Let me take a few seconds…

First, and most importantly, I made it around the course.  Here’s a photo of me in quasi-delirious state (with wild hair pointing out of hat to accentuate the point):

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I even managed, through my mystery angel fabulous donors, to once again break my fundraising goal.

Honestly, I am sitting here a bit stunned that I actually did it.  I’ve completed three marathons.  Me, the girl who once finished a 12 mile race, crawled to her car, crawled into her home and thought, “I’m never going to finish the half marathon.”  Me, the girl who cried the entire last mile of her first half marathon.  I’m now a three-time marathoner.

Some important race things things – I did not have an emotional hiccup on the course!  Those who have read my tales know that it is pretty standard that at some point I cry, but I didn’t.  I worked very hard on my mental state this race.  I also worked on rhythmic breathing, which I literally discovered the night before and so want to work more on because when I got it going I felt like I could go and go!  I spent so much time focused on the breath I frankly didn’t have a moment to think of anything else… so it was like I was marathoning in active meditation mode.   My knee started acting up at mile 23, which meant the last 5k was walking, but I decided to spend it singing so in the end I was probably quite an entertaining thing to witness.

Some important other things – The marathon expo was way improved over 2013 – it felt like a celebration of running and fundraising, which was so much fun.  I scored an extra £5 donation for dancing around like a silly person, but I will not speak of my bowling skills.  Also, the support – wow.  I don’t remember so many water stations, gel stations, paramedics there to assist if you needed them (I didn’t, whew!).  It felt like London showed up in full force to make sure everyone had the best race possible.

And some super important things:

To my friends and family (especially the hubby and the kiddo) – thank you for putting up with me.  I was either out running, talking about running, or doing some form of other training to help my running.

To the National Autistic Society, wow, what can I say?  I felt like I had a whole extended family this time around the course!

And finally, I wish to officially announce I have retired from London… but not marathoning.  I know that people have gone years upon years wanting to run those 26.2 miles and as I have been blessed to experience this twice it is time for me to step aside and let someone else slot in.  As it appears I like to do this every 3 years shall we say Disney 2019?

I think by then I’ll just about have recovered.

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All the running about I want to do in England Land

There is a slight favour of being ill.  Whilst in repose on my settee, or, slumming as I am on the couch, I have begun… in the way one should when looking for positive healing vibes… to search on all the races I would ever like to run in England.  So, without further ado, I give you this list, plus the reasons behind it.

1. The Silverstone Half Marathon

I have actually run this race before in 2007.  This race is a race designed as a lead up to the London Marathon and, when I was there, boasted no lines to the women’s bathroom but huge, snaking lines to the mens.  It is also the place where I experienced no less than two ice storms during my run, and only narrowly did I finish ahead of a man dressed head-to-toe in full motorcycle gear.  The upside to the pelting ice storm is I wasn’t sore the next day and I carried the teeny-tiny medal and gi-normous finishers shirt around with me for an entire year.  This, I can say confidently, is a race vendetta.

2. The Bath Half Marathon

I’ve not yet been to Bath, and sometimes I find signing up for a race will get me to the city that I want to go to.  (See: Rome)  Bath is constantly referred to as “a place I should really visit” so it’s on my list to run.  Plus, the website looks cheerful and fun.

3. The Reading Half Marathon

I’ve known quite a few people who have run this.  It’s just one of those that you are supposed to “do” for all intents and purposes.  The only problem I foresee, despite knowing that I should be pronouncing the city as “Reding,” is the fact that whenever I encounter the city name the song “Reading Rainbow” enters my head.  Butterfly in the sky… I can go twice as high… take a look.  It’s in a book.  The Reading Raaaiiinnnboooooww.

4. The Royal Parks Half Marathon

All the pretty of the London Marathon without having to run the London Marathon.  Or, in my case, since the London Marathon has rejected me twice (those bastards) this may be the closest I’m ever going to get.  However…

5. The London Marathon

I will one day run this race, even if I’m 105 and walking it for three days.  When I got into running people would ask me after I finished my half marathons what marathon I would do.  “London!” I would answer, confidently thinking that the day would never come where I would be close enough to consider it.  Now, as it approaches this next weekend I’m already starting to search out the registration date for 2012.

I will run you, London.  Oh yes, I will.

Finally, the other marathon everyone in England goes nuts over, The Brighton Marathon. Because I have yet to actually visit the English coast. Perhaps it is due to the multitude of years living on white sandy beaches with clear blue water. Perhaps it is the fact that frankly, I sometimes forget I’m living on an island. But Brighton is yet another city I’m told I must visit. So, visit it I shall. Hopefully with running kit.

There you have it, the six races I hope to run (one again) in England. Of course, this is just based on two years of my own limited research. And it’s only England. I’m more than certain that Wales and Scotland place has a few interesting runs of their own.