Wooosh. Well, I finished. It wasn't fast, it wasn't pretty - but I did it! Thanks to everyone for your support, it really was inspiring to know you all were behind me! Battersea will get 2022 GBP thanks to you.
I came in somewhere around 5 hours 53 minutes and I couldn't be happier, considering I wasn't really even sure if I was going to do the race until just beforehand. After all, the day before was spent eating brisket and drinking gin and tonics - I'm sure that is exactly how Paula Radcliffe prepares - at a going away party some beautiful friends threw for us. Various funny business ensued:
|WTF is even happening here?|
So the race started at 10:00 and there were very limited trains to the start. Of course I missed the train I was supposed to get (along with 2 other runners) and thought of just going home and having coffee while watching the stupid race on TV. But then I thought about the people injured and killed in Boston, and the fact that I am leaving London in just over a week, and all the people that were cheering me on in London and the USA - and I knew I had to get out there and try. So I hopped the 9:53 train (along with the 2 other late douches) managed to get to the Greenwich station at about 10:05. But guess what, the "start" is still about 3/4 of a mile from that train station......uphill. Fuck, sorry but that was the only appropriate word for what I thought at that exact moment.
Anyway, I fought my way to the start line through the crowds of spectators walking BACK to the train station - feeling like a total idiot because the race had ALREADY started.
But hey guess what: when 37,000 people line up for a race, it takes a long time to actually "start". I casually walked into the starting chute at about 10:15 and still didn't pass the actual starting line until about 10:20. Awesome. Sometimes, the running gods are kind!
|"See you at the finish", let's hope so.|
A funny thing happens when running 15 minute miles in a gorgeous town, with giant crowds cheering, on a sunny day. You really enjoy yourself and take in the scenery, instead of stress over your mile splits and nutrition. I brought my Ipod but didn't even listen to it because there was so much going on with bands, DJs, people playing music from their front yards, and people joking and talking on the course.
Plus the costumes!!!!! OMG just Google it. The Brits absolutely adore "Fancy Dress".
At mile 15 I had to take a pottie break (and you go in the potties when there are giant crowds like there are in London - also, see the sign). I had to wait in line for about 20 minutes and really, amazingly no one (else) gave a crap. The runners were all so patient. I had to restrain myself and not yell, "WTF are you all doing in there, just do your business and get out and forget fussing with the damn hand sanitizer dispenser in there."
But then I realized, finishing in 5:50 or 6:30 really doesn't matter. Just enjoy the break from running, chill-the-eff-out, and sanitize your goddam hands.
|View from the back! Sorry, these were all taken with my crap phone.|
|One of my favorite parts, crossing the Tower Bridge. Insane crowds on both sides.|
I got a bit misty-eyed passing the apartment that we stayed in when we first arrived in London, it is near The Monument. OK the building is behind the ugly scaffolding on the right there, but I am a nostalgic person so it didn't matter. Commence blubbering.
|Yes we are all walking and yes that guy is dressed as a chicken.|
|I think that guy in the giant costume beat me. At least it was interesting scenery.|
|So close! Big Ben in the background chimed 4:00pm as I ran by, blubbing again.|
And then I FINISHED! Similar to the Barcelona Half Marathon, no pizza, bagels, burritos, pasta, blueberry cake, etc. at the end of the race. Here is your apple, an ill fitting t-shirt, and some Lucozade (Gatorade). That's it. Hit the pub if you are thirsty/hungry.
And so I did. Here I am at the pub with a Sierra Nevada (OK that's very American) and some weird apple cider vinegar crisps (those weird things were British for sure). Recovery complete!
Today I feel OK. My walk/run/Advil plan (not recommended - the Advil part, I mean) served me well. I think I will take the next few weeks to recover properly, I will be in PARIS for a month after all. The perfect place for a proper duck-fat-fueled recovery. You can hate me now.