So today was the day and what a glorious day – the weather was very good and we were treated to a spectacular autumnal day.
I was more than a little stressed/worried en route to the bag check but there was still time for Richard and I to stop and take some photos of the phenomenal sunrise.
I was apprehensive and worried about a number of things but I needn’t have been. All the time and effort I have put into my training have paid off and I am very happy that I crossed the line at 2:21.
I joined the 2:30 group and was worried it may take 3 hours to get to the end because of how long ago I started to taper but once I got started I needn’t have worried.
The atmosphere and the buzz of the crowd really do help carry you but I was sensible enough to ensure that I did not run too fast and that I maintained a good pace.
I was ahead of my average pace for most of the race but was sensible with my splits and ensured that I had a couple of gels at the 50 minute marks. That and the ample supply of water and Lucozade, I was more than hydrated and fuelled enough for the run.
Richard and I stayed in town to enable us to be there in time for the start of the race (bag drop was from 7:30 am). We walked down from the Hilton in Queensway and made our way to the baggage area. Shortly after that we met Paul and then briefly Em and her boyfriend Liam.
We dispersed at that stage and that was the last time Paul and I saw everyone again. We didn’t get to catch Enda or Faergal at the start and by the time Paul and I completed our warm up (courtesy of the Royal Army) – it was already time to get going.
Well it wasn’t – we queued for a final pee stop but it took 30 minutes to get to the toilets. That’s my only compliant this year as I missed the start as I had just got to the loo. That’s not a big problem when 16,000 people as my group didn’t actually cross the line until 9:30 anyway.
There were runners of all shapes and sizes and as usual they were all very friendly.
The route was brilliant and I was privileged enough to run on roads that are usually chock full of cars in London. Running over Westminster Bridge in the road, down the centre of The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, up through Whitehall etc – all made for a very inspiring and fun race.
Here is the full race route – how many famous sights can you name?
I wasn’t completely ready for such a grand crowd but boy did it help! For the first time I had my name on my running top (thanks to the British Heart Foundation sending me the letters) and it was fun to run and hear your name. I tried to thank everyone who called out my name (Ian Waite from Strictly Come Dancing called out my name as I crossed the finish ) but to be honest I did concentrate a lot and didn’t hear everyone.
I have to say thank you though to:
- The blonde lady on the Embankment who gave me a very loud cheer and a smile
- The guy by Embankment bridge who shouted “go on my son” and as I turned to thank him, he winked at me
- The support team from the British Heart Foundation – I have never given so many high fives!
- All the other charity supporters who were great at getting you motivated
This really made a huge difference and I spent most of the run with a smile on my face.
I didn’t start to feel uncomfortable until about the 8 mile marker but to be honest it was nothing I couldn’t handle and even though my mid run maths was a bit dodgy I was determined not to stop running, not to walk and to do as best I could.
About the 11 mile mark I think I calculated I was on for 2:30 which was bang on target but didn’t let it phase me and continued on at the pace.
I was a little annoyed by tourists and Londoners who insisted on crossing in front of the runners (thanks for that) and by those who chose to walk whilst not moving to the side of the tracks but that’s all part of racing I guess.
I did set RunKeeper which (even though I didn’t think it did), actually did a great job of tracking my run and uploading my information to the web live. The Royal Parks App only seemed to work for a while but as Richard said this morning it had to fail given how it had to broadcast live updates of 16,000 runners!
I did see one celebrity – Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) was decked out in his tracksuit heading towards the baggage area whilst smoking a cigarette – don’t you love superstar DJs!
I want to say a big thank you to Richard for supporting me through all this and for the late dinners and all the rescheduling of our weekends we have done to enable me to fit in all of my training. After all I even did some training in Vancouver! I could not have done it without his support. Richard has taken some brilliant photos from the day and even though I didn’t see him and Paul in the crowd on the home straight, he did manage to capture my progress perfectly. I love my baby x
I also want to thank Paul for all his training advice and support, for coaching me through my running and joining me on our odd lunchtime in London. Thank you so much Paul you are a star!
Thanks have to go to WalkJogRun whose Beginner Half Marathon training plan I used to get me up to speed and to the guys from Full Potential who were brought in by the British Heart Foundation to help the Heart Runners train efficiently and effectively.
And of course thanks to all of you for your support, your encouragement, for sticking with me and following my journey on the blog.
And last but not least thanks to everyone who has sponsored me in my efforts to raise as much as I could for the British Heart Foundation. There is of course still time to sponsor me but thank you all for helping me break through my target and raise a massive £1,365.65! Thank you all.
Here is a selection of photos Richard captured today