What I learnt from running the London Marathon – by Dev

One month on since the London Marathon for Diabetes UK, Dev tells why she took up the challenge, and why she’s so keen to fundraise for us.

My name is Dev and I decided to run the London Marathon for Diabetes UK. My boyfriend has been a Type 1 diabetic for 20 years and through him I’ve learnt a lot about diabetes.

Many people are unaware of what diabetes actually is and how it impacts your body. I wanted to raise money to drive awareness. It is important that people understand the impact of not just Type 1 diabetes but also Type 2. Type 2 is growing at a rapid pace and can be avoided through a better diet and doing more exercise.

On Sunday 22 April, I ran the hottest London Marathon ever. How? I could not tell you as there are genuinely sections of the marathon that I cannot remember. The things I can remember and the life lessons I learnt, I  share with you from the bottom of my heart. It should also be noted that I am in no way a runner and this was the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken.

My first ever run was after receiving a ballot place for the London Marathon. I began to build my fitness and started going to boutique gym classes as I was finding running slightly boring, especially when I couldn’t hit the distances. Once I forced myself to run 3 short runs a week and one long run, the distances became easier and attainable and consequently, running became more enjoyable.

Going from 0 to 26 miles and replacing my fun gym classes with running was challenging, but the biggest hurdle was pushing myself to run when I was exhausted and barely recovered from the last run. My biggest tip would be to choose a plan and then add on a few weeks for flexibility. This takes the pressure off your shoulders and also the panic!

What I learnt from the whole process

1. Working hard for an achievement is so much sweeter (and doesn’t impact your sugar levels) than anything that comes easy. Always think of the end goal
2. Carbs are not the enemy. Food is fuel and rest days are vital (don’t feel guilty)
3. You can do it, it’s all in your mind (unless you’re injured)
4. Find a physio and a sports masseuse early on and stick with them. They will become your gurus and guide you through
5. Having a good run is one of the best feelings in the world
6. You can plan as much as you want, but you have to be ready for things not to go to plan. The unknown is what makes you stronger
7. Your close friends and people who matter will be there and will always support and encourage you. You will learn more about this on your marathon journey
8. Your other half, family and closest friends will see a new side to you and they will put up with you because they are beyond proud (deep down, they know you are being crazy)
9. You will dig deep many times and learn so much about your limits. This will become useful for everyday life and you’re allowed to be proud of yourself (This is all yours)
10. Training for a marathon is an emotional rollercoaster – buckle up.

What I learnt from Marathon day (that you won’t find on a fitness blog)

1. It will take you a while to cross the start line. Speak to somebody near you and deep breathe
2. The information stands (near the lorry truck to drop your bags) have pace bands
3. You will need the toilet at least twice before you get to the start line. Go to the toilet, and then go to the back of the queue again straight after!
4. If you are not planning on following a pace setter (and not worried about people overtaking you), then your pen number doesn’t matter
5. You will stop caring about everything
6. You will have all sorts of weird thoughts and conversations in your mind
7. The orange segments and fruit pieces that people offer you are amazing
8. The little kids cheering have the most energy you will witness all day
9. The road will be sticky around the Lucozade stations
10. People will talk to you and you will make “friends” around the course
11. Seeing friendly faces spectating will keep you going and it is very emotional. They will be some of your favourite moments from the day
12. Your running chip, wearable device and running app will never sync or be the same
13. At the later miles, the marshals handing out water are the happiest people you will see around
14. Don’t expect too much from your professional action shots (they are not flattering), but seeing the moments your family and friends snapped is amazing
15. People with diabetes running deserve two medals (especially the ones who experience hypos and carry on)
16. Smiling definitely helps
17. Crossing the line is one of the best feelings you will ever experience
18. Don’t be upset with your time, it will spoil your achievement for you (especially 2018 runners as it was freak conditions and very few people ran their best race)
19. You finished and you are part of the 1% of the country who have run 26.2 miles

Thank you

I want to say a quick thank you to everybody who supported me. I’ve already raised £3,000 of vital funds for Diabetes UK. Thank you for all your messages, donations, cards, advice and belief along the way. Thank you to everyone who was abroad but still tracking me.

Thank you to all the special people who came to support me (and run with me) and the Mile 23 crowd which was beyond amazing. Thank you to both my massage therapist and physio for making sure my body didn’t break. Thank you to everybody who cheered my name and offered me food (especially the little girl with an ice lolly) along the way. Thank you to Diabetes UK for the support and network they have brought me in to. Most importantly, thank you feet for getting me through 26.2 miles.

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