I don't care though, I wiped 55 minutes of my previous marathon personal best, I raised an additional £1000 for our wonderful hospice (ontop of the £1000 I raised last year by running 7 races to mark 7 years of care by them) and the best bit, all my lovely family were there at the finish to cheer me on!
I can't say that running the London Marathon was the most enjoyable experience of my life, and my inexperience as a marathon runner showed as I broke the cardinal rule of not starting too quickly. I tried to resist the temptation of running around slower runners and adding to my mileage but the notorious London course was so crowded this was essential to prevent crashing into people. I was also delayed at the water stations - having trained in one of the most vicious winters in years, it was a shock to the system on the day of the marathon to be running in bright, blazing sunshine. This required a rethink of my hydration strategy - it's a fine balance to over or under hydrate, so I decided to take sips of water at each station.
The crowds were overwhelming, the noise almost deafening at points. But I was so pleased to see supporters from ShootingStar-Chase at three points along the route, including many nurses who have looked after Daisy over the years. I was at a definite advantage running in my home town, among landmarks I know so well and along some routes I have run before. I have never been so pleased to see Big Ben, I was so in the zone at this point that I did not see or hear Andy and Jules shouting my name, I did see Theo and Xanthe as I rounded the corner to the finish line. They were sitting in the grandstand viewing area so they saw my final push to the finish.
Once I had stopped running I could barely co-ordinate my feet let alone my brain so it was great to be reunited with Andy and the older children and we made our way to the ShootingStar-Chase reception where I was reunited with Daisy, it was the thought of her and what she goes through that got me through the pain of that 26.2 miles. Every day is a marathon effort yet there she was holding court with the hospice nurses who were looking after her while I ran,I gave her my medal, as I do after every race - and then I downed several cups of tea!
And so now the focus is on my next marathon. I decided early in the year that I needed to set myself regular goals to keep my running and training focused. In October I will run the inaugural Bournemouth marathon - I have promised the children that I will run four marathons, one for each of them and then decide what to do next, so Bournemouth in age order is Jules' marathon, followed next spring by the Brighton Marathon for Xanthe and then a further autumn marathon for Theo. I guess by then I may be up for running London again, or travelling further afield for a marathon, or maybe trying a triathlon...watch this space.
In the meantime, life has settled back to a normal pattern. Building work has started at long last for adaptations to the house to provide Daisy with her own wetroom, a hoist and a stair lift, I am back out running regularly again having recovered surprisingly quickly from the marathon and we are gearing up for a hospital stay with Daisy next week and some more possible surgery discussions.
Life goes on, and my medal collection goes up but my biggest fans are behind me so for now, I've got to keep on running.