Friday morning train down to Euston was me Katie and our not so small boy anymore. It was good to see others from the club on the platform, we met up with Katrina and train was perfect 2 hours direct from Wigan. From Euston we went on the tube to the excel centre and stopped before going in have some quick lunch.
In the expo we got my race number and drop bag, it was very efficient with no queues and walked round the expo for too long with nothing much I wanted to see or buy. I was hoping to get a poster like we had from other marathon majors. Got the tube back to central London and went to where our hotel was supposed to be but couldn’t find it. I phoned the number to be told it had be cancelled even though had only spoken to them a few weeks ago to add on an extra day. Trying to find a new hotel the Friday before the marathon at 3pm with a tired wife trying her best not to have a breakdown is not fun. Didn’t take long to find hotel near Waterloo not too badly priced with Wi-Fi and breakfast included. Actually worked out cheaper than the cancelled one with extra night and no breakfast so counting it as a win not sure Katie would agree.
Got to hotel, got checked in and a nice surprise that they were doing breakfast early Sunday for runners. We dropped bags and got changed then headed back to Piccadilly Circus to hardrock cafe. We love hardrock always great staff always good food and we had much needed drinks. We pre booked our table nice surprise when Jonathon and Lucy and family came in and got table next to us.
Saturday was less stressful. Got up, got food and out walking round taking pictures for little man to send to school. We walked round the park near the finish and Buckingham palace diversion to sweet shops and coffee stops before heading to the British museum. Couple of hours in the museum before back to the hotel changed and back to meet up with the running club who took over an Italian restaurant thanks to Franco
Good food couple of beers then quiet walk back to the hotel and crash in bed watching bad tv before trying to get an early night.
Sunday morning I got up and ready down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast where there were a few other runners in there had a good chat after the coffee kicked in started to get excited. Food wasn’t really happening. Went back up to the room got last of kit and went to grab the tube back into centre. I met Jonathan and Lucy at charring cross which was a smart move. We got on the empty train but a couple of stops up it soon became rammed. Off the train at Blackheath and grabbed a bag of free sweets then walked with Lucy to her start pen then me and Jonathan round to yellow start. Tried to eat banana and drink water I got given from the hotel but it didn’t really work. Massive queue for portaloo as expected then got changed and then to bag drop. When I got rid off clothes it got cold and started to rain. Just as Jonathon went into wave 1 I waited by a tower, trying to get out the wind and the rain huddled next to a guy from Spain and another from Italy not the greatest of conversation between us three. The elites started then wave 1 went off as we were led to our start.
Walking through the maze of barriers then jogging up to the start line we were away. Lots of space and decent sized groups of runners but everyone seemed to have put right times. I deliberately started slow trying to get into a steady pace, first mile nice and steady at 7.22. I needed 7:15 average to get in for 3:10 next mile also slower than target pace but happy not to go off like a lunatic like I usually do. 3rd mile sub 7 4th mile 7 min mile perfect found my routine trying to avoid the big puddles all the routes had come together and not sure which pacer was from which group. 3:15 pacer went past me but he definitely wasn’t from my start group but seemed to be going quick.
I was happy, miles ticking over and stopped to do my lace because they were wet and came undone. No problem though, I took a gel while I fixed the lace then back running, sticking to the blue line and avoiding the puddles taking the shortest line. There was a wall of noise as we went around Cutty sark, I didn’t realise it was so early in the route. From there looking out for the harriers around mile 9. Heard Kellyanne before I saw her then saw Rachel and the flag. Next up tower bridge it always looked amazing on TV and in person it’s better. Just so much noise but I still had space and actually felt a little emotional. Just felt amazing to finally be doing it to get that experience
After tower bridge I kind off lost my way a bit, it was good to see the elite runners coming back the other way and got into the middle of the road pacing still felt good 1:36 for half was so 3:10 was out the window but still felt capable of pb (3:15:46 twice) next goal for me is 16 miles then can start counting the miles down in single figures. 14-21 mile not really a lot going on it’s a bit odd to go under tunnels and then into tall buildings gps and pace goes out the window. The 3:15 pacer came past me and I just tried to stick with them as best as I could without being swarmed by the group, hate being boxed in. Hair was really doing my head in so had to stop and tie it back and have another gel then head phones in around Mile 20. Hadn’t hit the wall and was still in it but needed a bit of a boost.
Think it was around mile 22 where the club where cheering again. Trying to do the maths to work out what pace I was doing and if I could pb still, it was still possible but mile 23 it was slipping away and at 24.5 knew it was gone then really struggled last couple of miles
Crossed the line in 3.20.08 and really happy overall, I couldn’t have ran any harder and really enjoyed myself and can finally say I’ve done it. Walking through the finish to get medal and t shirt then off to find the club. Find out how teammates have gone on and who’s still out there.
Kate arrived with little man and a friend who I’ve not seen for years since moving down to London. The hunt was on now for dirty cheeseburgers and lovely creamy Guinness. Found the pint first then burgers and more pints. Too much walking around after the marathon for my liking but probably did me some good to keep moving
4 pints later hotel shower dressed again then down to hotel restaurant for pizza and cakes