My last post was mainly focused on the negatives of my experience of the London Marathon, as I was feeling quite down about it for a few days afterwards. Another week has now passed and I’ve been trying to put it in perspective, so thought it might be useful to make a list of the things that DID go right for me.
Socks – after a lot of deliberation, and many pairs of socks bought, I decided to wear a pair of 1000 Mile socks. These had proven comfy in training, and are trainer socks, as an added vanity bonus. At the end of 26.2 miles I had a blister on the inside of my big toe but it didn’t hurt (I’ve been walking around with that blister for a week and it still doesn’t hurt).
Shorts – another area of deliberation, I was all set to wear my very comfy Nike Tempo shorts but decided that the back pocket was too small. I trained with ¾ length tights from Decathlon under my shorts, and two weeks before the marathon I bought another pair in the same range, but mid-thigh and neon pink. I know you shouldn’t wear new things on race day, but I cut all the labels out, knew that they fitted as I’d worn an identical (but longer) pair and was absolutely fine with these under my (really quite short) Asics shorts.
Other clothes – I had a tshirt made with my name on it and the charity’s name. I left this until quite late but ordered it through www.personaliseyourvest.co.uk, who were great. It fitted well and all the silly stuff I had printed on it made me laugh. I wore underwear that I knew would be comfortable. I also wore a jumper to the start line that I gave to one of the volunteers just before we started. Apparently all this gets given to charity.
Sunglasses – I hate squinting into the sun, and I feel like my eyes are quite sensitive to sunlight, so I like to wear sunglasses. Good choice, as it was a bright day. And an even better choice as they hid my miserable face.
Pace in the first 10 miles – I’m quite pleased with my pace in the first 5 miles. I was keeping an eye on my speed, using my Garmin, and looking at the results, I did 10:08, 10:07, 10:04, 10:17 and 10:17 (10:17 being 4hr30 marathon pace). The next 5 miles were a fraction slower but all within 20 seconds of each other. At the 10 mile mark it looked like I’d finish in around 4hr35.
Running without music – normally, when I run I’m running by myself, around less salubrious parts of south east London, so I listen to music. I was worried beforehand that I would miss having music (I found the 10k that I did without music really… boring) and took my ipod with me, but never fished it out. I was glad to have it before and after: on the way to the start line it was nice to have something to distract me, and afterwards I found all the crowds quite stressful and liked having music to help get to the tube.
Getting to the start on time – I had a bit of a disaster a few weeks ago when I’d entered a 10k but couldn’t find the start (I hadn’t checked WHERE in the park it started) and rode around in circles looking for it, eventually getting there too late to take part. All the literature for the London Marathon advises you to get there extremely early, and I was initially planning to leave the house at 8am, which would have meant a lot of hanging around in Blackheath. In the end I timed it so that I got to the start with about 45 minutes to spare, plenty of time to check in my bag and go to the loo.
Not meeting people at the end – a few of my friends offered to come and meet me at the finish, but I didn’t want to insist that any of them did, so said I’d make my own way from the finish to the bar. I’m so glad that I did this as the finish area was crazy busy and completely overrun with people. I could focus on getting out rather than trying to meet up with anyone.
So… what’s next?