Best bit was seeing the supporters at mile 18 - all the hugs plus the jaffa cakes and jelly babies were great. I'd been having a bad patch just before this and it was a welcome sight to see the Forumites. Meerkat and I often meet up for lunch and have bangers and mash (referred to as sausage loading) so when I was about 50 yards away I yelled out "Sausage loading Meerkat!", which drew puzzled looks from all around me!
The worst bit was realising that I was overheating (I went out faster than intended - my maths got scrambled somehow on splits) and that I was slowing badly and was going to have to give up my 3:30 target :o( Next time :o)
There were several great comedic moments and surprises. I hereby claim the prize for the earliest cry of "not far to go" - about 20 yards after crossing the start line!!! It'll be getting ridiculous with people yelling it at the back of pen 9 before long :o). A few hundred yards later a big bunch of runners just in front of me suddenly swept left and I followed down what looked like a distinctly narrow road for the whole of blue start, and I was 5 yards down the road before I realised that they were all taking an early loo break!
I also got quite a surprise when a voice boomed out behind me, saying "You are about to be passed by a f**king Wizard", and a man overtook me in full Dumbledore gear. Strangely it's not a line I remember from Harry Potter. Oh yes - and just as I was passing one of the large gantries, one of the marching bands struck up, and in my slightly glycogen depleted state I jumped about a foot in the air, thinking that the sudden crash and bang of drums and cymbals was the gantry starting to collapse :o)
Target sub 3:30, actual time 3:42:14. I went off too fast I think, 7:30 miles instead of 7:50 and paid the price later. In spite of the rain I actually found conditions quite muggy, and I overheated (any tips on this BTW?). I did a much better time at Bramley 20 six weeks ago and felt stronger then at 20 miles, so FLM was a bit disappointing in that respect, even if 3:30 might have been just a few minutes out of reach.
I think maybe a smaller marathon where you don't need to waste energy weaving through the crowds so much might be a better idea for a good time. That and more training would help!! I do need to sort out the overheating issue, it's a big problem for me.
Keys to success were probably lots of long (22 mile) runs - which meant even though I was slowing I never stopped running. In the last 10k I was passing hordes of people - either walking or who were going slower than me. Also good was re-evaluating the situation and adjusting my goals as I realised the 3:30 was out of reach - rather than trying to catch up lost time.
I shall celebrate with some time off running, planning some more races, and having a beer (already done the last one!)