Music + Rain = Faster Jo – 20 miles in the rain 4hr47 BOOM!

josiejo marathon outfit

As you are probably aware on Sunday we experienced a so called angry low according to the wonderful people at BBC Weather… this transpired to be virtually unrelenting wind and rain by the bucketful.  As I was running along Victoria Embankment at about mile seventeen, I realised that I could no longer feel my hands, water was literally running off my face (at which point I regretted the mornings mascara which I thought must be dribbling attractively down my cheeks – it wasn’t though! Phew!) and my rain jacket was so wet I could see my colourful marathon vest through it.  Nice.  What else could I do?  I laughed.  This is what marathon training is all about I thought to myself, endurance.  Or at least it has been that way for me, as you know.  It was excruciatingly difficult getting out of bed on Sunday morning and even then I had mild nagging doubts about my knees, so was thinking it might be wiser to rest… but then I decided to give it a whirl and run as far as I could and it turned out to be 20 miles as originally planned, not bad.  I had various aches and pains throughout the run; knees, ankles, buttocks and thighs all took their turns, my lower back was not happy but I hope I am now a little better at listening to my body than I was back in October and luckily (on this occasion) I was right to carry on.

Buckingham PalaceI had never run the end of the marathon route, so decided on Sunday I would give it a try.  I followed the usual route to Woolwich then back to Greenwich but instead of heading off to Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe I went through the foot tunnel to Canary Wharf then towards the City passed the Tower of London, down Victoria Embankment (which is quite long and I had to have a moment to sit down out of the rain to stretch my ankles) and finally through Westminster, passed Buckingham Palace down the Mall and ended my run at Charing Cross station to take the train home.  Woohoo!  It was lovely to try out another part of the run; I was more confident too and managed this week not to get lost (which makes a change I can tell you)!! Hooray!

I made this run fun though, as I’ve had a rough month of long gruelling runs I have not enjoyed and I was keen to try to enjoy this one as it is the longest I will run until Marathon Day; it’s all tapering from here baby J  So I FINALLY got my new iPod charged and loaded with a fabbo playlist of my favourite cheesy tunes to inspire and motivate me through the pain.  I was delighted and surprised that I’d put my first two cheerful tunes on at both the beginning of the playlist and at about four hours which was just as I was running through Westminster and on passed St James’s Park so it was the perfect pick me up.  I know you’re dying to know what my awful cheesy tunes are…slightly embarrassed about the first track but it never fails to put me into a good mood so worth the public humiliation to admit it is the opening track of Legally Blonde – Perfect Day by Hoku, just to be clear it is nothing like the Lou Reed song covered for Children in Need in 1997 which makes me want to slit your wrists upon every hearing.  The second track is my favourite upbeat number by Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s called Who Put the Bomp and it’s a cheesy fifties track in a punk rock type of style, it reminds me of the song at the end of the movie Grease but it has a killer beat which makes me run!  I also included Green Day’s American Idiot album (as suggested by Mr Haythorne) it is something I’ve had since it came out and in my opinion is one of the few albums I’ve ever heard (I have very bad taste in music) that needs to be listened to as a whole album.  It was perfect, Billie Joe creates a great narrative; it is challenging, entertaining and audibly interesting as well as carrying a good fast beat on the most part which carries you along with it.

Controversially I took no water with me on this run for two reasons:

  • I hate carrying anything when running
  • The week before I needed the loo SIX times – which is simply ridiculous and could not be repeated, EVER

I just got away with it because of the conditions and consequently was a little dehydrated to the point of feeling a bit sick when I got to Charing Cross.  I immediately sought out water and chocolate milk for the journey home, only to discover a 750ml bottle is £2 at Charing Cross!  How can there not be residents’ rates in these instances?  I made good time home, jumped into the now standard cold bath for the muscles, though this week followed by a hot one to warm me up after the freezing rain.

Job done.  I am very happy with that performance; good time, good run.  It was great running passed Buckingham Palace and down the Mall; furthermore I had no idea Charing Cross was sooo close to the finish, I am no longer worried about getting the train home, I will be fine and enjoy my lie in the morning afterwards like nothing else in the world.  Thinking there might be a stop off at Zizzi or similar to gorge on pasta and bread afterwards…  Mmmmm.

Last night when I got home I received my final marathon instructions magazine which I will go through studiously this week some time and the big news is my running number will be:


The advice from the VLM website (as running w@nkers seem to refer to it…) is:

  1. Can I track a runner during the race?
  2. Yes. On Race Day, there will be a link to our tracking service on the home page of

An app is also under development – watch this space for more information as Race Day approaches.

The best way to track a runner is by using the runner’s running number. If you do not have the running number, it is also possible to search for a runner by surname.

I need to go to the ExCel centre the week before to collect my number, tracking chip and runners guff ahead of race day and that is that.  The end is in sight and you know what?  I am quietly confident that I may still have all of my toenails, fingers crossed!

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