Then it was time to head to the start line....
It was cold and wet and I was wearing a few layers to discard once the race began. I had been put in pen 9 (so right at the back) so I knew I had a long wait to cross the start line. Had a chat with a few people; "where are you from", "is this your first marathon", "what did you have for breakfast" etc, etc. Finally got across the start line at 10.24am.
Had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction during the first few miles. My super duper running pouch wouldn't stay put as it was stuffed full of gels so I had to carry it like a clutch bag. In hindsight I'd just packed it badly, but no point dwelling on that now! First mile was mildly enjoyable. The second mile was not so great. And by the third mile I had settled. The early miles are my favourite part of the marathon. Perhaps it's because it has a feel of a less high-profile race in the early stages before the drama of the centre of London.
The first 8 miles felt ok. My leg was hurting me but I felt fairly comfortable. I couldn't seem to shake off the hairy pair of testicles that were running in aid of testicular cancer. In fact at one point he nearly knocked me over. Great. I'm taking part in one of the greatest marathon's in the world and I get knocked over by a hairy pair of testicles!! Just my luck and you know that will be the one and only time I get on the TV!
As I approached the halfway point everything was beginning to hurt. Tower Bridge was once again amazing. The support all around the course was pretty damn good but I can't begin to describe the noise that is generated at this point. It is incredible and it is almost...almost worth doing the marathon just for this experience.
Even though I knew it was coming this time, I have a real mental block at the halfway point. At this point you meet the runners coming in the other direction who only have 6 miles left, but yet you are only halfway. For me this has proven to be a deal breaker and I find it very difficult to recover from this negative head. I did what I said I wouldn't do this time, lose the will to live and begin walking.
Everything was now hurting, particularly my hips. I really tried to keep up a good pace but I was now hating every minute of it. Finally at 14 miles I got to see my family and friends, which gave me a little boost. I can't remember what happened after that...it's all a bit of a blur.