Well, there it is, I did it. Never in a million years did I think it would happen, but I've got the medal, the T-shirt and the pepperami (?) to prove it. And it was worth every gut-churning, leg-mashing, Lucozade-chucking step to cross that finish line and cry my eyes out to the bemusement of the official at the other side, who uttered the most beautiful words I've ever heard... 'It's okay love, you can stop now'.
It has to be one of the most amazing, terrifying and painful experiences ever (granted, I've never given birth!) From the cheerful, smiling start to the tearful, slogging end, picking one moment is almost impossible - made even more so by the brain-turned-to-mush syndrome, which made me question even what city I was in. Maybe it was running the first 10 miles feeling fantastic, with no hint of the shin splints of the past few weeks to spoil it. Or going around Cutty Sark, or over Tower Bridge: they might be cliches, but cliches exist for a reason.
Or maybe seeing my friends shouting and running alongside at mile 19 (them thinking it was mile 14) and asking 'how are you feeling?' (two words, one of them 'off'). Or the man along the Embankment saying to the little girl on his shoulder 'There goes Jane, say 'Come on Jane''. I can't decide.
And the worst? Going along the dual carriageway, seeing the quicker runners going the opposite direction, making the (very wrong) assumption that just around the corner we'd be turning back too... and of course, miles 20 to 25, where legs turn to cotton wool and brains go wonky. If only I'd had my training partner to tell me rubbish jokes to make me want to get away as fast as possible!
I can't describe the day properly, but the crowds have to be the most memorable and most uplifting part because they really do take you round. And I will be putting my name in much bigger letters next time (next time? Did I really say that?)
So, injury aside, doubts and niggles and panic attacks in the past, I can honestly say that yes, I enjoyed the marathon beyond all expectations, it makes me get something in my eye every time I think about it. And well done to all my friends who did it too (Christine, Gareth, Gil, Glenda). That first pint (of OJ, of course) never tasted so good.