The biggest surprise to me was how much of my time I had to devote to training for a marathon. It sounds silly, because obviously it is a big undertaking.
But even just running 4 times a week and doing a 10k most of those with longer runs at the weekend ends up taking up a wapping amount of your day. If you think a 45 minute 10k will in reality with warm ups, cool downs, shower and change of clothes probably end up taking well over the hour maybe even 2, that is a significant portion of your day when you have 2 little people on your mind.
When you reach the weeks with the long runs 15 - 20+ miles you are going to need to set aside half your day pretty much.
And then there is rest time. Just as important as running is the rest and repair period. Are you going to have time to rest minor knocks and sore muscles, maybe go out and get massages/physio if needed?
I'm not trying to put you off (Honest) but you do need to consider the amount of your life it takes up to do it properly.
Just to say though - Best feeling in my life finishing mine. I laid down on the floor and just sat giggling to myself!!
Ah the conundrum of what to wear at the start of a race.... There are a fair few different things I have seen people do. Mine has always been to just tough it out you are going to end up cold and wet anyway.
However that isn't a very functional suggestion so, I have seen lots of people wearing bin bags before races, I've also seen a number of people wearing stuff that probably came from a charity shop and they just lob it when they start. Some races go round and collect the stuff up again for charity.
The idea about chucking stuff to a relative might work, but it depends on the race layout but yeah I imagine you'd be able to do that although might make the start of the race a bit awkward for you.
The overtaking at the start (well anywhere) can be a bit of an issue in big races. Even if you do give people a warning some won't hear (Ipods or just in the moment) and some will ignore you anyway.
As far as I know there is no standard practice for overtaking, unfortunately you may well find yourself stuck behind groups three or more abreast and it can be very frustrating - I just save my energy until a gap appears and dart through - trying to be as courteous to other runners as possible of course!
The worst thing related to overtaking is people clearly starting in the wrong pens, or where there aren't pens people pushing to the front to trundle around right in front of you when you want to dash off into the distance... Makes me angry!!!!
Runny knows has given you some good advice there, I'd add to it by saying that I've found the problem comes from weaknesses in my feet.
I suffered with shin splints (and still do if I put myself in the wrong shoes) last year and when I went to the physio he instantly sorted the problem by supporting my arches with orthotics.
I found that under a gait analysis my arches were normal, but under the stress of a long run the arch would seem to weaken and the pain came on. Supported shoes made it worse.
But I didn't really want to spend the whole of my life in orthotics and found through physio and reading a number of books that being more barefoot would help. Then I came across Eric Orton's book 'The Cool Impossible' (Yep crap title I know).
Anyway the basis of his method of getting people to run well starts with feet strengthening exercises and they are so simple. He uses a slanted wooden board and stands on it on one foot on tip toes for 2 minutes. He does it in 3 directions; facing up the slope and across the slope one with your big toe towards the top of the board and one with your big toe towards the bottom. 2 minutes each direction each foot. You'll likely need something to balance yourself too, he uses ski poles I use a window ledge.
In 2 weeks I have noticed a difference and with the barefoot running and form work I have been doing I was able to run a half marathon on Sunday without any orthotics and without shin splints.
I'm not going to pretend it's an easy road but it can be done... but slowly...