The sky was blue the grass frosty with a sight chill in the air as we were dropped off at Greenwich Park. I was to head for the Blue start area where I eventually met a few club mates after their bus broke down and they had to get the DLR with the masses.
Security was visible with extra police in the start area, and about a dozen sniffer dogs checking all bags and handed up into baggage trucks. Myself and big red bag was sniffed by an explosives dog, think he was after my Jaffa cakes.
There was plenty of time however and Vasaline was applied, tutu’s tried on by the men and women, uncontrolled laughter from the female urinals and the cardboard pee pipes ! If you have to go you have to go and there was no queues here compared to 20minutes for a whiffy port-a-loo.
9:30 final wee stop, bags on the baggage trucks and we headed off to our start pens. I had previously decided to run with the 4:30 pacers so I found the 2 ladies and tucked in with them. As the sun was out it was already warm at 10am so all extra layers were discarded and we started to walk, then jog, in just 11 minutes we were over the start line.
The 10:18min/mile pace was comfy and I was chatting with the pacers and getting to recognise the other runners around the Pied Piper pacers. My Italian was stretched a little with a lovely lady but we did converse in pigeon Italian about ski regions in Italy and Bombadino cocktails – as you do ! :-0
These fist 12 miles were relaxed, we took trips through the gentle mist showers and the cascading fireman’s hoses to keep cool. Jelly Babies, training stories mainly about the sub zero training were shared and enjoyed. It was a bit like speed dating on a run you had about 10 minutes or a mile with someone then all changed around at a drinks station as you lost one runner and found another.
This year was very much a sightseeing run for me as before the race I had pretty much decided this would be my second and last London Marathon, unless I had another disaster like loosing a tooth and had to comeback for a PB. In the first couple of miles we ran past the Royal Artillery Barracks where I had teh best summer last year as a Gamesmaker. I recognised the Woolwich streets and loved the Blue V Red starts boo’s and banter when we merged at around mile 3, the barriers of the dual carriage way keeping us apart for a mile or so.
I also got to see the Cutty Sark in all its splendour close up and looking stunning. How I didn’t trip over a barrier or another person as I gawped up at its masts and rigging.
I knew family and friends were going to waiting for me on Tower Bridge just short of half way. I was still with the pacers but decided that as my spectators had come up to see me I would stop have a chat, a gel and let the pacers go. I was here to enjoy my run and the day and thanking supported is part of that. I had just passed Any Childs who was also running for BHF in her blinged up diamonte vest so informed the BHF cheer group to look out for her about 10 minutes behind me. My supporters had written a sign for me and screamed my name as I came up. They insisted on a hug even though I was soaked from a shower a mile back. When running in the heat my fingers swell to sausage proportions so I tried to pulled my two rings off as I had forgotten to do so at the start. Not easy but I tugged and handed them to Emma as my fingers were already porky.
The noise and atmosphere on Tower Bridge is awesome and deafening. As I ran off the other side I was relaxed could see the pacers ahead but knew I wouldn’t catch them so settled down to enjoy the remaining half of the race.
I knew quite a lot of people back home were tracking me online and sharing text messages that upto Tower Bridge I was going really well, still on target for a 4:30 and had messages from the course back that I was looking good, fit, happy and really enjoying myself.
Probably enjoyed myself a little too much in the back half ! As I have said before I’m easily distracted in long races and I allowed myself to be distracted with 3 social stops and a beer stop in memory of my dad. But I think this actually enhanced my race day experience.
I finished with a PB 4:49:16, a smile on my face, no incidents or accidents and I loved the support and scenery of every mile.
The facts and low down data from my Garmin tell the mini details:
Garmins promise to give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth out on course !
OK you can see I stopped for just over 9 minutes split into 3 social chats with supporters and 1 beer stop for my dad.
So with the extra 0.3226 miles I ran probably in and out of showers across the road to greet supporters and a bit of weaving around gel packets, orange peel and water bottles in an ideal run with no stops or extra mileage I ‘could’ make a 4:37 marathon time.
BUT would I be any happier with the faster time ? – NO
DID I enjoy my social beer drinking scenic run on Sunday ?- YES
I loved my run on Sunday and as I expected it to be my last London Marathon I planned to enjoy it and YES I DID 🙂
It was hot, the spectator crowds were enormous estimated at over 500,000, double previous years, maybe the post Olympic affects, Boston and it being a great sunny spring day in the capital.
The atmosphere electric and like a Tour de France stage in places as the supporters squeezed onto the course so runners were rubbing shoulders as we pushed our way through. The previously deserted City and docklands areas were rammed packed, 3 to 10 deep in spectators from start to finish.
Boy are marathons tough ! 48 hours of stiff legs, but pain of pride.