A mini London Marathon…
I was lucky enough to obtain a ballot place in the London Landmarks Half Marathon so I’ve had this in my race calendar since last summer. Having heard such great things about the 2018 I was really looking forward to it.
I traveled down to London the night before – staying in a nice room via Air B’n’B that I’ve stayed in before, stopping a bowl of pasta and some bread on the way. We all know how much I love pasta so I headed over to Emilia’s Crafted Pasta at St. Katherine’s Dock and had a warming soy hot chocolate from Starbucks for dessert!
After an AMAZING night’s sleep I had my pre-packed peanut butter and jam bagel on the tube on the way to the start line.
A gorgeous morning – the sun was shining so I took a nice stroll from Embankment station to The Mall where the bag drop area was. The race day information advised to get there 20/30 early in order to drop bags off due to ques’. I arrived 8.30ish and it was fine – with the weather being so good I thought the earlier the better.
There were a few warning’s beforehand about minimal toilets and the queue’s but I managed two-loo stops pre-run with minimal/no queues.
I met up with someone from my running club and made our way to the startline. I was in wave 4 and would be going off at 9.54, however there was nobody checking waves and even though I tried to hold back I somehow made my way into the 9.38am wave!
Feeling nervous I got chatting to someone next to me and the next thing we know we’re through the start gantry and the race has begun.
Worried I would go off to fast, my mantra was:
‘It’s my race and my race only. It’s me against myself.’
I wasn’t too sure on my pace, I just kept myself going until my first checkpoint – 45 minutes – as that was walk for a gel time. Gel walk came and went, the atmosphere was amazing and the weather warm. I was feeling strong.
Hour and a half in I was doing well for time/mile. I had another gel walk and though I started to feel tired picked myself up and plodded on. A few minute or two walk breaks to keep myself at a sustainable pace.
A surprise hill at mile 10 – Waterloo Bridge I think – threw me and a lovely lady running for Tommy’s patted me on the back which spurred me on.
Embankment felt NEVERENDING! The final mile did not want to end! My legs started to cramp which I’ve never experienced before – any tips to make this stop would be appreciated! I carried on though knowing that I wasn’t too far from the end. The Strava segment for the final mile clocked me at an 8.37 mile which I was pretty impressed at.
Finally the 13 mile mark and a corner to go to reach the finish line. I picked it up at this point (or at least I thought I did, it was highly likely the supporters thought I was doing an interpretation of Pheobe from Friends).
Now I’m not sure where on route I realised I would PB but it must have been somewhere… I secretly hoped for sub 2.15 – an aim for quite sometime – but by mile 11 I realised I could achieve that and more.
Crossing the line in 2.07.38, my mind was blown. My watch recorded me doing 13.26 and actually hitting the half marathon mark in 2.06.14. Either way I’ll take it! My last PB was Oxford 2017 in 2.17.05 so it’s fair to say I’m amazed about how much time I managed to knock off.
As we crossed we received the amazing medal, lucozade, water an eat natural bar and sweatband. The t-shirt arrived in the post with our numbers.
There were so many supporters, amazing entertainment with drums and bands throughout the route as well as themed zones (my particular favourite the Tri-Wizard cup that had been brought out in the Harry Potter area) and fun facts about the sights of London on route – not that I remember any now!
Half Marathon number 12 complete and the BEST out of the 12! If you don’t fancy a marathon but want the experience or if you just want to run in London then the London Landmarks Half Marathon is for YOU! I’ve already pre-registered for 2020…. let me know if you’re on the list.