I made it! I was injury free, I ran it and I enjoyed it!
Weetabix and banana before dawn, (Why are races so early?) then off to meet fortnightflo, abradypus and plustenner at the tube station and a quick coffee before we made our way to the park. By the time I got to the station it was no longer raining and had warmed up so half my clothing was not required. I was relieved to find that I was not the only one who’d brought along the kitchen sink! We got to the park just after 8.30 and prioritized the loo queue over bag drop. We cleared bag drop just as it was time to head to the start pen.
My race plan was to get round and to enjoy it. I started with the others whose planned pace sounded ideal knowing, because of lack of recent mileage, I only had a few miles running in me at the sort of pace I manged last year. It was very enjoyable running with company and we chatted as we went along and the miles appeared to pass remarkably quickly. Abradypus pushed on ahead while we paused at the water stop at 4 miles and the rest of us carried on at a nice steady pace. I decided to check how I was at the half way or at 10 miles and whether to go on ahead at a faster pace. At half way I could feel my legs tiring and was very comfortable at the pace we were running and enjoying being free from the self pressure of clock watching and pushing myself on. Between 10 or 11 miles I probably could have upped my pace and gone on alone but was feeling a little lazy! Finally, just after 11 miles, when the others slowed for a brief walk break I decided to go on so plugged in my iPod and went ahead weaving through the slowing runners ahead. I pushed the pace for the last mile and ducked in just under 2 and a half hours at 2.29.45.
Thankyou plustenner and fortnight flo for the great company! A month ago you suggested I should come and run it with you if I could get back from injury and that became my goal. Mission accomplished, thankyou!