I can't say I had the best sleep which is hardly surprising, such was my excitement but I forced the free sample of porridge down me from the goody bag the previous day, stuffed a banana in for good measure and finally forced a piece of toast in just to make sure. It was only 06:30 but I had to last until at least 1030 before I was likely to cross the start line.
Here is the evidence of my arrival at the Red Start area.
To avoid the 26.2 mile queue for the toilets, I decided to trial out the Female Urinals and a P-Mate.
I followed the instructions, marvelled at the ability to walk into a lovely peaceful area that did not stink of pee or poo and was feeling ever so smug about even having a little privacy to use the following cardboard contraption.
And it worked!!! I was so in shock however at peeing upright that I neglected to control my flow and point the funnel area down enough, resulting in a lovely warm feeling in my pants and shorts which looked and felt really attractive. On reflection, I should have gone to the toilet again before leaving the house, as my full bladder would have needed a bucket size cup to have held the weekend of "topping" up liquids which I had successfully managed.
The upside was that I took a good handful of the free things and will certainly practice again as they really were such a welcome alternative to the dreaded queue.
To counteract any potential chafing as a result of early moisture in that area, I slathered on some good old Vaseline and then headed off to my starting pen in Section 6.
The atmosphere was incredible, the sunshine was relentless and the temperature was already near 19/20 before we even started......and I finally did at 10:32. I WAS ON MY WAY!
Early on even- my trusty stalkers back at home were monitoring my every step!
The crowds were awesome and I don't think there was a minute where someone did not shout out my name and provide encouragement.....honestly - I felt like a celebrity ALL the way around the course and for many parts, the music and party atmosphere really did make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Going over Tower Bridge in particular was noteworthy as I was pretty much able to run straight down the middle and take in shouts and whoops from either side - plus I knew I was nearly half way there.
I was over the moon to see my wonderful family at the 18 mile mark and they handed out my trusty bananas which were a planned godsend as I do not work well on gels.....I will say no more but it would need more than a P-Mate to assist in that crisis
I saw them again at the 21 mile mark managed to stop and give each of them a hug and a kiss. This was a normal feature of the run for so many and it was so heartwarming to see how humans gain strength from this simple and effective form of love and support.
The mileage between 22-24 were certainly brutal as the warmth continued to take it out of my legs. I regularly sipped water when I felt the need and found after the generous offers of jelly babies and sweets from the crowd that I perked up a bit for the last 2km towards the Mall.
One of the memorable moments was hearing someone shout out my maiden name along the Embankment and I turned to recognise an old school friend who now runs for Fulham Running Club. Many thanks Rich! - it was great to see you and seeing a home face really spurred me on :)
And I did it!!
I cannot describe how exhilarating this event was. From start to finish I basically had a ball and felt like I was at rave on times! Coming over the line and realising that everything I had trained for had culminated in this achievement and I was quite emotional, especially as I had run the race in memory of my Uncle.
I have smashed my fundraising target for St David's Hospice Care and cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity and support over the last 4 months.
I have also discovered something else.......I want to do ANOTHER MARATHON!
Cheers Peeps - hope you have enjoyed my little adventure. I will be back :)💪