Down But Not Out

So yesterday’s Manchester Marathon was my first DNS. Not a pleasant experience, but I guess it had to come at some point. I’m normally a very healthy person (touches wood) but on this occasion managed to succumb to a nasty stomach bug. To be ill at the exact time I had to run a marathon seemed like very bad luck! It was particularly annoying as I felt my training had gone well and I felt really positive. Just goes to show!


On Saturday morning I didn’t feel quite right – a bit achy, like when you’re about to get a bad cold. I tried to ignore it as I packed my race stuff, joked about the horrible weather forecast on Twitter and then set off for Manchester with my husband. Later in the afternoon I felt a bit more achy – and warm too – so I took some paracetamol before wandering over from my hotel to look at the race start; still trying to ignore it. Later when we went out for dinner I managed to eat my pasta OK. “I’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep” I thought. “I don’t do illness!”. I took some more paracetamol and went to bed.

The good night’s sleep didn’t exactly go to plan. I woke up at 1 am with a churning stomach and subsequently (sparing you the graphic details, gentle reader) spent most of the night in the hotel bathroom. There were periods when I felt horrendous and thought “There’s no way I can run tomorrow” and periods when I didn’t feel so bad and thought “Ah, it’s going away now, I’ll be OK after all”. Unfortunately these didn’t last long! When my (somewhat unnecessary) alarm eventually went off, after what seemed like one of the longest nights of my life, it was time to make the call. I was aching to my bones, alternating between boiling hot and freezing cold, and my stomach felt like someone was twisting a knife inside it. There was no way I could eat anything. I already know that running a marathon is hard enough when you’re fully fit and fuelled. Yesterday I felt like I could have barely made it to the end of the street, never mind round 26.2. Manchester was most definitely off!

I looked out of the bedroom window and, despite the awful forecast, it wasn’t even raining. I watched lots of other happy (and healthy!) runners making their way to the start, feeling very sorry for myself. Four months of training wasted, not to mention the expense of the race entry, travel and hotel! I was driven home with my tail very much between my legs. Later, on social media, I began to read what a great time everyone had had, which made me feel even worse; and the finisher’s t-shirt was even in my favourite colour, turquoise! People sent sympathetic texts and messages, but the best was from my lovely friend who’s an Ironwoman, saying that I should enter another marathon, and soon. “She’s right” I thought, “that’s exactly what I need to do!”.

Today when I woke up after a much better sleep I’d stopped aching and I didn’t have a temperature any more. My belly still feels like someone’s stabbing a giant fork into it from time to time and I still can’t eat proper food or move too far from the bathroom; but I’ve sure as hell found another marathon. Milton Keynes on 5th May here I come!