After 4 months of hard training it’s finally here, this is my “A” race, and personally I have some unfinished business with the marathon, two years ago I missed my goal time by a combination of lack of long runs and over confidence, this time there is no such excuse I have followed the plan like it was the bible, I have added cross training even messed about with my diet. Honestly there is nothing more I could do, without dramatically changing my ordinary life and commitments.
Two weeks before and its weather watch, really don’t care what it does but please, please, don’t be hot. So what does the weather man say, race day 20 degrees C which doesn’t sound bad but all my long runs have been at 5 degrees and that’s a big jump, then you here about the hell the runners went through at Boston and I really started bricking it, even did all my taper runs on the treadmill to try and get used to warmer temperatures.
Typically the weather man has been talking garbage, its 4 degrees “Yippee” and chucking it down with 40+ mph winds “Doh” but I am not going to worry about this, it’s only rain and skin is water resistant and with me knocking close 200lb wind isn’t going to do much.
Getting to the race was pretty uneventful left with plenty of time, pre paid the parking, clock work so good so far.
Waiting for the race to start was not ideal the start was on the road and very exposed but the camaraderie started to lift the atmosphere and a buzz was in the air, we were all ready for the starting gun.
Bang... off we go, for the first few miles all that was going through my mind was “if it feels easy it’s too fast” yes, i was little paranoid about blowing up before the finish, but that has always been my down fall and I didn’t want it to happen today.
The course was a lot more congested than expected, basically it was pathways two to three people wide and lots of tight changes of direction but the big surprise was the elevation change, the map issued by the organisers showed little elevation change but in real life there were lots of small sharp changers as we went under hundreds of underpasses, according to my Garmin these changes accumulated to a 4700ft climb 4640ft decent, so overall it was a bit of good and bad just to make pacing interesting.
The other bonus of this type of course was with the exception of the odd bit we were well sheltered from the wind, there was plenty of different scenery to look at from lakes to reservoirs a small industrial estate, some vast parks and a wind surfing centre. One bit of bad scenery was my first encounter of the ginger bread man, at mile 5 I could smell it, wrongly I assumed it was just a dog walking area until this guy overtook me after what had been post full explosion, now don’t get me wrong we all have experienced a emergency pit stop but this guy just couldn’t have stopped, there were portapottys every mile and there were thousands of trees to hide behind , frankly there was no need 20 seconds is not that important especially considering the course conditions, I was just glad he was faster than me not someone you want to follow for the next 3 hours.
Miles 5 to 20 became a bit of a blur whilst trying to get into a groove the one thing going through my mind was “if I can get to 20 miles I will run in the last 10K” this rapidly became a theme to the run almost an unofficial Mantra, I do remember the support was really good considering the conditions and there seemed to be a group of people in every under pass whooping away, which was pretty cool with all the echoes. Then there was what seemed like hundreds diversions around flooded parts of the path, each time this raised the question “do I plough through and get very wet feet or do I try to limit the damage but lose rhythm” up to 20 I went with damage limitation after that didn’t care.
Miles 20 to finish, this was the hillier part of the track not saying there was anything epic but it was pretty consistent, however that was not the tough bit the tough bit was to keep going, I knew if I didn’t walk I would be under 4hrs if I did I wouldn’t and 4 hours was the goal at this point my hips were tightening up and my calf was starting to hurt and frankly I felt spent, the distance read out on my Garmin seemed to go in slow motion. Every mile closer to the finish was a little goal were I would tell may self not long now just a short recovery run left. Finally the stadium came into site which was a welcome sight I tried to give it a bit of a burst of speed but had nothing left, everything was left on the course today and when I crossed the line in a time of 3:53:40 a massive PB of 27mins from last time and beating the 4hr demon there should have been a feeling of euphoria but instead it was just exhaustion. To be fair the euphoria did come later once I warmed up in the car had a bit to eat and drink spoke to the misuses, I actually enjoyed the drive home knowing it was a job well done.
Me Crossing the finish line exhausted
My mile splits.
8:32, 8:37, 8:36, 8:22, 8:23, 8:30, 8:43, 8:39, 8:47, 8:30, 8:27, 8:40, 8:46, 8:32, 8:46, 8:32, 8:52, 9:07, 8:57, 9:15, 9:19, 9:13, 9:31, 9:22, 9:29, 9:09, 8:16
Very happy with these the plan was to run even splits and I pretty much did that, with having nothing left at the end I know I gave it my all, a race were at the end there is no regrets, nothing I would go back and change so very happy with the outcome.
The only question Left is “what’s Next?”