Sorry its taken so long to get this all down but I've been busy trying to get those brownie points topped back up, after all the ballot opens up on Tuesday and got to get my name back it the hat with some form of blessing.
So what happened. Well the weekend didn't get off to the best start to be honest. Went for a 3 miler down at the running club on the Thursday night and made the mistake of wearing an old pair of trainers to save my marathon pair for the big day and ended up getting a blister. Doh pain set in and that was me out of the marathon. Well of course it wasn't it was tiny and when i dressed it was fine panic over.
Friday morning and we were off. Stopped at Swindon on the way for some feminine retail therapy and a bit of carb loading. Aah what do mean no jacket spuds i've got to eat one it says so i'm an athlete. After calming myself once more I made do with yet more Pasta. Then we were off again. Decided to give the m 25 a miss thanks radio 2 and headed for the north circular. Well what an experiance that was and one that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. By the time we reached the house we were renting I was getting a shouting pain going through my right knee cap. This was it I'm destined not run this marathon. Aquick stretch and a walk and everything was good with the world again. Not long after our friends who we were house sharing arrived.
Had a crap nights sleep on the Friday night. It was hot in the house and there was just that constant London noise/hum. Off to the expo nice and early about 10.15 and the realisation that this reall was going to happen. Met up with Bev and Dave 2 of my training buddies both were looking for pb's and Dave was trying for a gfa time. Then we headed for Hyde Park. Tried to replicate the route the girls were going to take on the tube the following day and get them comfortable with the system.
When we got to Hyde Park Jermey asked if it would be ok if he came with me as he didn't fancy going with the girls to Harvey Nicks, harrods and the like. But he was concerned about being seen as a intruder. I quickly put his fears to rest and of course you buzzers didn't let me down no the welcome we both received was a damn sight warmer and friendlier than the breeze that was blowing. Jeremy was bowled over by the get together and found it almost a special as yours truely A afternoon catching up with all these real people was so special and a memory that will be treasured just as much as sunday. All to soon we were heading our seperate ways.
Slept a bit better on Saturday night not brilliant but better thasn Friday and the alarm actuall woke me up 6.30. Quick breakfast and we were off. The tubes and trains worked absolutely perfectly for us and before we knew it we were heading upto Blackheath. After mooching about for an hour or so Jermey and i head our seperate ways. I was in pen 3. Yes after a 5 year wait I was finally going to get another chance at London couldn't really believeit I felt so bloody lucky. Then we were off, took me 1.04 to get over the line.
The crowds were absolutely amazing and the never ending support is so humbling. To feel so special when you're one in a sea of some 36,000 is truely remarkable. Took well into the second mile to get into a sort of stride, the first mile was my third slowest. I got a huge cheer just after the 3 mile point when I went pass our running club cheering points. All was good just had to keep reigning myself in and keep to just under the 8 minute miles. Cutty Sark and the crowds were brilliant. Before i knew it I'd been running for an hour and the miles were being ticked of then we hit the 9 mile mark and i think the crowds around here were the deepest and noisest on the whole course. Then we were on the Jamaica Road and time to get in postion to see the family and there they were pink flamingo's flying. A huge boost they got there they were safe and they were enjoying it. Onwards we pressed a sharp right hander and we were on Tower bridge. Slowed down a bit and tried to take it all in I don't know if I'll be back. Seen another group from the running club as well. Then onto the half way point at 1.44 and according to mr G i'd covered 13.2 miles.Then yet another highlight in a day full of them the 2 leaders passed me but no Mo. Then I heard it can't really describe the noise it was a roar that was felt as if it was coming from way down the road that just got louder and louder growing in intensity, it was akin to a train approaching and then there he was and gone in the blink of an eye. What a feeling. Next it was on through mile 15 and another glimpse of the running club support team. Mile 15 -16 were a complete nightmare got through the under pass and then got really bog down seemed to really narrow and very busy. A very slow 8.47 mile almost a minute slower than the previous one gutting. Managed to pick the pace back to the 8 min miling or just over and another couple of miles were quickly dispatched. Started to really feel the heat now around Canary Wharf and the such and I also started to feel my quads. Again another glimpse of the running club team around the 20 mile. By now the pace has started to drop a bit and I was a bit despondant to see the 3.30. pacer to go past. I kept with them for a mile or so before they slowly pulled away. I must admit I was surprise at the size of the group I was expecting to see a group of about 30 or 40 runners but in fact there was probably no more than a dozen or so. It was now that I realised that I wasn't going to go under that magical 3.30 goal. Disappointed yes but I was going to finish this bad boy and i was going to be in a whole better state and a damn sight quicker than the last time. Onto the tunnel and yes you wanted me to stop and see you in your glory but I'd been there and didn't want another t-shirt so powered through and felt great coming out on to the embankment. And there was Big Ben which just seemed to stay in the same place for age before it got any closer. Then we were into the last mile. Decided to really try and take it all in the time had gone now it was just about enjoying it. Then came the 800 meters to go I'm sorry but I'm demanding a recount because they seemed to last forever. Then the last little bit turn the corner gather myself and cross that finish line in style. Job done.
How efficient was that finish area unbelievable. Chip off, medal received, picture taken. A quick sit down to get the legs elivated to try and get rid of some of the lactic and within 30 secs had a very nice st john lady asking if I needed any assistance but I assurred her I was fine. Then it was off to get the bag which was ready and waiting for me before I got to the lorry. Grab a drink and some food before taking off the trainers and getting on the flip flops. Not a pretty site a big blister on a toe on my right foot and a split by one of my toes on the left foot. Unreal all those miles of training and nothing and come the day a double dose.
Off to the meet up point tocatch up with the others. Bev had run a 3.28 pb and Dave had run 3.21.46 to just miss out on a gfa place by less than 2 minutes. Great runs by both. Jeremy caught uo with us a few minutes later. He finished in 3.56 well within his 4 hour target and a pb by well over 20 minutes. Then it was a meet up with Donna and the kids they had seen me at Westminster but apparently I was away with the fairies at this point and didn't hear or see them. But they were full of it and had just as good a time as I did. Off to find a pub for my freebie settled on the Red Lion between Westminster and the Cenotaph and we were really able to soak up yet more of that very special atmosphere.
So now what well straight eafter the run I was disappointed with my time and was even more so when I'd heard what great times Dave and Bev had run. Did I get my tatics wrong, should I have just ran as i felt at the beginning and try to hang on at the end, should i have tried to run the whole race witht the pacer group, was there something missing with my training could I have prepared better, my sleep pattern has been all over the place for the last couple of weeks did i put to much pressure on myself. Hey guess I'll never really know and one things sure whats done is done is done and I can't change it. But in the cold light of day aside from the 3 slow miles it went pretty much to plan. I don't think London is the fastest around despite the organsiation and fantastic support found it quite narrow it places and the constant dodging of the discarded bottles seemed to be a constant pain. So overall and on reflection I was pretty pleased with my time 3.32.59 for 26.48 miles at a 8.04 average. (If I'd had only ran the 26.2 miles I'd have been there or there abouts to get under the 3.30).
What's next well I ran on thursday night bit of a mistake really quads were still so tender particularly on the down hills. I was offered a place for next weekends Plymouth half, got a real ale festivale with my name on it for the Saturday, so had to decline. Nothing planned at themo but I'll try to get that sorted over the next few weeks. Just leaves me to thank all of you out there for the support,encouragemen and friendship you,ve so graciously sent this way over the last few months and weeks and I hope are paths will cross in the future.
P.S. sorry to a those in London who got stuck behind me as i tried to negotiate the steps of the undergroung on Monday. All your tutting,huffing and puffing certainly wasn't going to get me moving a quicker. If you're in a rush its uour problem not mine get over it and chill. And to the drivers of the m4 corridor sorry if you were undertaken by a silver skoda on Friday or Tuesday afternoons but your 4 wheel drives and your executive saloons will still work on the inside lanes and you never no you may avoid those tailbacks you cause.
Enjoy the recovery and keep cracking out those miles.
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