Well here I am! Looking happy and relaxed at the start of the London marathon, my 25th and the place I was going to get that elusive pb time.
My training has been hard, focussed and has produced great results at 1/2 marathon distance.
I was well rested and raring to go, armed with a carefully thought-out strategy for pacing myself throughout.
You can see where this is going can't you!
The weather forecast was in my favour - cool and bright with showers. Just what I like. How do they get it so wrong? Apart from the first 30 minutes when it was coolish it was HOT and this is never good news for me as I just don't perform well in the heat.
The race started and I was relaxed. I was on a mission and I concentrated on my pace, maintaining an average of 10.5 minute miling to arrive at the halfway mark in 2:18:51, almost exactly what it should have been. But there was a problem; I was feeling a bit sickly from the heat and maintaining that pace was taking its toll. My head started pounding and my tummy felt ghastly. I was well hydrated and sipped my sports drink at regular intervals but I could feel myself struggling.
I could see a lot of people struggling and there were many people receiving medical attention at the side of the road. I remember seeing one young woman lying in the recovery position with a team of medics around her and I noticed how young she looked. I later learned that a young woman had collapsed and died just near Green Park, which is nearly at the finish, and I wondered if it was her.
I won't do a blow by blow account of my race as that would involve a lot of teary moments, struggles and self-pity, suffice to say that I struggled on and on and even at the 22 mile mark I could still have gained a small pb if I could have maintained 12 minute miling but I just didn't have it in me. Even with just 800 metres to go I was still fighting as I noted that if I upped my pace I could make it home in under 5 hours.
I asked my legs to go faster but they were dying and I just couldn't muster any more energy. This is the first time that I haven't sprinted down the Mall to the finish line. As I finally shuffled across it all I wanted to do was crawl into a corner and sob. When Mike met up with me I was a sobbing wreck who sobbed even more when he hugged me! For some reason I didn't want to have my photo taken - another first as even if things have been tough I usually feel proud and manage a big smile. Not this time.
So, with a finish time of 5:00:47 I was 10 minutes the wrong side of my best time for London. To make myself feel better I noted that my time 5 years ago was 5:45 so technically I'd beaten that. But I'd really wanted to beat my long-standing pb of 4:50:55 set in 2006.
At least I got another nice medal and a goody bag and today I'm feeling much more positive about it.
I've got 4 more marathons to crack this year but only 1 of them is a road marathon so I shall have to attack my pesky pb in September at Thanet. Unfortunately this is an undulating route so my task will be harder.
To make myself feel today better I've been out for a 2 mile plod and I really don't feel as if I've just run a marathon
That's given me a great boost. I will beat my pb, I will beat my pb, I will beat my pb!