Long story short, I blooming did it, and I did it 5 minutes quicker than anyone in my family ever has before. So I’ll choose to ignore the nearly 8000 people in front of me and just focus on that. My legs wouldn’t work and when I finished I was very much of the mind-set that it was all a very stupid idea and that everyone around me were similarly stupid for submitting themselves to such a thing voluntarily. It’s fortunate that I didn’t write this then really, lol.
Something that did help was that on my way to my charity’s meeting place some elderly ladies stopped me to congratulate me on finishing and told me how incredible I was, that helped a lot actually. What also helped was that she had to ask me how long her son might be before he finishes as he is about 6 miles away.
Anyway, that’s me, first marathon done, looking forward to applying in the ballot on Monday.
Thank you all for your advice and help along the way. And well done on all beating me in the race, (swines) ha.
In the middle of the race it was SOO WARMMMM, in the suburbia type areas, there was no wind and I was getting rather too warm for my liking. I took on as much water as I could and just ploughed on. I cruised through the miles up to Tower Bridge and felt good at that point.
At halfway I clocked 1:45:53 and was taking things at the pace that came naturally (if not a little slower to be careful). But from soon after halfway and onward, I deteriorated a little then a little more. MINNI was spot on with forecasting my endurance wouldn’t be where I needed it, and although I didn’t feel overly ‘tired’ my legs did start to give up on the pace side of things. My knees hurt and calves were not keen on me either. I took 3 or 4 pauses to stretch out and then shuffled on toward embankment. Once I was nearer 20 miles the heat eased, I assume with the breeze from the Thames. I managed to stay concentrated on taking water on-board every other mile and kept consuming my carbs gels every 4/5 miles even though near the end they were truly disgusting after being slow cooked at 200 degrees in my pockets for the previous 3 hours (NB, Lemon Lime SIS gels are way less ‘gross’ than orange when warm).
Thankfully, time is linear and eventually the end had to come and after more than 3 1/2 hours I was within the last mile (and a bit). Then end still seemed so far away but I just kept saying to myself that if I keep going the end comes quicker. By this point the only time I wanted to beat was my brother’s 3:52 and I was watching my pace and time obsessively, making the required calculations way more times than I’d like to admit. It was almost as though I was a goldfish, every time I finished calculating that my current pace would bring me in with minutes to spare, I started to work it out again ‘just in case’.
Due to slow transport services I only managed to arrive at the start area about 20 minutes before ‘KO’ and wasn’t even nearly ready to go, not a fantastic start. I quickly found my way to the green, packed myself up like an old donkey (with carb gels) and made my way to the lorries. Once I had dropped my bag off and only had myself to worry about I made my way to the already completely packed pens. I didn’t have as long as I’d have liked to suss out my best tactics for getting into a more advanced pen, but had a little walk down the line and spotted a marshal chatting to a runner (distracted), so I quickly crept past him and turned my body away from the other marshal and managed to get into PEN 7 undetected. I was aware this wasn’t where I wanted to be, but that I had also just bypassed thousands of people in 8 and 9 and I made my way around to the far edge (as you lovely people advised) front of 7 and therefore, that was a heck of a lot better than I had been looking at 2 minutes before.
At this point we observed the 30 seconds silence for Boston, which by the way was universally flawless in the area I was in, both runners and spectators absolutely quiet. Once the whistle blew to signify the end of this, there was a big cheer and, to my surprise, they dropped the ropes between Pens. To which I looked around and swiftly took advantage of the situation, I went as far down the side as I could and my journey was finally ended around level with the 3:56 pacer and in sight of the 3:45 one. In this regard, I was pleased.
Things started moving and in the early miles I was pretty relieved at how much space there actually was. Obviously I was going to be running where I wanted exactly, but there was definitely to sign of slowing to anywhere the feared complete stop that had been mentioned. I tried my absolute hardest to stay with the pace that was dictated to me by the crowds, always remaining conscious that I should only take the gaps that opened up. I know that MALCS said to avoid jumping on and off the curbs etc, but at a lot of points in the early miles I definitely found it far better than staying in the stressful crowds. Every time I made my way up onto the paths it was due to being cut up and being left with the choice to either expel additional effort in slamming on the brakes, or moving up the curb and continuing there. I definitely feel like the route using the effort to continue momentum was the better bet than using the energy to slow down and then have to speed up again.