Well, the big race day arrived...and all in all, it was a great day. First, the summary stats:
(1) Low 60s for temperature, partly cloudly, humidity and rain at start, but clearing with cool breeze
(2) Great crowd support along the course, with the Hachie Gal Road Crew in full support mode
(3) Calf injury was a non issue during the race
(4) Greater fatique during marathon #13 than in previous races; I chalk that up to loss of endurance due to training injury
(5) A finish time of 5:17 and over £3200 (or $4700) raised for my charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, UK
For those of you who are only interested in the facts, no need to read further. For those interested in more detail from race day...read on.
The week leading up to the marathon was full of activities to get me into that road warrior mentality. Thanks to colleagues at the office and their baking acumen, a potpourri of baked goods were brought in each day to further raise funds for Guide Dogs. Sales were brisk as the week's earnings totalled more than £140 being raised in food stuffs alone. Never underestimate the power of sweets and their pull on the pocketbook. Thanks to Cyn and Christina for their support! (the Confused Swiss is basking in their photo glory!)
London Marathon Expo
Besides the satisfaction of completion of the race, I always enjoy the London Marathon Expo. On Wednesday, Cyn accompanied me on a field trip to the expo where I picked up that all important race number and timing chip, made my obligatory marathon souvenir purchase (red trainer jacket), and checked out the stalls of running exhibitors hocking their running apparel, trinkets, races, and charity causes. My leisurely day would not have been complete without a pit stop at my charity sponsor booth, Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Of course, I needed a little one on one coaching from a running afficionada!
Guide Dogs play at their exhibit at the London marathon expo.
Sadly, many runners as well as exhibitors were unable to make it to the week long expo courtesy of the volcanic ash. In this photo, the Swiss Marathon folks, like many others, were a no show but their race brochures made it. (Side note: the Iceland Marathon reps were there in full force - irony to say the least).
Pre race celebration
To top off the festivities, my road crew graciously met up with me for Friday night pre-race dinner! Thanks guys....you are the best!
There is nothing like it in the world....call me crazy, but I get excited just thinking about it. First order of business was to don those Lone Star shorts...."You can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take Texas out of the girl!"
Budman captures me at the start of the race in Greenwich.
Rain, rain go away....starting out in Greenwich before the race.
Waiting in the rain for the race to commence at the start line.
And what can I say about that fabulous road crew! They outdid themselves this year in support, planning, and encouragement. I am blessed with the dearest friends and family in my life. Thanks to: Budman, M&M, Cyn, Paulster, Drama, Blondie, Christina, Katalin and Hubby, Confused Swiss, and Martini. I love you guys!
And then, there was the race itself (side note: Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, is running in the butterfly wings).
Hachie Gal is still fresh in the run.
There I am in those shorts!
13 miles down, 13 more miles to go...halfway point at Tower Bridge.
My work colleague, Claire, runs her first race! Kudos on your finish....
Running down Embankment, past Big Ben and down Birdcage Walk.
Coming down the last 200 meters...
The end is in sight!
Crossing the finish line.
Family and friends help me celebrate another marathon!
Days like this one remind me of the blessings in life:
* friends and family who can share in your passions and who encourage you to reach for your dreams, whether in person on race day, through kind emails and cards, and/or through donations to my charity
* health to compete in such a grueling endeavor
* given my chosen charity, eyesight to do the things I want to do every day of my life
* the self determination to put one foot in front of the other in whatever I do
Although the finish time was not what I wanted, I cherish the memory and the experience. Life does not get any better than this.
And yes, although place and date are still TBD, I am looking to do #14. Any takers to join in the fun?