A marathon in 4:15 (or maybe less)

Or 'Asics Super Six - the Sequel'

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24/04/2012 at 14:00

Hope to see you on Sunday Bridget... hope to be at a few places all the best.

I managed to do 4.46 at London which was a P.B by 11 minutes happy with the time

24/04/2012 at 22:44

PF!  Lovely to hear from you and so pleased you have your London medal to hang on the wall   I'm staying close to home and doing Milton Keynes on 29th April (another new marathon like Manchester).  I am only 20 min drive away on a bad day.

Flo - fantastic stuff at London from you too It will great if I manage to see you on Sunday

Nipped out and did just over 4 miles tonight before going to visit MiL.  Decided to go out towards Stowe on the untarmaced footpath and then back on the tarmaced one so wore my trail shoes as I expected mud.  Turned out I could have got away with my road shoes.

4.14 miles averaging 10:58 pace.

Nice splits of:

Jacket potato for lunch today (followed by sponge pud and custard).

26/04/2012 at 20:49

Weird dreams this week.  On Tuesday night I was off to the Olympics in a spaceship with Steve Redgrave becasue I was competing in the gymnastics, last night Tony Blair stopped in the middle of speech and took me over to see some grape vines in the conference hall   Aren't I supposed to be having running nightmares at this point?

I'll confess to having developed a case of CBA over the last couple of days.  Last night I opted not to run but nearly regretted that when I dropped a knife on my foot while getting into domestic goddess mode.  Thankfully it was the handle that hit me and not the blade which Mr USB keeps nice and sharp.

Tonight I managed to persuade myself that 30 minutes would be over in no time, especially if I was running MP for the middle bit.  I ran for 10 min at 11:02 pace, 10 min at 09:59 pace and then 10 min at 11:06 pace.  Although I do have a bruise on my foot the shoes didn't press on it

More potato for lunch plus a granola slice.  Risotto tonight.

27/04/2012 at 14:09


Just wanting to wish you well for the weekend and look forward to the race report


27/04/2012 at 22:38
Thanks Suze.

Did just over 20 min tonight and wore the kit that I intend to wear on Sunday. I wanted to see how it was in rain as the forecast is for lots of wet stuff. Generally fine but I've decided I'll add gloves as my hands were uncomfortable due to cold.

Checkout girl at Sainsbury's asked if I had anything planned for the weekend! Turned out her step-dad is running and she will be supporting at one of the pubs.

Pasta salad plus granola yoghurt for lunch today. Fish and chips tonight. Need to make sure I eat properly tomorrow now.
28/04/2012 at 19:16

On Saturdays my eating tends to be a bit haphazard but I have disciplined myself today.

Laid in till gone 10, then had toast and jam with my latte

Banana bread and hot cordial for lunch.  First time I'd tried something instead of malt loaf and it was lovely

Wholemeal bread and sandwich spread for tea

Going to have steak, potato wedges, mushrooms and spinach in a bit

I've also done very little walking around.  Tiny bit down the town so I could get my fringe trimmed and then in and out of the rehab hospital.

The wind is getting really gusty here now.  Glad we are nowhere near the coast after listening to the shipping forecast.  Rain expected by the morning too.

Heard a bit of this on Radio 4 earlier (yes, R4) and remembered that is came onto my MP3 player during my training for my very first marathon:

28/04/2012 at 19:44
Good luck tomorrow USB!
29/04/2012 at 07:53

So I woke up a couple of times in the night, lay there listening to the wind and then went back to sleep again.  The wind is sort of low level with big gusts but it is hard to tell how much rain there is as when the wind blows it drives it against the windows but when it drops again I can't see many drops on the puddles outside.  I shall be asking my daughter for full details when she gets back from her paper round

I'm really don't intend to go off too quickly but am fighting the temptation to start at a nice round 10 mm as I'm terrified of blowing up and crawling to the end.  Possibly 10.15 mm at the most for the first half and then see how I am feeling.  I'd rather get a small PB than nothing.

EDIT: A says it was raining hard when she when out but it now as I thought.  She's now getting back into her nice warm jamas and going back to bed!

Edited: 29/04/2012 at 07:54
01/05/2012 at 10:25
Ultra Sparkly, how did you get on? I hope it went well.
03/05/2012 at 06:59
Hi dp.  I am going to do a proper post but have not been firing on all cyclinders this week.  I ended up doing 4:50:41 in the delightful weather that Sunday threw at us.  Enjoyed it though and not disappointed in the circumstances.
03/05/2012 at 21:46

well done USB, by all accounts the weather was increadibly bad, and people were really in a bad way. From the sounds of it anyone who finished put in one gutsy performance. Well done to you

06/05/2012 at 20:21


So finally a race report for the MK marathon (or should I say aquathlon). We knew from the forecasts all week that the weather did not look good and sure enough I woke to lashing rain and gusting wind sending the trees all over the place. However I dug out my man suit and told myself “I’ve paid for this, I’ve trained for this, now go and f**king do it”

Porridged up and with a variety of items of clothing in my bag I set off for the short drive into MK.  Although I knew I would be walking from the station car park to the stadium I decided to wear my race shoes on the grounds that I would surely want a completely dry pair to put on afterwards (wise decision).  Got to the station around 9.10 and to the stadium itself at 9.35.  Very civilised these local marathons

Quickly found my way to McDonalds and got changed in the warm and dry before joining a pretty short queue for the toilet. I’d dithered about clothing but went for vest over t-shirt plus shorts which turned out to work well for me.  Also a peaked cap to keep the rain out of my eyes.  I had intended to wear a long sleeved Aldi top that I hadn’t worn for some time and then dump it but then when I put it on found I really rather liked it still. So back it went into the bag and I just put on the plastic bag I’d brought back unworn from Paris last year. Bag to the storage at 9.50 and just a short wander to the start.

It was hard to work out the dividing lines between the coloured pens or find the pacers and despite positioning myself at what seemed to be the rear of the yellow pen I was surrounded by a variety of coloured numbers. Later I found myself passed by both pacers who had allegedly been in the yellow pen. Actually I wasn’t really in the pen to start with as it was too crowded but the way we were sent off in waves made it easy to get into it after the first wave had gone. The rain had almost stopped but I decided to keep my plastic cover on for a while and was glad of that because just as I pressed my Garmin on the start line the rain came back with a vengeance.

I tried to settle into a pace no faster than 10:15 min miling with the crazy idea in the conditions that I might be able to speed up later on. After a mile and a bit on the road (and past the MK pipe band) we swung off onto the redways that criss cross the city allowing non-vehicular traffic to avoid the roads. I finally got rid of my cover at about 2 miles and then shortly afterwards we were faced with a taste of what was to come. A marshal stood at a bend in the path warning us of a large puddle ahead. Essentially the entrance to an underpass had almost completely flooded and everyone was trying to tiptoe round the edge. I went through a bit of the water but didn’t really want my feet completely soaked at that early stage.

We were now onto the enormous loop that would eventually have us passing the monster puddle again at around 24 miles but without having to go through it.By now I had been passed by D and the 4.15 hour group which was fine as I had abandoned any ideas of that some weeks before. I was now onto the part of the course I had run a couple of weeks ago so knew what was coming up and when .................... apart from the standing water of course.

Edited: 06/05/2012 at 20:23
06/05/2012 at 20:24


I was still managing to keep the pace pretty steady. That meant that I knew very clearly that when the 4:30 pacer caught and passed me before 6 miles that he was going too fast and it would be very stupid to try to go with him (he finished in 4.17 so a wise decision).

10:21; 10:02; 10:13; 10:14; 10:16; 10:17

We then went through the first of the relay changeover points and I suddenly found that we were directed to the left, up through the pub car park and down to the side of Caldecott Lake. I’d been expecting to go straight on to the lake at that point but even then took a few miles to work out why the 7 mile marker took 1.25 miles to get to according to my Garmin. Yes, the course had been rerouted due to flooding (we found out later that the river had burst its banks after the race had started).

My pace stayed reasonably stable over the next few miles although with my Garmin and the markers being so different for the miles I began to forget to check for the mile splits and was just looking at the lap pace and average pace setting instead. I kept having debates with myself about stopping at a portaloo but there were always short queues and I didn’t want to stop unless I had to. Anyway there are plenty of bushes around MK ............... or so I thought.

10:08; 10:21; 10:19; 10:24; 09:59 (oops, I think we were going gradually downhill for the whole mile); 10:08; 10:27; 10:19; 10:29

Between 14 and 15 miles I was suddenly struck with stomach cramps and knew I would have to stop. In an area where we were running through one of the original villages that make up MK. I knew we were going to swing back towards a lake so began looking ahead of me for greenery. What I actually spotted was the blue of a portaloo with a queue of 4 ladies. So I stopped and joined them. Thankfully when I explained the situation I was able to jump up a couple of places and so disaster was averted. This did however lead to a mile that took 14:38.

Initially on the next mile I found myself running at sub 10 min mile pace so forced myself to slow down only to find that I slowed further turning up to the canal due to the narrowest path that we ran on. Then it was along the familiar towpath with a couple of humpbacked bridges to negotiate as we needed to avoid a section of board walk. Towards the end of this section my stomach began to grumble again and then just after crossing the canal for the third and final time I had to stop in the bushes.

Edited: 06/05/2012 at 20:25
06/05/2012 at 20:26

 This was the point where I almost completely stopped looking at my watch and just ran how I felt. As I left the bushes and began to run again I was faced by yet another stretch of flooded path with water sodden and muddy grass the only alternative surface. To add to that the rain that had been on and off till then became a sudden downpour and I possibly made the mistake of thinking that I was so wet already that there was little point in putting my lightweight jacket on. So it stayed there in its tiny bag strapped to my belt for the duration.

10:36; 10:52; 12:24

Despite all of this I was in fact still enjoying myself. I chatted with fellow runners, smiled at the spectators, thanked the marshals and eventually gave up trying to avoid puddles and ran through them! As we went through Linford Wood I even tried to rewrite The Teddy Bear’s Picnic on the run.

Despite my rapid slowing of pace I was still managing to pace plenty of runners and there also some lads running for the local hospice who I kept leapfrogging along the last few miles.As I got towards 26 miles I saw a friend standing at the side of the road in support and gave her a huge, soggy hug. Then I headed off on the final stretch. We were back by the stadium but had to run past where we started before turning and going down a big tunnel to the pitch itself. A quarter lap of the pitch and I had finished!

11:39; 11:36; 11:36; 12:07; 11:57; 12:11; 11:50

The last bit took 5:19 which was 10:48 pace. That may have been helped by the fact that I fought a battle for the line with another runner which I won by just 1 second

So according to my Garmin I ran 26.49 miles and it took me 4:50:41. My chip agreed with this exactly. The organisers estimated that the detour added 0.23 miles which fits with my measurements.

After picking up my ecofriendly canvas goody bag I managed to quickly retrieve my bag and headed into the stadium toilets to change into dry clothing. Then a chance meeting with friends led to a lift back to the station on a heated car seat and 20 minutes later I was home.

So no 4:15 and no PB but a race that I enjoyed and would do again. Dry weather would be nice next time though.

I’ve got a few different ideas about why I slowed up so much. Some I’ve already mentioned but there was also the fact that I left it until Friday to pick up a caffeine gel, found the running shop only had a disgusting chocolate one, thought I’d be ok for the local bike shop on Saturday only to find out he’d run out too. I also wonder whether the fact that my SiS gels were a month out of date or my taking a couple of the freebie High5 ones en route could have contributed to my stomach troubles.

Edited: 06/05/2012 at 20:28
06/05/2012 at 20:29

I was back over at Caldecott Lake for a run this morning.  The original marathon route remained blocked by flood water, so was the diversion that we used and so was the only other route under that particular dual carriageway.

Perhaps it was just as well we were running last weekend!

09/05/2012 at 19:30

Hi Usb

it was lovely to read your report and for once enjoy the shared experience rather than feeling a bit jealous and wondering if I could one day run a marathon. I can and I did! I just wanted to say a special thank you to you for all your wize advice and humour that I've got from reading your posts. Every time I ran past/ through a huge puddle at MK i thought of the vicar of dibley falling in the puddle.

I love the fact I am also an ultra runner due to a full river but I won't be joining you in your real ultra later in the year.

What's next on your list? I've started running again but can't quite bring myself to enter any races. Not sure why, must enter July MK half as it is a tradition for me now (wonder what the weather will be for that??) I've looked at Leicester marathon and also had a sideways glance at the Purbeck marathon or the New Forest marathon, both of which I imagine would be right up your street. (figuratively of course)

 The first Northampton parkrun went well, if you know of anyone at work that would want to run or more importantly volunteer point them our way.

Hope Mil thing is all ok.



10/05/2012 at 18:38

Hi H

What time did you do at MK?  Glad to have helped with the puddles

I am entered for the JW Ultra towards the end of September which is a 'baby' ultra of 30 miles.  Goes from near Stratford to Bourneville, mostly along the canal.  I ran it in 2010 so I now have a time to aim for.  Planned to do it last year but then deferred in order to focus on Abingdon.

I too need to think about what to do next but am finding it hard when I had to fork out over £300 to get a repair done on the car this week   I have to confess to missing parkrun due to taking the approach of seeing if I woke up in time (7.45 am so not really doable).  I think one of the consultants runs so may give him a prod about it.

MiL thing is now a part of normal life really.  Having got rid of stuff like Saturday swimming and tap lessons we now have the hospital instead. Mr USB commented this weekend how he never has time to think about baking, we have all the ingredients for pretty macaroons brought back in February!

10/05/2012 at 19:08

Bourneville- mmm chocolate, sounds good.

Make time to bake! I had a conversation with a colleague recently about as the kids grow up and gain independence it'll be the parents we have to worry about and look after soon.... always something, thank goodness for running to escape.

I did MK in 4.06.26. I only looked at my garmin a few times at the beginning to gauge pace and at the halfway point for a time check and just ran at sustainable/ survivable pace throughout. At the end I didn't want to look as I couldn't have changed what I was doing!

When I was looking at my garmin data last weekend I was delighted to discover that I ran a completely even 2.03.13 split.  I couldn't have done that if I had tried, but I suppose the detour was in the first bit and so that means I did a slower second half

12/05/2012 at 23:34

Wow!  Brilliant splits there and if that was off your Garmin it means you did it evenly for whatever the Garmin measured it at

I've run today for only the second time since MK.  The run last Sunday involved some hill work to the south of MK and I really hammered it down a country lane.  As a consequence (I think) I had stiffness in the side of my ankle/heel for a few days so grabbed the excuse to do nothing   15 miles run in May so far - I need to get my act together

14/05/2012 at 19:39

Was it the ankle you turned last year?

I was a bit over enthusiastic with some core strength stuff last night whilst watching tv, now i ache sooooooo much, much more than after any run. That'll teach me. I'm still looking at races but entering nothing but i have jumped into a half marathon training scheme at week 13 of 20 to see how that feels to maybe do MK in July. Surely I've got some carryover fitness to ignor the first 12 weeks of a training plan , won't be chasing a pb just want to do something and running schedueless seems a bit weird after 24 weeks of mara training. I have a great book by Matt Fitzgerald but his schedules are v long.

Found out I missed Silverstone and Blisworth 5k last week - must must must enter them next year. Haven't done either for 10 years (pre kids!)

Should enter Blisworth friday 5 in august- always a lovely atmosphere. Need some escapism, we've all had the dreaded "service reconfiguration" letters at work so that'll be a few weeks of stress and fun

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