Ally, everyone got a bag and a tag and a number. So all the bags and the tags were the same. the number (obvs) went on your shirt, not the bag. All the bags were piled up in a luggage tent, literally thousands of them, with no way to discern whose was which. Bedlam. The organisers spent the next six months apologising.
Go to dcrainmaker.com. Unbiased, in depth reviews of any piece of kit you should be looking at. Personally, as a first sat nav/hrm I'd go for the old skool forerunner 305. The functionality is better than the later 4 series and is easier to use. You can get them for less than a hundred quid on ebay with an hrm strap included. I've used mine on average 4 times a week for nearly 4 years. Never missed a beat. Good luck
Did it last year and will again this. Had the weather not been so appalling, it would have been very enjoyable, luggage debacle notwithstanding. The support was the best I've ever seen, particularly given that it chucked it down all day long. Loos were great, water stations were great, marshalls were great, support was outstanding. Can't wait.
It may sound counter intuitive, but do your stretching the other way round. Some people swear that you must stretch before a run, which I used to do, on that advice. But I found I kept picking up injuries in my calves and glutes. So I tried the opposite. I now never strech before a run, but take a good 10 minutes or more after a workout to do some gentle stretching of everything. I get really good recovery now, very little soreness the next day, and very rarely pick up any injuries. its worked for four years or more! I second the ibuprofen gel advice for soreness, particularly straight after the stretching as you'll get a nice bit of massage too as you work it in. We're all different, so mix it up a bit and see what works for you. Good luck.
Where have you been all our lives Tom? Seriously, thank you for these suggestions. I will happily do any additional exercises/stretches/routine if it means my calves don't buckle. Plyometrics, here I come. But I take your point; end stage rehab. As in, body has had time to repair properly...