Well that's one more major marathon ticked off my bucket list and I can't tell you how glad I was to cross that London Marathon Finish Line. Now that I've had a few days to reflect and I've seen my official race photos to remind me of the experience, I can say with some certainty that my first London Marathon will probably be my last and I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped.
There were a few factors that counted against me on this occasion. When I travel for a marathon I usually fly in the day before to pick up my race packet at the expo and I'm running the next day, whilst this time flying in from L.A. and traveling around Wales and England to see friends and family was a change from my usual routine.
By the end of the 26.2 mile course I was completely frustrated by all the well-meaning well-wishers telling me to "keep going" and "don't stop now" when I was taking a walk break from very early on in the race.
Being in my home country I was hoping to see more people I knew along the course, but I really didn't as the sidelines were so packed, even though I knew my friends were out there.
Running across Tower Bridge was a big thrill and through a teeming Canary Wharf, but it wasn't until the Embankment and Westminster that I saw those infamous London landmarks. By that stage I wasn't really in the mood to take it all in, I just wanted to finish.
Just as I came to the last dash I spied another runner for the Terrence Higgins Trust, also raising funds for the HIV/AIDS charity, and I asked if he wanted to run hand in hand across the Finish Line which was the theme of this race after the first ever London Marathon on March 29, 1981, where the winners Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen famously crossed the line together holding hands.
After finishing this race it felt like I'd never run a marathon before and this was my first time, my legs throbbed so much that walking to the family reunion area was absolute torture.
It really is a shame that I didn't have a better London Marathon experience, but then I always conveniently forget how hard running 26.2 miles can actually be (and I've run in all kinds of conditions before from sweltering heat to torrential rain and freezing winds). At least I finished with a smile on my face.
Time to start thinking positively about my next marathon, but not before I celebrate this one with a few more sneaky cocktails...