To be honest, I was a little anxious before the Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon. I've done the race a few times before and really enjoyed it but I missed last year's event.
The last time I ran this race was 2 years ago in 2015. I had no issues with the race. It was a great race, with fab bling and I actually managed to get a reasonable time. Sadly, a few days after my previous Liverpool race, I ended up in hospital with severe pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism (PE)! I was running marathons one week and then bed bound the next. I then had 9 weeks off work to recover and even longer off running. What's this got to do with the Rock n Roll Marathon I hear you say. Well, I was told I had community contracted pneumonia and that it is likely I caught it at the marathon due to the crowds and taking in deeper breaths when running!
My plans to run 40 marathons by my 40th birthday had gone out of the window. I had to reassess my goals and life plan. I read many blogs and articles from medical experts which advised not to return to running until 1 or 2 years after suffering a PE. Don't worry, after I hit rock bottom on my third hospital stay, I came back fighting and determined that I would not give up running. My first few runs were tough and scary. I got breathless quickly and panicked with even the slightest pain in my chest. I increased my mileage steadily and within a few months, I ran 3 marathons over 4 weeks and raised money for York Hospital who had provided fantastic care to me whilst I was ill!
I have gone from strength to strength from this point but I have still not managed to hit my previous marathon times. I still get occasional chest pain but I've been assured that it just due to the scar tissue in my lung and eventually it will ease off.
Given the above, it was understandable that I was a little wary before the race.
Despite the events in Manchester the previous week, there was a great turnout and a fab atmosphere. We were exchanging cat stories on the way in and managed to miss the Liverpool turn off. Even though we had a slight detour, we made it to the race start in plenty of time!
So here is my list of the good, the bad and the ugly from the Rock n Roll Marathon (in no particular order!): -
The amazing sea of yellow - ribbons on t-shirts, in hair, bright yellow t-shirts - lots of love for the people of Manchester
The dog in a bag - whilst waiting in the queue for the loos at the start, a couple were chatting in front of me. The lady turns around and in her backpack, is the cutest little dog, smiling at me (teeth and all)
My new tour guide running vest with thanks to Nu Printing in York
The lovely North East Marathon club lass who was chatting to me at the start
The lady calling her mum at mile one! I've never come across anyone calling their mum mid race!
The music and bands along the way, especially to the fab band playing at the Town Hall - a brilliant experience
The support of the other runners (especially the lady telling me to "run with purpose" when I started to walk up a hill (I was trying, honestly)
The running hippies dancing along Abbey Road!
The dad dancing runner who stopped to bust a few moves at about mile 20
The parks - these saved me from the heat - I was lovely to run through the shade of the trees
The crowd - a great turn out along the route but especially.....
The ice pop dad and daughter duo - absolute lifesavers - they were handing out ice pops to runners in the park (I was extremely grateful)
The family handing out plastic champagne flutes of water - absolutely fabulous!
The cracking bling - the Rock n Roll guys know how to make a medal (weighty and sparkly - what more do you want)
Haribo - I was very grateful to receive sweets at the end of the race. The lovely marshal even let me pick out my favourite Super Mix selection (and gave me an extra packet)
The t-shirt - loving the Beatles design this year
The long drive. It is a great race but a 4.45 am start is a bit early, even for me. 5 hours running plus 5 hours driving does take its toll. If I do it again, a hotel for the night before is probably a sound idea
The slightly late start (the start is quite crowded and being used to quieter trail races, I was keen to get started and into my own space)
The humidity and heat. This actually took me by surprise. The race starts at the Echo Arena by the river and it was pretty cool and breezy there. It was also rather overcast - no blue skies or sunshine in sight. Luckily, my dad talked me into wearing my running vest rather than a t-shirt so I did overheat as quickly as I could have!
Lack of Lucozade. There was Lucozade at the initial couple of water stations but I didn't need the energy hit at this point. Sadly each time I reached a water station after this point, the Lucozade had run out with partially drunk bottles discarded at the side of the road (I must learn to run faster so I'm not at the back of the pack)
Chest pain. I developed chest pain at about mile 8 or 9. To be honest, it was probably psychological as I was thinking about what happened last time. I panicked a bit initially but it soon eased off and I've not had it since.
Being beaten by Sonic the Hedgehog. To be honest, being beaten by anyone in fancy dress is pretty humiliating really
My finish time. I'm struggling to get back to PB form. I should be grateful to actually finish a marathon as that is an achievement in itself but I probably won't be completely happy until I knock 30 to 40 minutes off my time
Drinking way too much water early on due to the heat which caused a sloshy tummy and an early stitch
Getting tangled in my own knickers in a portaloo - wrestling with lycra in a confined space is extremely difficult when hot and sweaty. I'm just grateful I didn't fall out of the portaloo in the struggle or leave the portaloo with my backside on show
Miles 11 to 18 - I suffered badly due to the heat. I managed to pull it back at the end and actually finished quite strong. Mile 24 was actually one of my fastest miles!
The race photos - seriously, I do not take a good race photo at all. I'd love to be one of those people leaping over the finish line, arms raised, looking smiley and energised. Sadly, on all my photos (no matter at which point in the race they were taken), I look like a zombie. Maybe I should start carrying a spoon at races to complete the look!
There were way more highs than lows and I would definitely recommend this race. It's great value for money if you manage to get early bird entry (a t-shirt, ace bling, closed roads, plenty of treats at the end, live music along the course and at the end and a free beer). I may not be able to run next year due to having other plans. All I can say at the moment is watch this space.....
Up next, Huddersfield Marathon. Hopefully number 40!