Race report

Posted on: 14 Apr 2008

What a great weekend!!!

I travelled down to London on Saturday morning with Wendy and Sonia from work.  After checking in at our hotel in Victoria I went to the Expo, they went shopping!

Missed everyone at the Expo but then went over to Trafalger Square and met Pete E for a chat and a swift half - me not Pete.  We were then joined by Janis, who looked very relaxed and not at all nervous.  Dave also joined us ( who I think was scared by moomins as a child!).  We had a good chat before I headed back tot he hotel for a wash before going out for a meal.

The girls and I headed up to Leicester Sq and went to Spaghetti House where we had a great meal and I had a lovely glass of water while the girls finished off a carafe of white wine!

Then I headed back to hotel while they went in search of a bar.   I slept a bit but woke up a couple of times during the night. Breakfast in the hotel was good and there were a couple of celebs in the hotel who I wished good luck for the marathon - the famous Mick & Phil!!

I set off at 7 to meet up with fellow bloggers at Charing Cross but got delayed by problems on the City & District line and then on Bakerloo.  So I mideed everyone at Charing Cross and headed off to Blackheath where I met up with Pete as planned and Timbo and TrevorC.

The weather seemed perfect with a nice blue sky and it wasn't too hot like last year!  I was in Pen 4 and as we walked towards the start I was able to move up to within 100m of the start.  As we set off it was the expected jog/walk/jog until we could get into a run.  Not long after the start the Celebs from the green start joined us from the left and as I looked round to see who was there I spotted Leah!! Couldn't just keep running without saying Hi, so I eased my pace and then moved across to say hello and wish Leah good luck for the race.

My first mile was 8:08 but then I settled into a sub 8 minute mile pace. Not much to say about the first half I kept my head down and concentrated on even pace running.  The sight of Tower Bridge was a big lift as we turned the corner and there it was! You know then that half way is just around the corner. I went through half in 1:43:10 and my 5k splits were 24:08, 24:29, 24:52, 24:26, 24:54 up to 25k. 

As we headed round the Isle of Dogs I began to hurt and my next 5k slipped to 25:24 followed by 25:35.  I found the twists and turns around Canary Wharf hard work.  Then the long slog back began and I knew I was hurting.

I heard Wendy and Sonia shout me around Tower Hill and it was so good to see friendly facesat that stage! I eased a bit and threw my sunglasses to Sonia - didn't need them any more in that rain!

My 5k to 40k was the worst of the race in 27:56 as the long run up the Embankment was hurting.  After the first mile all my mile splits were under 8 minutes up to 21 which was 8:05, then I dropped to 8:27, 8:34, 8:40, 8:36 and 8:22. As Big Ben came in sight over to the left round the bend in the river I was just concentrating on one foot in front of the other. 

Once I got to the traffic lights in front of Big Ben, it seemed I was almost there but it still feels a long way from that point! I kept pushing along and then saw the sign for 800m to go - and that's got to be a very long 800m or is it just the tired legs! Seeing the Palace and the 385 yards to go sign was a great sight then turning onto the Mall and the attempt at a Dooley Dash for the line.  The clock over the finish said over 3:31 but I knew my watch was started as i crossed the start line so I was trying to sprint for 3:30 and stopped my watch on 3:30:12 so happy with my pacing!

Offical time was better with 3:30:05 and Wendy says I wasted 5 seconds throwing my glasses to Sonia!!  I finished 4696th out of around 34-35,000 so got to be pleased with that and 311th in my age group!

What a brilliant day (despite the horrible rain!) and I hope you've all enjoyed the experience.  I've been off work today slept in late, watched the video of the race, soaked in a hot bath - great recovery! Off to the Club tonight (Derek from the Club ran 3:56:20, Dave ran 4:30:21 and Paul 4:54:27) where I'll probably run a couple of miles and might be tempted to do a couple of 500s as the group I coach are doing 6 x 500m, 200m recovery tonight!

Can't wait to see some photos from you all - I know Timbo and trevorC took some and I expect the rest fo you did as well.  Checked the result and there were some great runs from bloggers and some good times as well!  Well done friends!

UPDATE:  Having read Leah's post and how someone helped her with her socks at the end I had to tell you what happened to me.  After I finshed and collected my gear, I got ready leaning against a tree and got my warm dry gear on when a lady came along side and started changing...  She stripped off her top and put on a dry bra and t-shirts and fleece then asked if I could do her a favour, being a helpful soul I said of course what is it?  She asked if I'd hold her towel while she changed and proceeded to put the towel round herself for me to hold while she took off her shorts and struggeld to find her dry knickers and got changed.  Strangest request I've ever had at a marathon!  But she was a very nice lady about my age and we had a good chat about the race then wished each other good luck and went our separate ways! Runners!


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