London Marathon - April 21, 2013

I had arrived in London on the Thursday and taken the kids to my parents house out in Gloucestershire. I took the train back up to London the day before the race and my friend and host for the weekend Sue met me at Victoria Station. We headed straight to the expo.. always fun to walk around a giant room filled with running stuff and 1000’s of other people that enjoy running as much as me! I picked up my packet containing my race bib, timing chip etc. And also bought some VLM running shorts and coffee mug and 2 VLM teddy bears for the kids! Sue and I shopped around the free samples and some other good deals! Then we went back to her place for some time with my feet up before we met Laura for dinner. Sue, Laura and I had met at the Vegas 70.3 Worlds back in Sept and they both live in London so it was great to catch up with them.

Race morning i woke up right on time after a solid 8 hours sleep. I have the amazing ability of being able to sleep any time any place! I followed Sue’s hand written directions to take the underground over to my GREEN start area. No need to worry as there were quite a few other runners on the same route! On the 2nd train I met 3 girls from a running club in Sunderland. They were all around my pace as it seemed like most of the green start runners all had “good for age” times, ie. They had qualified to get in as I had done. The start area was pretty entertaining as they had a big screen and were showing people dressed in costume from other start areas.. asking people to vote for songs etc. After a little while it was time for us to drop our gear bags and head to the start pen. I was surprised to be so close to the front. I was in PEN 3 and was only about 100 ft back from the start line. The commentator spoke briefly about the horrific events in Boston just 6 days before and then we had 30 secs of silence. It was amazing, 37000 runners and you could have heard a pin drop. A really nice tribute to show our respect for so many people who’s lives will never be the same after that day.

A few minutes later and we were OFF!! We moved out pretty smoothly as a group. Close by in my coral there were 3:15 and 3:30 pacers. I LOVED their back-pack devises to carry their flags. MUCH better idea that holding a stick like we do in the USA!! My goal was to stay in between the 2 pacers but the 3:30 pacer was going way too fast. His sign said 7:26 pace but he was definitely ahead of that as we tried to settle in to a good pace. My garmin said 7:06 – 7:11 min miles for miles 2 & 3 and then 6:53 for the 4th mile. The 3:30 pace guy was still in front of me. I knew I needed to get back to my planned 7:40 – 7:50 pace. I kept picturing my friends at home tracking me and yelling at me to SLOW DOWN! LOL.

All of a sudden the 3:30 pacer started jogging on the spot and I assume tried to get back on to his proper pace. The 3:15 pacer passed him and all was right in the world again! I know better than to rely on pacers as they are not always accurate with their pace so my own fault.. the crowds were AMAZING though. It was like coming down a finish chute for the entire course! I knew that fast start was going to come back and bite me in the butt at some point but I didn’t want to let it stress me out so I tried to relax and just get on to my pace.

We ran across Tower Bridge which was really cool. I was starting to feel it a bit but still keeping a decent pace. By about mile 23 though I was definitely hurting and slowing down. I was also starting to see a lot of runners cramp up and stagger off to the side to stretch, or stop and walk. Walking is not the end of the world but for me I find it is really hard to start running again after I walk. I figured it would be better to keep running even at a slightly slower pace than stop and/or walk. My new goal was to stay under 9 min miles and not let them man in the gorilla costume pass me!! We can around by the London Eye which is a specacular sight.. then I saw Sue screaming my name!! 2 thumbs up! I was now searching the crowds for my Dad, Brother and Sister-in-law. It was loud and lots of people both sides of the course, I ended up missing them although they saw me. I just happened to be on the opposite side of the course when I passed them. I read there was a record 700,000 spectators! Finally I saw Buckingham Palace and I knew I was getting closer! A big sign in the middle said 800 yards remaining. I tried to think about how easy that is on a track. it didn’t seem easy right now! After what seemed like another mile or so another sign that said 600 yards, really??! Finally I could see the finish line. I made no illusion of a sprint finish I left everything i had on the course! Finish time was 3 hours 27 minutes. Not a PR (PB in England!) but I was thrilled to have held it together and stay under 3:30.

It was great to have my family there to see me at the recovery area and we could not have asked for better weather for running. Some of the locals were complaining it was hot for them but for me it was perfect. We hung out on the grass by Buckingham Palace. ate and drank. The race was so well organized from start to finish. There were even changing tent for us to switch out of our sweaty clothes and little ramps so that volunteers removing our timing chips could sit in between and not have to bend down to reach or make us lift our oh-so-tired-legs! My legs were in probably the worst shape they have been for a while. Defintiely not my smartest run race but I had a blast and it was an unforgettable experience!

Finish time 3:27:24, overall place 4262, 509th female, 321st female under 39.

I also apparently beat 83% of all men! You can see more info here



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