The Thursday before The London Marathon, I was really excited because I had to go to collect my running number from Excel, London.
I had a lovely day there looking around the exhibition stands at the range running gear and trying on different styles of trainers.
There were a couple of informative talks about fueling before and during the marathon and how to cope with the race itself.
THE VIRGIN LONDON MARATHON
I had to be at the Station at 7am to catch the train into London.
The train was packed with Marathon runners some were excited and some were nervous. A buzz of conversation surrounded the train as we were all trying to get tips off each other of how to cope with the 26.2 miles.
We soon arrived at Greenwich which was the starting line of The London Marathon for the charity places.
When I arrived at the start line, it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and there was a breeze.
I found the other runners from The Children’s Trust and we had some photos taken before we had to hand our bags into the baggage lorries which would then take them to the finish line.
I then made my way to my starting point. Everyone was really nervous by this time. There were so many people in different costumes and some quite funny. We were all running for charity and all for different reasons close to our heart.
I had butterflies in my stomach. I thought I was going to feel full from all the extra carbs I’d been eating and the bowl of porridge for breakfast but I felt empty. It felt as if we were waiting to go on a big roller coaster ride.
At 10am the siren went and we very slowly made our way forward to the start line. I was quite far back as I was in the 4.45hr group.
I had a plan in my head to take it easy for the first 5 miles. There were masses of people that we were elbow to elbow to each other it was quite difficult to get a good pace going. I didn’t want to use too much energy by weaving in and out of people so whenever I saw a gap I squeezed forward. I could feel the anxiety in the air as we were all trying to find our pace.
At 5 miles, I took my first energy gel which I did every 5 mile through the race. There were water stops at every mile and Lucozade stops every 5 mile. We were just taking a few sips and then throwing the bottles to the side of the road. There were bottles everywhere you had to be careful not to fall on one.
We passed Cutty Sark at Mile 6 but I don’t remember this as I must have been focusing on my pace.
I tried to increase my speed slightly when I could. These first few miles had been quiet but as we turned the corner I could hear the sound of drums and there were swarms of people either side cheering. We all had our names printed on our running shirts so people could shout out our name to encourage us to keep going.
The miles seemed to be whizzing past with so much going on around us creating a bustling atmosphere. We were already at mile 10 and now I thought I really should get a better pace going. My ankles had started hurting because it was difficult to run properly.
We were not far from London Bridge, the road started to widen and I was able to lengthen my stride but I didn’t want to go too fast as I knew I had a long way ahead of me. As we hit London Bridge, the atmosphere was amazing with all the crowds cheering and shouting your name. There were balloons and banners highlighting the different charities. There was a ray of colour surrounding us. This was overwhelming and emotional and I felt proud to be British and to be part of such an amazing event.
At mile 14 I was desperately looking our for The Children’s Trust balloons and banner which is where my friends and family would be standing. It was lovely to have their support and to hear them cheering me on very loudly!
It was still quite hard to get a good pace as the roads through mile 15 were very narrow, the pedestrians had come onto the road rather than staying on the pavement and some runners had started to walk. People were offering us sweets, bananas, biscuits to build on our energy stores.
I couldn’t believe when I arrived at mile 16 with so much energy in store and the time had passed so quickly. I ate my lucozade bar to give me that extra boost till the end and really focused on picking up my pace still holding a little back for the last 6 miles.
I remember passing pubs with live music and live bands and dancing with my arms while I was running.
At mile 19 and 20 we circled Canary Wharf where the atmosphere boomed again. The roads started opening up so I lengthened my stride once more.
At mile 22 I was again looking out for my family. Once I was them I was on a mission to finish.
I was running my fastest, I could hear the crowds shouting my name, I was overtaking everyone as most people were tired but because of my slow start I had plenty of energy in store.
I was counting down the miles. It wasn’t until I passed mile 25 that I felt my energy stores were slightly depleting but I kept pushing on until the finish line. I could see a lot of people struggling by this point, some people’s legs were buckling underneath them.
I crossed the finish line in 4.13hrs….I was buzzing from adrenaline, I had enjoyed the whole experience.
All I can say is WOW….what an amazing experience to run The London Marathon.