What can I say?! Everything went right on the day - I've never felt so proud of myself and can't wait for next year!
What can I say?! Everything went right on the day. All my long runs, intervals and carb-loading was all completely worth it. I followed RW's sub-3:30 training schedule as much to the letter as I could, only having to stop for a Achilles injury sustained while running in the icy weather in January.
As 9.45am approached I felt excited but surprisingly level-headed as I knew I'd done everything I could to prepare. There I was, standing at the start of the Virgin London Marathon! It was on my list of "must dos" before I turn 40 (I'm 38 at the moment). Only taking two minutes to cross the start line was brilliant and I was surprised how quickly I managed to reach a reasonable pace. My Dad had told me to keep my eyes down and pick my route through - that was great advice as I seemed to slip through the other runners easily. I needed an average pace of 8-minute miles to get 3:30 but by the time I reached Mile 4 my average was less. I'd settled into my run really well.
Right from the start, the supporters were amazing. The constant cheering and waving provided motivation and distraction from the miles! How weird it seemed when we entered tunnels where all you could hear was breathing and feet pounding - quite surreal!
I hit the halfway point in 1:42 so I was ahead of my plan. I allowed myself to feel pleased and excited at the prospect of being under my finish time! By now, the miles just seemed to be falling away. My breathing was steady and quiet and my legs felt strong. The temptation to push hard at this point was strong but I was afraid I'd mess it all up and end up wobbling across the finish line!
My legs started to feel a bit heavy as I ran up the incline onto the Embankment but I refused to slow my pace - I was so close now! Then I saw my Dad hanging out from the barriers around Mile 25, shouting and waving. That was all I needed to keep me going. The next thing I remember was seeing the "800m to go" sign so I dug in and picked my pace up a little only to realise that 800m at the end of a marathon feels strangely longer! Again, I refused to back off, so close, so close!
There it was, around the bend, the finish line! Thank you to the supporters who shouted my name as I ran to the line. Smiling like a ridiculous Cheshire cat, arms raised, I crossed the line in 3:26 and couldn't stop whooping and cheering.
I've never felt so proud of myself and can't wait for next year, apparently I automatically qualify? Well done everyone!