My fifth marathon, second London, first wall... never again? You must be joking! Despite the PW, London is simply THE BEST!
It all started so swimmingly well. It was a beautiful running day (instant tan), and I had a chat with one of the ever-presents (fantastic achievement!) around Mile two, grinned and waved all the way around the Cutty Sark, started to blub on Tower Bridge (then stopped as you can't run, cry AND breathe), and stopped and gave my Dad a big kiss.
I was running slightly off my usual pace, but wasn't bothered. Then it all started to go horribly pear-shaped. At mile 16 I got terrible stomach cramp, at 20 miles I decided a run/walk strategy was better than shuffling (it was), at 23 miles I thought I was having a heart attack (my HRM suggested otherwise) and at the finish another runner told me I didn't look very well (I wasn't).
What have I learned/had confirmed? That however good your preparation (and ironically mine was almost the best it has been), the marathon will punish you if you feel even marginally below par leading up to, or on, race day (the back of my running number said 'slight cold').
Running the London Marathon is a totally overwhelming and humbling experience. The crowd numbers and support are absolutely AWESOME and the whole event gets under your skin. I never tire of playing the video; I smile, I choke back tears, my skin tingles. In fact my very unwelcome surprise has made me appreciate the suffering, determination and efforts of others more than I did before. More than anything though, I feel immensely fortunate to have been part of such a positive, unified human achievement.
I promised my husband that this would be my last marathon. I said that after the last one too. After finishing this one I showed him the back of my finisher's T-shirt and he simply rolled his eyes...!
I REALLY enjoyed listening to The Penguin at the Expo, what a treat. Happy running.