Cheering everyone on in London

Sunday was of course, London marathon day.  Even my non-running friends knew what was taking place down in London at the weekend.

I headed down to support in person for the first time last year and loved the atmosphere and excitement of hunting people out in the crowds of runners.  Last year I headed down on the bus with Tom who had got himself a place in the ballot, and his sister.  This year, Tom decided that he wanted to see what the atmosphere was like from the other side of the barrier.  So, along with Kev, we caught an early train down from Wellingborough to St Pancras on Sunday morning.

Dan has always been the one to organise our travel.  In fact, when I went down to support last year he printed off maps, wrote down train times and highlighted tube lines for me beforehand!  This year I was on my own when it came to navigation.  Especially when both Tom and Kev confessed beforehand to not knowing how to book train tickets online and asking if I would book for the three of us!  I literally checked the date and times on the tickets repeatedly for days to make sure I hadn’t gotten anything wrong.  Luckily, we made it to London just as the wheelchairs were then setting off, so still with lots of time to spare to get to Tower Bridge, our first vantage point.

Tom and I split off from Kev here, who had decided to head straight towards the finish line.  We did point out that he would be enduring rather a long wait before he saw the first runners coming through!

So Tom and I caught the tube down to Tower Hill and then had to ask a policeman for directions to the bridge!  (I know…I just don’t visit London very often.  I don’t know where anything is!)  We arrived just as the wheelchairs were coming through, and headed a little way down the turning on the far side of the road to secure our spot before the elites made their way past.

When you see the elites go through it seems as though they are not going that fast to begin with.  Then you glance at their leg turnover, see how long their stride is, realise that they are ticking off every mile in less than five minutes…I could never even run one mile in that time, never mind continuously for 26 and a bit of them!

It’s generally fairly easy to spot our club runners at races as our luminous green vest can usually be picked out from a distance.  At London, with such a variety of charity vests and other tops, it is much, much harder to recognise our club vests in time though.

Last year I took just one photo of our runners out on the course.

Jon at London marathonJon is a sub three hour marathon runner and a good head height above most others, so even easier to spot than most.  Even then, I only just managed to get this one shot of him, with a supporter’s hand in the way.  As the volume of runners increased, it became impossible to take any more photos.  It was tough enough spotting runners before they reached us in time to shout encouragement out as they passed.  Therefore, I decided that this year I wouldn’t bother taking my camera and just concentrated on the cheering instead.

Tom and me were a good team though, and between us we managed to spot everybody from our list who had been wearing a Welly green vest and some of our club who were out running in their charity tops as well.  We definitely would not be able to spot as many as we did had it not been for the tracking system on the marathon website though.  Apparently the actual tracking app is only available for Apple users, but I heard several reports about it not really being very reliable both last year and this.

We stayed at the bridge for about two hours before heading back down onto the underground and popping back out again at St James’s Park.  We knew by this point (thanks to Twitter!) that the men’s race had been won in an almost world record time and I was eager to see find out how close it had been in the final stages.  As they had passed back in front of us at mile 18 on the course the front two runners were a long, long way ahead of the rest of the pack.

Kev was waiting for us by the ‘600m to the finish’ sign.  We heard him before we saw him.  Tom and I arrived in time to see the first of our runners go through, who then went on to run a 2:56:44.  Jon went by a few minutes later, another one of the guys from our club and then our first lady, Kelly, went by to finish in 3:12:42 for her marathon debut.  What a time!  She even ran a portion of the race with Dame Kelly Holmes, so made it onto TV for a few seconds as well.

Kelly and Kelly at the London marathonAfter Kelly came through it became more and more difficult to scan the crowds for our runners and we relied more and more on the website tracking to help us predict when runners would be coming through.  The crowd were amazing and so supportive of the runners out on the course.  Every time a runner slowed or broke into a walk, the crowd became deafening, urging them to continue for the final 600 metres of the race.

One older guy dropped down just infront of us with really bad cramp.  Immediately, another runner pulled over and without even exchanging words picked the guy’s leg up, pushing into it with his palm to try and relieve the pain.  He remained with him until two people near to us on the supporting side jumped the barrier and took over so that the selfless man could continue with his own race.  There were several runners who had teamed up to offer support either side of runners with failing legs and one guy was even picked up and carried in a fireman’s lift when his legs gave way completely.  It was amazing watching all of the fast runners storm past on their way to the finish line, but it was so humbling to see so many selfless people stop to check on the wellbeing of other runners so close to the end of their own race.

The weather just started to turn as the last of our runners came in to the finish and we felt a few drops of rain.  Time for pizza and to head home.  It’s pretty knackering supporting all day!  😉

London supporter

Now to spend the next few evenings catching up on the TV coverage through iPlayer…

Did you watch the London marathon this year?
If you attend a televised event, do you still turn around and watch it on TV afterwards?

Celebrating my 50th

So I finally became a member of the elusive  parkrun 50 club last weekend!

50 parkruns

I feel like I’ve been working towards number 50 for ages now. It’s not even a whole year of Saturdays though, and when I think about the fact that I fitted five parkruns into a week over Christmas it seems like I should have ticked my 50th run off ages ago!  I can’t even imagine how chuffed I will be when I reach the 50 marathon target on my way to 100 (currently sat on 16 marathon and above distances so still a fair way to get yet!)

Does anyone know when I will be able to claim my t-shirt though?  I logged into my parkrun account on Sunday and received this message…

50 parkrun tshirt

Hopefully soon, before my belly gets too big to wear it!

It was Northampton parkrun that I headed to on Saturday morning. I put a shoutout on my running club Facebook page to announce that I would be bringing cake along if anyone wanted to join me for the run or just come along and support.  I was a little nervous that either nobody would turn up from the club or everybody would and I would run out of cake!

Luckily the situation was neither scenario.  So, following an evening of cake decorating with my Mum the night before, I arrived super early to the car park, along with 30 parkrun decorated slices of chocolate traybake.

parkrun traybake cake

It was horrible drizzly weather outside but there was a good turnout from club, including some members who aren’t regular parkrunners. The lure of cake(!)  Our club membership secretary even turned up to take a couple of photos and he had made me a sign to hold.  I also got to hold his massive umbrella whilst under the sign.  Winner!50th parkrun in NorthamptonBecause the weather was so awful, I was yet to warm up and knowing that I would not be running particularly quickly I decided to keep my hoodie on during the run – something I never do!  Who can run in a hoodie?!…Turns out I can when I’m just heading out on an easy chatty run.

Several of the runners from club stuck together in a little group at the back and we had a long chat all the way round.  It was one of the most chilled out and enjoyable runs I’ve had in a long while!  One of the members was preparing for London marathon this coming weekend, another is planning an epic series of marathons across Iceland during the Summer and another I just hadn’t seen in a very long while!

50th parkrun in Northampton(I’m in the middle of the above photo wearing shorts and my hoodie!)

As I am no longer hiding my pregnancy, as and when people are asking about my race plans I am now letting them know the reason why I have no race plans for this year.  I’m not someone who feels like I have to announce my pregnancy to people amongst other things.  In fact, if I am friends with you in real life, you will probably spot that nothing has appeared on my personal Facebook regarding my pregnancy at all.  It would make me uncomfortable ‘announcing’ something or being very ‘me, me, me’ on Facebook.  I’ve really struggled to tell people at all to be honest – the hardest people to tell being my parents and also my boss.  I’ve found it marginally easier to mention the pregnancy on the blog, purely because I really want to talk about running and training through pregnancy and to have something to look back on from that respect.  I haven’t found a huge amount of bloggers who do continue to run any real amount of miles through their pregnancies so want to document my experiences of hopefully continuing to do so.

Anyway, one of the ladies I was running with on Saturday morning asked why I didn’t have a marathon booked in for this Spring, so I thought it only fair to tell the truth – that I was four months pregnant.  She went on to congratulate me, and so did two or three other runners around her who had also heard my admission!  As we went to scan our barcodes at the end, it came up in conversation with another runner as to why my times had been dropping.  Again, I shared my news and an older gentleman turned and said ‘But you beat me!…and you’re pregnant?!’  I laughed and said that it was still early days and that I was only four months pregnant.  He told me that the time I want to watch out for is when my future children start beating me at parkrun!

Mile 1: 11:28
Mile 2:
10:47
Mile 3: 10:25
Nubbin (0.17m): 9:35mm pace

A mouth full of cake alongside some of the cookies that Laura had made and it was time for a very wet photo!

50th parkrun in NorthamptonI always say it, but I do love my club and the level of support that they give.

Garmin time: 34:16
Official time: 34:17
Position: 289/368
Gender position: 94/149
Age category position: 15/22

As much as I’ve enjoyed having some very easy going and chatty parkruns just lately I think I might see what I can comfortably still run on my own next time, just to see where my fitness level is currently at.

How long did it take (or do you intend it to take!) for you to reach your 50th parkrun?
Do you take cake to events?!
Can you recommend any blogs with bloggers who continued to run throughout their pregnancy?

The first trimester

Firstly, – many, many thanks for all the lovely blog comments, messages I received on social media and even emails since posting my announcement at the start of the week.  I have been really touched at just how lovely everyone has been, offering loads of advice and best wishes for the months ahead.  And well done for all those who spotted the odd clue I’ve been dropping into various blog posts over the last few months! 😉  I’ve been told by those that knew that I have a ‘pregnancy face’ (fat face perhaps?!) and that the recent Peterborough parkrun photo I shared on my blog/Instagram shows off my pregnant belly and boobs…

Peterborough parkrun

(I was 12 weeks 4 days in this photo.)

Although I’ve never been a ‘baby’ person, (not interacting with my nieces and nephew until they were at the moving-around-on-their-own stage!) I am very much a child-friendly person, and Dan and I are both really looking forward to sharing everything we have with a little person sometime around the 4th October later this year.

I am sixteen weeks pregnant now, and having kept this secret for longer than most do, it really feels like I can no longer remember a time before I was pregnant and going to bed at a ‘normal’ time.

I knew very early on that I was pregnant, just one or two days after I would have been three weeks.  I experienced very strong cramps for a couple of days and just generally didn’t feel great in the lower tummy department.  I had three pregnancy test sticks so took them on consecutive days.  Each day the little pink line got a little darker, confirming the pregnancy I knew by this point existed.

Unsure of what to do I rang the doctor to ‘ask to speak to someone as I thought I might be pregnant’, – only to be told no-one would speak to me until I reached eight weeks.  Apparently there is a large chance of miscarriage in the first eight weeks, so you don’t sit on the midwife radar until then in case something does happen.  Four weeks is a really long time to wait when you can’t explain to anyone why you are feeling so rubbish!

At six weeks I ran the first 20 miles of the Thames Trot and also my first fell race.  Earlier that week I had spoken to the midwife team at Kettering Hospital who reassured me that I would be fine to run at the ultra event, so long as I didn’t feel in pain and there was not any bleeding.  Despite this, I felt a little niggle in the pit of my stomach that if something did happen it would have been down to my stubbornness to complete the event and this played a large part on the reason why I pulled from the race before reaching halfway.  In comparison, I felt great running the 14 miles at Charnwood Hills the following day.  The only problem being that by week six my breasts had really started to grow and my sports bra was becoming increasingly uncomfortable by this point!  I had made the decision to share my news with the friend I was running with that day and she had suggested that lots of runners seem to wear two bras whilst pregnant.  I pointed out that I could barely fit into just the one now!

From the week following Thames Trot I began to get morning sickness – although it hit me hardest in the evenings.  I would have to snack throughout the day every few hours in order to feel relatively normal.  An empty stomach was a sure-fire way to feel awful.  I was lucky in that I never actually threw up, although at times I thought that throwing up might make things better as I felt so bad!  I took lots of pre-packaged things like croissants, crisps and apples to work so that I could open them/start them as and when I began to feel iffy.  Dan also began bringing me a sandwich home from work each night so that I could take it in with me the following day which was a godsend.  By this point I was so tired there were some nights it was pushing 8:30pm and I was ready for bed.  he combination of gradually feeling worse throughout the afternoon and being sapped of all energy meant that I just wanted the day to be over with as soon as possible!  That, and my three-four nightly loo visits keeping me up at least!  😉  I had to really prioritise with my school work.  Luckily, I had already completed most of the essential year 11 marking before the sickness began, but my early morning starts became no earlier than 5:15-5:30am starts at this point.  My body really seemed to need that regular rest!  Running took a real hit for a few weeks, as most of my running sessions tend to take place in the evenings after work – and I just really did not feel like it after a full day of faking feeling fine for staff and children at school.

When I was in my eighth week of pregnancy I caught a bug and it really knocked me sideways.  I was up with coughing fits for over an hour every night and I felt increasingly worse and weak on a daily basis.  I could barely eat anything, yet at the same time, felt so ill when I didn’t.  I ended up having the Monday and Tuesday off from work, returning on the Wednesday only because I had top set classes, so hoped they would be fairly easy to lead, and to try and regain some strength for parent’s evening the following day.  There were two points across Wednesday where I just had to lean against the wall as I felt so weak.  I ran a few odd miles through these two weeks but my energy had dropped completely and I really struggled to not break out into a full-blown coughing fit when pausing during a run.  During one seven mile trail run with friends during the second week I ended up coughing so badly that I gave myself the worst migraine I have ever experienced and sent myself straight to bed on arriving home.

February 2015 miles…

February 2015

 

…vs February 2016 miles…

February 2016

As you can see, most of my running during the lowest times was taking place on the weekends.

My parkrun visits became more frequent during the last few months (with my 50th parkrun taking place yesterday!) and, as Laura was returning from injury it made sense to run with her to catch up with the gossip, and also have a reason for my times beginning to drop.  Although to anybody that questioned my times/lack of running with club I mentioned how ill I had been, – a genuine reason that seemed to be accepted by most for why I hadn’t been clocking my usual miles each week.

Luckily, my energy started to return and my cough began to disappear by week ten and it was the end of this week that I finally saw the midwife for the first time.  Initially booked in for when I had been eight weeks pregnant, I had rung to rearrange when I had already missed two days of school that week due to illness.  I thought I would begin to feel more at ease following my midwife appointment, but to be honest, all she really did was write down all my details, along with details about Dan’s medical history and give me my pregnancy packs of samples and information.

12 weeks 5 days pregnantPlease ignore the hair – this was that incredibly windy day we had a few weeks back!  As you can see, I do have a few maternity tops now.  Mainly because the work shirts I own no longer fit around my chest!  My tummy hadn’t grown loads by this point, although by week 12, the baby was apparently the size of a clementine.

Luckily, the scan date we had been sent in the post fell during the first week of the school Easter holidays so there was no need to try and get a day off work when I had not yet shared my news.  For your first scan you have to drink two pints of water an hour before arriving at hospital.  For someone whose bladder has already shrunk to the size of a small sprout this was a feat!  I managed it…Only to receive a phone call a few minutes later to say that my scan would have to be rearranged as the sonographer had been sent home ill!  Luckily, we managed to rearrange the appointment to that coming Friday instead.

Neither of us clicked the date of the Friday until we woke up and April Fools Day messages were popping up everywhere.  I’d already told my parents on Mother’s Day at the start of March.  We hadn’t planned on sharing the pregnancy with others immediately after the scan, but Dan decided that the opportunity of April Fools Day was just too good to pass up when it came to telling his friends.  He had received a message from a friend in a group chat that morning stating that their upcoming wedding was being called off as him and the bride-to-be had been arguing for a while now.  The other guys immediately called April Fools on him.  We waited until we had been to our scan before Dan also added a comment to the group chat, – ‘Guys, I have some news…I’m going to be a Dad!’  Dan’s message was met with more April Fools calling, followed by a couple of the guys pointing out that Dan was supposed to have made his attempt before midday (it was now close to tea time).  Dan remained silent in the conversation as the others began to doubt themselves that it was a ‘joke’ and it was rather entertaining watching the messages scroll as the others weighed up whether or not Dan had been telling them the truth before he put them out of their misery by sending over the scan photo.  Even then one of them thought that Dan might have photoshopped the image to contain my name!

The very hungry caterpillar sleepsuit^ The very cute sleepsuit my brother bought for us.  Although I was a little alarmed when my Mum said that she hopes it fits and the baby isn’t too big!  This suit is most of my torso in length!

It’s been this week that I’ve really begun to notice my pace dropping on runs.  I’ve been lucky up until now that a sub 10 minute mile still felt fairly comfortable.  I haven’t attended many trail runs since finding out that I was pregnant as I have been worried about falling whilst out in the dark.  Now that the clocks have changed though and it’s light outside until I’m almost heading for bed I decided to head out on a trail run with the usual crew on Wednesday evening this week.
I was hanging off the back of the run.  Something which has never been an issue for me before on the Wednesday evening trail runs.  A couple of friends hung back with me for most of the run and it was almost a relief that I am now able to tell people and explain my sudden desire to walk the steepest of hills and why my pace has dropped so significantly.

I fully intend on continuing to blog throughout my pregnancy, although the blog will remain as it always has – about running and remaining fit and healthy.  Part of that will obviously now include working my life around the pregnancy and, in the future, a child!  I also intend on running for as long as is possible whilst pregnant and reporting back on any challenges I face (of which there have already been plenty!)

Did/will you run/exercise throughout your pregnancies?

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

The reason I pulled at mile 20 of the Thames Trot 50

It feels like so long ago now, but I still owe a race report from the Thames Trot 50, which took place right back at the start of February.  I’ll do my best to remember the happenings of the day…

Several of our running club had signed up to run the event and so a minibus was booked and a very early pre-race breakfast was had before I jumped into the car with Tom, who had agreed to pick up me, along with another couple of runners along the way to our minibus pickup point.

The lack of sleep and not knowing where the next runner on our stop-off list lived caused for some early morning entertainment.  When we headed over to pick up Amy, all house numbers seemed to be dowsed in darkness at that time in the morning.  Tom had me out of the car and running up and down the street looking for the right house whilst he crawled slowly alongside me in the car.  As I neared the doors of houses, security lights would kick in, I’d realise that we were still outside the wrong building and leg it before dogs began barking and people began questioning why we were slowly disrupting every house on the street at such an ungodly hour!  Luckily we found the correct house in the end, stopped to pick up one final runner and then made our way over to Wellingborough where the minibus and other eight runners were ready and waiting.

Our little group were some of the first to arrive at race HQ and we had plenty of time to get ready.  Therefore I just sat and chilled and received quite a lot of stick for still not having changed into my race gear or even started to get ready until about 30 minutes before the race was due to start.

Getting ready at the Thames TrotNot only did we have a large number from our club running the event but as the event is organised by Go Beyond, of which the Race Director is also a member of our club, we had large numbers of our members out marshaling the race at checkpoints as well, busy taking our photograph at every available opportunity!Getting ready at the Thames TrotFinally, when it seemed like everybody else had already begun to vacate the hall I decided it was time to get ready so headed for the loos.  Which, by the way, were the poshest loos I have ever seen at a race.  They were the sort which contained free samples of smellies and small towels for you to dry your hands on before throwing into a wash basket.  Much classier than the pre-race portaloos I’ve come to expect as a runner!

We managed to get a pre-race photo of our club runners inbetween loo trips and on our way to the start line (just outside the race HQ, but you’d be surprised how many times we turned around to find someone missing from the lineup!)

WDAC at the Thames TrotTen guys, three ladies and a lot of food between us.  This was the first race where I wore my Ultimate Direction PB vest and I can confirm that there was plenty of room for lots of sneaky snacks to be tucked away in there…

Nakd bars in my Ultimate Direction PB vest

The start was gentle and did not prepare us for what was to come.  We sped off along the road before all getting caught in a queue to cross the bridge over the water.  This part was easy.  About half of the first mile had been downhill and on road.  I was busy chatting to those around me.

My initial planned race for the Winter had been the Country to Capital 45m race back in January.  On Kev’s advice though, I changed my plans to run the Thames Trot 50m instead.  He was convinced that I would find the long, straight canal path of C2C dull and get fed up with the race early on.  Both races have a cut-off time of 11 hours.  For Country to Capital, 11 hours is 14:40 minute miling and on a fairly solid and flat course for the second half of the race.  I could almost power walk the distance at that speed.  Anything around the 15mm mark is comfortable territory and would not concern me too much before a race.  At Thames Trot however, the cut-off times remain the same, but with an extra five miles to run, working on 13 minute miling and not a lot of give for getting lost or stopping at aid stations.

But…there was a large crowd of us and we all set out together with lots of banter.  Knowing that I don’t race well in large groups I had purposefully made it clear that nobody was to wait for me if I got left behind and that if I kept going it was only to remain consistent when others stopped for food.

The mud was horrific as soon as we crossed the water.  I was in a pair of old trusty trail shoes, so felt fairly comfortable sticking to the less tacky edges without fear of slipping in.  Had I worn any other pair of shoes and I’m sure that wouldn’t have been the case though.  The mud only got worse and worse.  Although always moving through the mud, there were places where we slowed to a walk in order to stay upright.

I think this photo of Kev sums up the first section of the course!

Running the Thames TrotIt was a great sight to see familiar WDAC faces as we headed into the first checkpoint after 2h 9m.  I had been a few minutes behind our little group upon entering the checkpoint, but as they had stopped here and I headed straight through I made up the lost distance and ran with them for a little way again once more.  Looking back at the results now to remind myself of the times I see I was actually the last one to continue through at this point.  I don’t like a time pressure in a race.  My strengths lay in remaining strong over a long period of time when others often blow up later on in the miles.  I like to think I am pretty stubborn and it takes a lot for me to give up, but I won’t go winning any races on stubbornness alone!

Running the Thames TrotI decided to let the others drift away and zone out into my own race a little.  As much as the first part of the course had been to stay upright despite the mud, the next section of the course was to stay upright despite the wind!  The second my feet headed onto more solid, grassy land, the wind hit me full pelt and blew my cap completely off my head.  By the third time this had happened within the space of ten minutes I was ready for a full on strop!  My cap had blown out across onto a bush overhanging the river, meaning to get it I had to scramble across to the edge of the bank and lean over.  Once in my hand again I decided to stay put for a few minutes and just dangled my legs off of the bank deciding how best to tackle the wind.

Two minutes later, a quick call to Dan and I was ready to go again, really putting my all into forward motion even though the wind was completely against me the entire way now until checkpoint two.

It was in the miles between checkpoint one and checkpoint two that I decided to pull at the second checkpoint.  I knew there were still several runners behind me at this point, as I had picked up the pace a little and overtaken a number of them in the final miles.  Everybody I passed looked thoroughly beaten and pissed off with the wind and mud and I didn’t blame them!

I would have been able to continue.  I arrived at checkpoint two with half an hour to spare but as I had come to the decision to pull at the next checkpoint several miles earlier, it had immediately felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I was enjoying the miles once more.  I had been rather poorly and weak during the week before, to the point that I had rung my doctor for advice as to whether or not I should run at the 50 mile race the following weekend.  Unable to say, they gave me a number to ring so that someone more qualified could give advice.  I was told that seeing as I had already run the distance previously and I was fully fit and generally in good health I should be fine to continue with the full distance, but if I was in any discomfort or felt weak or dizzy at all to stop and pull.  I was being sensible.  The Thames Trot wasn’t my goal race for the year and worrying myself doing constant body checks that I was still in full working order wasn’t helping the stress levels!

Upon reaching checkpoint two it wasn’t long before I was ushered into a minibus van to meet several other runners who had already decided to drop at the checkpoint due to the bad conditions of the day.  Although I had been warm whilst running, the wind was very chilly and we were grateful when Howard of Go Beyond started the van to warm us up.  I texted Laura who was marshaling at checkpoint 3 to let her know that I was pulling from the event and Laura quickly responded by ringing to see if the van could swing by the next checkpoint as she had a man who was now severely shivering.  The small group of us in the van debriefed each other on our race experiences and chatted general running talk before reaching the finish base to hand in our chips and collect our gear.  The others all quickly dispersed (home for showers I expect!) whilst I managed to change between shaking in the toilet cubicles (not as nice as the ones had been at the start, but at least I was the first one to head through so avoided the worst of it!)

I knew I had a fairly long wait as the minibus wasn’t due to collect our little bunch for hours yet, and the rest of our runners were still out on the course.  So, I made myself busy – deciding to help the marshals at the finish line.  I got to see the winner come through in an insane time of 5:49:19 – he finished nearly an hour before the guy in second place crossed the line!  And then I grabbed hold of some medals and helped place them around the necks of runners as they reached the end, directing them for timing chip removal and hot drinks.  All the while, looking out for runners from our own club.  One by one we heard via text or phone of drop outs from the others.  Most had made it to the next checkpoint before either being pulled or deciding to pull themselves.  A few had made it as far as checkpoint four.  Just four of our original starters remained in the race.

Ben was the first to come in – it was still daylight when he crossed the line in 7:52.  It was still light enough for me to snap a photo at this point.  No headtorch required!

Ben coming over the finish line at Thames Trot 50

Guy trotted over the line a couple of hours later and headed over to the local pub where the other drop-outs from the club had headed on arrival to go and watch the rugby.  I stayed dishing out medals and waiting for our final two to come in.  Both Tom and Craig were another 25 minutes.  Annoyingly, the pub crowd arrived back just in time to see our last two runners cross the line.  I could have had pub grub with the rest of them and still seen everyone finish!

Despite so many of us not completing the race, we were in high spirits on the way home.  A bottle of champagne even went round the bus on the return journey!

I knew Thames Trot would be my last attempt at an ultra for a little while because, although when I rang the midwife she had seemed happy with me continuing running long distances at 6 weeks pregnant, I’m not so sure that she would be so happy for me to continue as my pregnancy progressed…