LONDON MARATHON 23/04/17
As I live a mile from the start and I have done marathons all round Europe I thought it was time to do this amazing iconic event. I was lucky enough to get in on GFA which meant the Green Start. With my adverse blood results and general tiredness I didn't really know what to expect but in between falling asleep (not when I was running!) most of the training went quite well. I get a good dose of maranoia like most of us and the Thursday before I did a short run after work when I struggled to hold marathon pace for a mile. Moira wondered if I should defer the entry to next year but I went off to the Friday expo and the buzz starts to build. I resisted the temptation to try running at world record pace on the giant treadmill. Saturday morning and I did a repeat warm-up run - it was a cakewalk. On Sunday I walked up the road with Moira and Lauren and went to stand in the longest toilet queue I've ever seen. Fortunately living nearby it was just an insurance so I gave up and went to the start chute. I stood next to a woman who was going for the world record dressed as a toilet roll. It was quite an aerodynamic looking toilet roll. I told her I could say I ran beside the new world record holder.Even though it is by far the smallest start there are still 3000 people so it was very congested for the first few miles.
After a few hundred metres I saw my friends Hugh and Jill, it gives a real lift to get a shout out wherever it comes. I got tripped in the first mile but managed to stay upright or I think I'd have been squished into the road like in one of those cartoons. The first three miles have some downhill sections so the challenge is not to go too fast but it does give a nice easy start.After about 5 miles I passed Moira and Lauren, I only just saw them when I was right by them, they said later they were shouting at the top of their voices but it is so noisy and busy, what a fantastic atmosphere.I knew I wasn't in PB shape and I had set conservative A B and C targets as I knew Moira was worried. Cutty Sark came and went and I carried on just trying to let the race come to me.
Every so often I thought I heard ' go Jonathan/Jon' or once 'Jon Trotter' but it was probably delusional and I decided most were for someone nearby who actually had their name on their running top.We got to the amazing Tower Bridge and I was at halfway in 1.46.13, only a minute or two off my PB pace. I had to make a decision and I deliberately tried to ease off a bit rather than risk detonating somewhere up the road. At this point the course comes back the other way and I saw the leaders coming by. With their amazing technique they certainly didn't look as if they were trying as hard as I was.The Isle of Dogs loop seems to be a lot of people's nadir but it was one of my favourite sections, I've always watched the marathon from here and it is busy with spectators all the way now. I saw Moira and Lauren again at Mudchute which was wonderful. At about 18 miles I thought I should eat something having only had a few mouthfuls of water, most of which I pour over my top to keep cool. I had a few shotbloks and one gel in my back pocket but I don't really like breaking the rhythm to eat. I know I run out of energy at 20 miles if I don't. Most the shotbloks had fallen out thanks to my easy pre-opened packets experiment failure. They were forming a sticky mess but I ate the two or three cubes still in the packet.The miles got much tougher now of course. Someone proffered half bananas, so much nicer than the gels.M & L said they would be on the embankment next by the PDSA stand. That kept me going - I thought I can't be dawdling past them!
However I got further and further without seeing them or the PDSA - I discovered later I had got there before them. I ate my caffeine gel, I was slowing down a lot by now as I usually do, I was still trying to give it my best on the day and the marathon is always a brutal challenge of course. Finally Big Ben arrived, the turn right and that finish I had seen so many times on TV. I was able to raise a bit of a final burst to the line.
Having not been sure I was going to be able to run I was in a state of elation really and I thanked all the volunteers I passed and told the marathon photo camera person she was the most beautiful woman in the world 'I know' she laughed.
3.46.47 was somewhere in the middle of my expectations and I have learnt to take what I get on the day.I finally sat down at the meeting point and I had my usual cramping and dancing calves but nothing like the bloke next to me who was writhing around in agony whilst his shocked looking family looked on and tried to stretch him out 'aaargh get off!' He'll be alright.My family were going to be a while as they stayed to watch Lauren's teachers go by so I walked back to Embankment and then over the bridge to the train at Waterloo. Walking after a marathon is the best recovery for me.The whole organisation of the event is superb especially considering the extra security concerns. I cannot fault it in any way and I feel privileged to have participated in this wonderful event, for which London shows its very best in turning out to support.