...I began the race full of self doubt because I was so tired, I knew I had to run as hard and fast as I could in the suit if I wanted to set the world record. Guinness had set a qualification time of 4 hrs 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Last year I ran it fresh, prepared, body fuelled and at the peak of my fitness, it took me just over 5hrs. I knew that the odds were stacked against me but as Han says never tell me the odds....
Phase 2 - The London Marathon
OK so Star Wars Celebration Orlando was hardly the best preparation for the London Marathon (running 4 x half marathons on a treadmill in 4 days, just a week before London!); legs tired, body low on carbs, jet lagged and generally fatigued, but hey, I didn’t choose the dates and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go to Celebration and run there. I arrived back in the UK on Wednesday morning to find that 72 hours later I was in London registering for the Marathon.
I began the race full of self doubt because I was so tired, I knew I had to run as hard and fast as I could in the suit if I wanted to set the world record. Guinness had set a qualification time of 4 hrs 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Last year I ran it fresh, prepared, body fuelled and at the peak of my fitness, it took me just over 5hrs. I knew that the odds were stacked against me but as Han says never tell me the odds. The support of the crowds was awesome. So many great banners, so much fun. However I must have been called Darth or Darth Vader at least 30 times, very strange. There were lots of aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper, this isn’t the run you are looking for and May the Force be with You.
I felt awful as there were lots of friends along the way who were there to support me but I couldn’t risk stopping as I didn’t want to miss the GWR! And then at 18 miles it hit me, for the first time ever I hit the wall! My legs turned to lead, I had nothing left in the tank and thoughts of taking the record were fading fast. From then on in it was even more of a mind game. I was having to stop to smash my legs down to get the blood flowing in my muscles. I was really conscious of people falling down around me every once in a while with cramp etc, it wasn’t nice. I had to keep my helmet on for every step of my run (GWR rule) which meant that I had to stop to eat and drink. I ended up stopping a lot towards the end and taking whatever sweets/chocolate/fruit i could get my hands on. When I got to the 23 mile point I knew I had it in me to finish but I could see the clock counting down. I knew I passed the start line at 4 minutes something, the trouble is I didn’t know if it were 4 minutes and 1 second or 59 seconds, therefore when I rounded the final corner at Buckingham Palace and had about 200 meters to go I could see that the clock was at 5 hrs 3 minutes something, I knew it would take me 40 seconds or so to make it to the finish line, would I be just over or just under? It really was going to be that close. When I passed the line I didn’t know what to think, the emotions became all too much.
I was very quickly grabbed by a smart man in a blazer and trousers from GWR who congratulated me and told me i’d done it, i’d set the record with just 47 seconds to spare! I was made to pose for a few photos and then left to get the finishers goodie bag.
I kept my helmet on as I could feel myself totally getting teary. I was drained of all energy and i was emotionally done in. I removed my helmet and thought well if someone ever wanted to see a crying stormtrooper, now is their chance I wasn’t ashamed, I just simply had no energy left to care.
I found my wife and kids and had a quick unashamedly quick cry, then composed myself. I had never felt so tired in my life. I’ve run marathons before, i’ve run longer distances but i’ve never had to run so hard in my life.
The May the 4th 40 mile run was just 11 days away. I was absolutely exhausted. However I was optimistic that i'd have 10 days to refresh, replenish, rebuild and refocus.
I was determined to complete the next challenge; Do or do not, there is no try.