My story, my joy, my pain! First time and the last time (but I said that after my first half-marathon...)
First marathon, trained really hard. Got to the day, very excited. I was hoping for a sub-4:00, which from my half-marathon times was possible.
For some reason ended up in Pen 9, which seemed strange as I put 3:45 on my application form. I was also running for charity (Breast Cancer Care) in what was certainly the pinkest shirt on the course. The run started off OK, got over the start in 19 minutes and started the slow process of going past the other runners. Things were going well, felt really good getting over London Bridge, really great experience, but due to the volume of human traffic, realised that I had lost too much time, but I needed to finish.
Carried on then unexplained things started to happen. The shoes I had trained in for 8 weeks (this was the last time I was wearing them) decided to get their revenge! At Mile 17 I felt pain in my left foot, but I was not stopping I can assure you. Kept going then the pain got worse in my left foot and pain started in my other foot. Keep going.
Got to Mile 20 then the run "up west". Couldn't believe the number of people watching, unbelievable support, fantastic. Then everything begain to hurt, the brain was telling the legs to keep going, but the desire to stop was great!
I came to about Mile 23 and I was about to stop. My will, the crowd support and the "not letting anyone down syndrome" was not enough. Then I saw Monument, which my daughter and I went to for a school project. I did not want to let her down so I forced myself on. Then I saw the Houses of Parliment and then the turn right to "the palace" (flag flying high). The pain eased slightly as the 600m to go sign appeared. Then it was over.
I was glad I did it. I wished I did it in my 20s instead of my 40s. 4:01.42 and I was happy with that. Was so glad to see my wife and daughter afterwards. Took shoes off and discovered I had lost three toenails and three others were bruised.