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