It’s 8.30am on a warm sunny Sunday morning and I'm stood at the Blue start area on Blackheath common with thousands of other runners waiting for the start of the 25th Flora London Marathon.
This is the part when the nerves are fighting with the excitement of being here, one part of me is saying 'what are you doing here among all these super-fit looking people?' while another bit of me is saying 'you've trained for it, you know you can do it, just get out there and enjoy yourself.'
9.00am and the tannoy is announcing the start of the Elite women's race. 'Go on Paula, you can win this race' is the general comment circulating through the crowds.
9.30am and the tannoy is calling everyone to get to the starting pens ready for the start, the excitement has taken over from the nerves and as I look around I know it's going to be a good day for the race.
9.45am and we're off. Well, it's a slow shuffle as those in the first starting pens head off into the distance, but it doesn't matter as we are all using electronic chips to record our start and finish times.
9.55am and I'm through the start, no turning back now. The first few miles are taken at a slow trot as people start to spread out then we see the runners from the Red start merging with us on the left, a lot of good natured booing goes on as we run alongside each other.
Turning a corner after the six-mile point and I can see the masts of the Cutty Sark above the rooftops, running round the bow of this famous clipper ship the roar of the crowd is deafening and gives all the runners a tremendous feeling of support.
Further along the course and we pass the 11-mile point still going strong, as we come to the water station a runner behind me stumbles into me and as I recover from his collision I feel my ankle give with a sharp pain. A couple of minutes later and there's nothing serious with the ankle, just a strain as I went over so it’s off again with the thought of 15 miles to go.
Turning a corner just after the 12-mile point and there's Tower Bridge ahead, what a magnificent sight as we all run under those famous towers.
13 miles and we are running on one side of the carriageway with the faster runners returning past their 22-mile marker on the other side of the road.
14, 15, 16 miles and we are still going strong with a never ending chorus of cheering and support from the thousands of spectators lining the route.
17 miles and there are the signs for the Runner’s World forum cheering point, a quick stop to say ‘hi’ and meet some friends from the forum and it’s off again, along past Canary Wharf and the HSBC tower block.
18, 19, 20 miles are passing by and I am starting to get trouble from my ankle, nothing serious, just an irritating ache.
21 miles and we are now on the 'other side' of the road.
22 miles and I have trouble, the lopsided gait I have been running to protect my ankle has caused my hips to start to ache, so it’s time to slow down and concentrate on being fit enough to finish.
22 to 25 miles are very slow as I concentrate on finishing, more walking than running now.
Along the Embankment to Big Ben and as we turn into Great George St there's less than a mile to go, Birdcage Walk with St James Park is alongside us then it's a short turn into the roundabout outside Buckingham Palace, wonder if the Queen is watching, the final turn into The Mall and there it is: the finish line.
Only a couple of hundred yards to go then I'm there, I've done it, I've completed my first London Marathon. My finishing time 5:36, a bit slower than I wanted but I've finished.
The aches and pains drop away as the girl at the finish line puts the medal round my neck. A slow walk to collect my bag from the baggage area and off to find my friends, time to celebrate.