point was not really worth celebrating. I hate to think where I might be if I hadn't decided that things needed to change. If I hadn't decided that I wanted a life worth celebrating.
Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for this journey, every part of it, even the not so nice parts. They were character building. I am grateful for my health, to have a healthy, vibrant and working body that can endure just about everything I throw at it, and to have the love and unconditional support of my friends, my family and my husband.
I got a bit emotional today while putting out my race kit. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and the person I used to be flashed before my eyes, and in her place was me, a person who is fit, healthy and happy. I'm fit enough to attempt running a marathon. I truly never thought I could do this, be this. I'm just an ordinary person, trying to live an extraordinary life.
This is the most amazing opportunity, one that some people wait their entire lives for. It never occured to me to take the easy way out and said "no, 12 weeks isn't much to train for a marathon, do it next year instead." I've done my very, very best over the last three months, with support from Lucoazde and from Julia my coach, and when I look back there isn't a single occasion where I think I could have tried harder. I have given this my all.
I feel calm, I feel excited, I feel incredibly pumped. I'm well fuelled, I'm organised, I have a plan for fuelling and hydrating and pacing for tomorrow. I just want to do it now!!!
As for time - I'd be stoked if I could do it in under 5 hours. But I'm not going to pressure myself, I just want to get over the line. I just want to be a marathoner.
And I don't know if I'll ever get to do it again, so I intend to enjoy and savour every minute. I will celebrate it, the way I celebrate life. Because life is wonderful, when you decide to start living it.
Thank you so much to all of you, for believing in me, and supporting me, and just for reading this.
See you at the finish line :)