I finally feel coherent enough to post. Lots to tell - but hope I can be eloquent enough to capture the event. Danzargo has done a brilliant spectators post- which pretty much captures the atmosphere.
The night before - I was not exactly nervous - but I was very distracted - could not eat my dinner - was constantly checking my kit - which I had Dumbo like dependance on - at one point rampaging round my hotel room because I could not find my long run running socks - but there they were tucked in my running shoes-sigh. Had a very tetchy conversation with with concierge about best route to start- he gave me a very complicated train route- "I know this madness - I live near Greenwich..." I suggested perhaps the alternative route was Jubilee line and then the DLR - Long hard stare -'actually that is more straight forward and it will be quicker' he replied.
On the morning I was up and at em for 6 30- out the door by 7 30. And the day of being a Rock Star Began. I show boated through the streets of London - where surprisingly there were many people out and about not just those with Virgin London Marathon (VLM) bags. For the runners all journeys were free- we were just hustled through like super stars. A few runners stopped me to ask which way to go and which journey to take. Feeling confident - I gave directions- but from a distance they clung to me like limpets. (It was slightly unnerving when most of the runners got off at London Bridge - but I held my nerve to Canary Wharf - my limpets looked sideways at me - but stuck with me ).
The atmosphere up to Greenwich park was beautiful and crazy - I followed a tiger up, someone dressed as a glitter ball- all was a very bonhomie atmosphere. Once at the start you hand your bag in and then join the longest loo queue in the world - which I was still standing in at 10 00! Incomprehensible to describe the number of people - we heard Mo go off and then half an hour later I crossed the start line. Big thumps of the heart and gulping tears - to think I was actually here doing it. The start is very much locals - all quite casual really - no barriers- small hands held out for high fives- lovely.
I had two chief concerns- 'hitting the wall' and the heat. I was massively over- hydrated and very quickly needed a loo stop- another queue!! It was very warm and by 10 miles - I felt quite daunted - my legs were really achey and still 16 to go. I felt very tearful - to have come this far and to be struggling at 10 miles. I knew my family were at 11 miles - and what a boost they gave just to see them - here them cheering- quick hug and on my way. I made my mind up there and then - I would finish- in whatever way I could - I also thought of all the advice I had been given and the main one was ENJOY. So I gathered my headspace - held my head high and set my sights on Tower Bridge- I wanted to run over that in confident style - the wall of sound as I rounded the corner towards the Bridge was extraordinary-This is when the yells of your name really come in- mine had printed in big red was 'Suzy B' - the chant of that back at you as it went like a Mexican wave through the crowds was fabulous - made me grin and smile and cheer- pulling me along. Occasionally someone would really insistently call your name - like they knew you - it felt very personal. I loved that feeling of hearing my name - very addictive - And easy to get - if you flashed a smile- waved- high fived some children - the spectators need acknowledgement too
At mile 15 - canary wharfish- chaffing started - aargh - had to actively look out for the gloved - Vaseline hand of st johns - spotted one - and had to rather indiscreetly shove my hand down my shorts and apply - where needed! I knew now I was into single figures to count down 26 miles. So a mile at a time - I was definitely walking/running now - but kept my miles at 12 min mile pace. The 5 hour time was blown - but maybe six?. So I set myself targets- highlights as follows:
-over took the oldest marathoner (yay)
-passed the full brass band in bight orange - twice- no mean feat they took up the whole road (stopped to talk to --a friend and they passed me again!)
- me walking and chatting to a chap running - he suddenly said - 'you can walk faster than I can run - I am holding you up - go" so I went
-the walking horse
- And the best of all the Tiger- I saw him 200 hundred yards ahead - a model of a tiger in a roar position - being carried on the runners back. He was in my sights - and I managed a fair sprint and overtook him much to the pleasure of the crowds - 'Suzy B Suzy B...."
At mile 25 my family again cheering and shouting- and bullied me into running - which the crowds loved and carried me along chanting my name.
Last mile- the longest and slowest - but the 800 metre sign a very welcome sight. Over the finish line - Yay. Two thoughts - The guy with the fridge on his back had beaten me - if I had seen him - I would definitely have over taken him and " I can do better than this'
Injury count: 5 black toes, feet feel like they have been hammered, unsightly chaffing at top of legs, thighs like concrete.
Jealous friends: Fall into two camps - those who have done it - wishing they were doing it again. Those who have said they could never do it - seriously considering entering next year. So if anyone is interested the ballot opens 22 April - my name will be going in that ballot box!
Happy running - thanks for your support - I simply could not have done this without C25K and all of you. Much Love Suzy B