Finally after four years of applying through the ballot I ran the London Marathon.
When I started applying I was naive when it came to running and thought this was the be all and end all of events. Of course I was wrong there are a lot of marathons that you can run which are just as enjoyable. But surely for the atmosphere this is pretty much one of the best you can run.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning of the weekend.
As my blog followers will know I was supposed to be running this marathon with my friend. My second marathon his first.
The plan all along was going to be focused on just helping him round. As I posted a few weeks ago, because of a knee injury he has deferred his place till next year. So my plans changed, new hotel booked (covent garden) and my wife accompanying me for the journey and cheer squad.
Saturday morning we dropped the kids off at their Nan’s and took the train from Liverpool Lime street to London Euston, 2 hours…. I find it incredible really that I can be in London that quick and with such ease. We headed straight to the expo to collect my number.
After looking around the expo, collecting free magazines and a goody bag we decided it was time to head into the centre of London. We couldn’t actually check into the hotel till 3pm so we decided to grab a bite to eat and then head to the hotel. TGI Fridays in Piccadilly was were we went. This was our third trip to London and the other visits we’ve eaten here, for some reason we just find ourselves sucked back in! Anyway, after Franks Red hot wings and a bowl of Diablo pasta it was time to find the hotel.
Travellodge Covent Garden was our residence for the night. It was just what we needed, no fancy frills but it was just going to be a base for the stay. Quick check in and straight to our room on the 12th floor! I did panic at first as I thought there was no lift, but there was. Phew! Unpacked the running gear and headed back out into London. Did quite a bit of walking on the Saturday afternoon. Did the usual tourist things, took in Big Ben, Downing street and even had a walk up and down the mall to see the finish line which was being assembled. After a few hours of this we headed back to the hotel room. Had a bath to soak the legs and that was it.
Sleeping was pretty difficult, the bed wasn’t the most comfy I’ve slept on, the thoughts of what was ahead and also what seemed like non stop police/ambulance sirens through the night didn’t help. I’ll say though that I didn’t wake tired so it wasn’t all bad.
Sunday morning consisted of an instant porridge tub (just add hot water) it wasn’t the best tasting breakfast, a quick shower and then changed into my running gear. Left the hotel and headed to the train station leaving the wife to meet up with me later. I pretty much followed other runners and thankfully made it to Greenwich park the start of the race in plenty of time.
9:45 the Blue start, the race started, 5 toilet trips and I was ready to go, 20 minutes to cross the start line this was it! With wise words in my head of not going off too fast “first half don’t be an idiot, second half don’t be a wimp”, the support from family, friends and twitter I paced myself comfortably. It really was, the pace I wanted to go, taking in the sights as I went. Running alongside ‘The Stig’ a guy dressed as a rat and doing the YMCA dance in the first couple of miles this was no ordinary run!
The first half of the race I’d say I spent it sight-seeing, I’d run past a couple of wombles, a storm trooper, a couple of rhinos, BBC’s Johnathan Pearce and the 101 year old Indian chap for whom it was his last marathon.
luckily I’d spotted the wife just before the bridge that gave me a boost and just after that I spotted or should I say I was spotted by @Jackcabnory who had a microphone outside a pub and shouted my name. After that I powered over the Tower Bridge the half way point in the race, and then bumped into another Twitter celeb @Sidowski (this chap I really do urge you to check him out, he ran the marathon in a morph suit covering his face, also in 10 weeks he’ll be competing in a Ironman triathlon, all for charity). I ran with him for a bit then wishing him luck off I went.
Canary Wharf was a bit of a maze, twists and turns and also the first part of the race where I started to struggle, people were walking, being attended too by paramedics and the heat… wow I was expecting rain, but it was a dry warm race. Anyway I pushed on, and on, and on. The last few miles were a blur. Supportive shouts from the crowd helped I acknowledged when I could feeble attempts from myself at a thumbs up or a wave but I was really grateful. On the embankment I was really hurting and contemplating walking Big Ben in my view the wife spotted me and got my attention and this pushed me on. Birdcage walk, 600 metres to go again struggling and thinking about a short walk who popped again @Jackcabnory and his wife @DebDoesJive, I smiled (through the pain) for aw picture and carried on buoyed by the support.
Just the corner by the queens house, and the final stretch was in sight, as always I finish strong in events and this was no exception, putting on my best smiles for the marathonfoto people I made it to the finish line. Stopped the Garmin watch. A new PB time of 04:52:02. I was pleased, but also of the mind that was my last marathon…. 48 hours on…… I’ve just registered my details for the 2013 Edinburgh Marathon.