How to do your first marathon:
Do the Flora London Marathon, on its 25th anniversary - the best race in the world.
Ten days before the race, buy a new pair of running shoes due to the old ones rubbing against an ankle injury.
During the week leading up to the event, get woken up at 4 in the morning by your 3-year-old daughter who has been sleeping perfectly through the night for several months.
On Wednesday, get a phone call from the wife telling you she has set fire to the kitchen. Arrive home to find family alive (thank God!) and spend afternoon separating burned clothes from melted laundry basket.
Travel to Bedfordshire for mother-in-law's 50th birthday. Wake up at 4 in the morning after dreaming about missing the start of the marathon.
Stub little toe on right foot prior to birthday meal. Curse the evil nature of inanimate objects as toe swells to twice its normal size and assumes vivid purple colour.
Get driven to London by wife on Saturday morning. On arrival at brother's flat, immerse swollen toe in bucket of iced water for the rest of the day. Go for a walk to Tower Bridge before dinner and get slightly nauseous and overwhelmed by prospect of running over the landmark (or not, depending on toe) tomorrow. Go to sleep at midnight.
Wake up on race day without nerves. Toe feels bearable. Head off to Greenwich. Many trips to the loo. "Water" the flowers as start time gets closer - even saw a lady crouching down, and it wouldn't be the last time !
Run like a dream. Squeeze past that tricky Runner's World 8-minute/mile pace group! Get encouraged by all thanks to having your name written on your vest !
Have the time of your life before, during and after.