The run went better than expected. I thought I’d stick to a steady 7.5 mph, but when I got to 10 miles I realised that my legs were feeling OK but my shoulders were beginning to hurt, so I needed to finish the run quicker than planned and running faster doesn’t seem to hurt the shoulders any more – in fact I think the longer stride made it less painful on the shoulders.
So I went to 8 mph for 10 miles and then for the last 6.2 miles went to 8.6 mph. My legs paid the price but my shoulders were grateful. It probably looked like I was having a strong run at the end but the reality was that I couldn’t wait to get out of that harness!!
Watching the live marathon on the BBC the whole time was a huge encouragement – I had thought I would watch a movie (2001 A Space Odyssey was ready to go) or listen to my #Spacerocks playlist but in fact it was extremely motivating watching the live coverage of the event and hearing the stories of some of the 33000 people taking part. In addition to that I was able to compare my progress to the live event since I had the RunSocial app giving me an excellent view of streets of London as I would see them if I were running the real marathon.
Staying hydrated was no problem – this was a big mistake I had made in 1999 when I last ran the London marathon and did not drink enough during the race… which hit me hard at 18 miles and scuppered my plans for a sub three-hour run. This time I was drinking water from the start and I had my pouches lined up on Velcro strips on the panel above my head to ensure that I drank one pouch (300ml) per hour. I also had an energy sachet at 18 miles which was a great boost for the last stage of the run.
It was an incredible experience to take part in such a prestigious event whilst orbiting the planet on the International Space Station and I’m hugely grateful to everyone at the European Space Agency and NASA who made that happen. And last but not least, I was truly proud to be part of Team Astronaut in support of The Prince’s Trust and to help raise awareness for the great work that they do.