This was my fourth London. The training went well but I was worried that I'd wrecked it all by working at the expo on Thursday and Friday. It was great fun, though, and I didn't have time to worry.
I met several forumites at the start on race day, and set off with Icy Passion when the gun went, our aim being to take it steady at about 12-minute mile pace. After eight miles she told me to go on ahead. Mr K2 appeared and gave me a cheer soon afterwards.
I planned to run to the halfway point (the furthest I'd run without a walking break). I felt okay when I got there, so thought I'd see how far I could keep running. Looking out for familiar faces distracted me on the highway.
I was taking a gel every three miles or so, keeping an eye on the GPS and was still on target. The stop at the 17-mile RW supporters point was brief - I had my hug and grabbed a bag of jelly babies. After a couple, I decided that they weren't a good idea for me, and handed the remains of the bag to a small boy. He looked slightly confused, to say the least.
Things started to go slightly haywire soon after that: my pace seemed to have slowed considerably and I didn't seem to be getting any further according to the GPS, which was reading 18 miles at the 20-mile point. From then on I had to run without having any idea of overall pace (there was no chance of me doing any calculations after 20 miles!).
Soon after that I caught up with Shades, Devon Babe and JaneE2, but couldn't keep up with them. Then, to my great surprise, I passed them and just kept on. Now turning in to Parliament Square I was so close to the finish and I wasn't going to walk now that I'd come this far. On Birdcage Walk I was treated to very loud and enthusiastic cheering by the WaterAid supporters and could then see the bend near the Victoria Memorial.
Seeing the finish was such a treat - my fifth marathon, 5:14:26 - 11 minutes 31 seconds faster than last year. Six years and five days since I started running (on the day before my 50th birthday) and at last I can honestly say that I've run a marathon!
Best moment: knowing that I'd run all the way.
Worst moments: leaving Icy after mile eight, missing Mr K2 later on the way round.
Biggest surprise: that I ran it all.
What I would do differently - absolutely nothing.
Key to my success - more long training runs, appreciating the moment, warm weather.
Most memorable moment: overtaking two men who were running behind a tall, slim woman wearing a pair of short shorts with "Nothing butt the best" on them. The conversation went like this:
K2 - I bet you're not trying very hard to overtake!
Man - I am: I've been trying to get past her for 16 miles but I just can't quite make it.
(K2 and man pass the woman.)
Man - B***er. I passed her.
K2 - I bet your shoelaces come undone in a minute.
Man - I think you might be right.