Thanks BoD. I'm pretty amazed how well my legs, and in particular my knees, have recovered. I've had to resort to moonwalking the stairs before, but not this year!
Ten - aim as high as want
Those stats are interesting - way i read it is that it's volume that has made the biggest difference - agree?
Oscarr - I'd say the volume is the biggest factor. I used less speed during intervals than in the past. My midweek running was the major change with 10-12m MLR's. I was averaging around 10m per run (50m per week over five runs). However, my raw speed did improve as shown by my 5k race time. I'm pleased that the mileage increase seems to have reduced my propensity for injury and illness!
Of course, there are many ways to skin a cat. I await with interest the result from someone who is following the Hanson plan - which peaks at only 16m for the long run and looks similar to the FIRST (Firman) method.
All in for Boston
Up at 5:30 am to be on the start line for 10:20 am – who said running a marathon was easy?
One hour queue to get on the bus; an hour travelling west out of the City; another hour or so in various lines for the portajohns….and I nearly missed that start! We had a 0.7m walk to the starting corrals and mine was near the front so had to run uphill through the spectators, across people’s lawns to get there – phew, there was a short delay and I had time to catch my breath.
Then off and down the hill on one of the most famous routes in the world of running…the 117th Boston Marathon is underway. The crowd dictated an easy pace for the 1st mile before we warmed up and got into our rhythm and 7:48min/m was not too taxing but behind target already!
The next 4 miles were mainly downhill and went by in 7:35; 7:36; 7:22 and 7:37 – pacing made easier by the seeding for all runners. In my group, I knew that everybody had qualified within a minute or two of my own PB of 3:24:xx. I also knew that there were 11,042 runners ahead of me and you know I like a challenge!
So far so good and just when I thought everything was under control I hit my first problem.
Do I ignore that nagging stress in my bladder, run it off and press on or take an early hit and sort it out? I sensed that I was going to lose concentration over it and with more than 20 miles to go I went for a Formula One style pit stop – 1 minute down, and I was back on my way, but my pace had dropped to 8:09 for that mile and I had some ground to make up.
My next 4 miles were mainly flat and fast and I clawed back some time: 7:27; 7:32; 7:23; and 7:29 – so 10 miles done in about 1:14:xx with gels at the start line and again at 5 and 8 mile so far. At around this time I finished my 330cl bottle of Gatorade and relied on what I could pick up on course.
This was not easy either!
First there were no bottles – cups all the way. Second, both the water and sports drink cups (Gatorade) were the same green colour and running into a drink station, I was never quite sure what I was going to get. The volunteers were brilliant though, and did their best to shout out what they were holding…..but it was a bit of a lottery, and you can never drink the same volume out of a cup on the move.
It was getting hotter and there is no shade on the course….oh well.
Time to focus on a few of my fellow runners - one old geyser was giving me a hard time. I’d get up to him and he’d move away as if on elastic. Finally, on a downhill section coming into Framingham, I nailed him with my speed and checked his bib number (as you do). I was shocked to see that his started with 8,xxx – (mine was 11,xxx) in other words he had started in Wave 1 which was 20 minutes earlier than me!
FFS, I thought, either he is in a bad way or (1) I’ve overcooked it or (2) I’m on for a blinder…
I decided that (2) was better, and pressed on…….
By now, I had remembered the words of a Boston Marathon coach that I found on YouTube. There are hills that will bite you, so smooth out the course…..Uh? What he meant was run at a perceived effort NOT even pace. So it’s ok to slow fractionally on the hills if you pick up the pace on the downhill sections – ah, heart rate training technique! I think I can do that and it worked a like a dream over 65% of my total race was at my LT or lower (70% max) and another 23% of my total race was run at 70-75% max). I was in cruise mode if not in an armchair and then I made a mistake that nearly cost me the whole race.
As you get into NewtonFalls at mile 16, you hit a series of four hills over the next 4 miles. The last of these is the infamous Heartbreak Hill – half a mile and about 100 feet of climbing at mile 20…..the same old coach simply said “Count the hills – the 4th one is Heartbreak…..”
So I counted…..1st one easy; 2nd rise, ok; is this another one? Wishful thinking – quick glance at the Garmin which was showing Lap 20 – ah ha, this is it. I blasted up like a scalded cat and the crowd responded “Go Mike: awesome Mike…..” and I believed them…..
Pushing on over the top, I was a bit winded and gathered myself and then I saw it.
The 19th mile marker – I had got my Lap counter out of synch and still had “The Hill” to do.
My lap pace dropped to 8:15min/m and my HR went to over 85%; I was gasping for air and my inner voice was saying “Stop, take a breather, have a gel and get going”
This was it, my race right there – if I stopped I just knew I’d fold. I was hot, dehydrating and in trouble…. so, somehow I found a way to keep going to the top, a metre at a time. I was shaken by this and for the first time in any major race, had my feet in the fire.
Every hill has a silver lining on the backside though, and I recovered after taking a gel and grabbing liquids as fast as I could. Then I got to work again, although never with the same fluency.
Somehow I flew downhill on the next mile (mile 22) in 6:55 min/m and backed that up with a 7:25 and a 7:30. This was a false dawn and I was in Commonwealth Avenue with less than 3 miles to go and three hours still not clicked through. After coming out of an underpass, the avenue is dead straight for two miles and you can see the CITGO sign which marks the 1 mile to go…..
It took forever, the pocket in my shorts had jammed and I could not grab a gel; I was feeling sick from the Gatorade and I was weaving down the road. The crowd shouted my name, but I was too tired to lift a hand in acknowledgement…. I was almost in tears, and then I saw another gradient over the freeway…..christ, when is this going to end?
Finally, finally a right turn and a left and I was into Copley Street with the finish in sight. Somehow I made it across the line but it had been a close run thing – I think it too
Somehow I made it across the line but it had been a close run thing – I think it took me 12 minutes to get through the last 2km or so.
It was done: official time 3:21:09; 1st half 1:40:03; 2nd half (incl those hills) 1:41:06
With my racing hat on, I started in 11,043th position and finished in 6,131 position.
(Official 2013 strapline- it’s never meant so much!).
Congratulations Mike. Great splits!
Mike I loved every word of that, what an heroic struggle.
Ten - awesome report! And wowsers on the stats - also liking that the P&D book has recovery schedules - will have to take a look at that!
mike - you too! Definitely one for the memory bank!
Anyone else care to have a punt on reiki, so far we have
Mike - fantastic report - loved every minute - just reading the splits would think you ran a steady, easy run but the truth shows just what an experience you had and what a great achievement to overcome all your problems and get a well deserved PB
Ten - lower paced, higher volume - its what Sleepy and i are doing for the Wall and will be interesting to see if our speed over the shorter distances improves - Sleepy has done brilliantly so far including a very fast 10k at Lincoln without speed training.
She's a speed deamon!
I think it is because she is powered by positivity. She's like a biscuit boost in human form - lots of layers and interest and makes you smile.
Emma - wonderfully put and so true
Oscarr - I'm looking forward to having a proper read through P&D's road running book next. It covers other race distances and I'm intending to follow their methods for my 10k races. I also think that staying illness and injury free is critical to making good progress, and the higher mileage seemed to help my knee.
I am buying Matt Fitzgeralds new book on nutrition. I cribbed some tips from the Amazon preview, but want to learn more for next year.
Ten - great - i used to think that volume was the parameter for staying illness and injury free but i have proven to myself that it's more to do with the paces you run at and in particular the pace for the LSRs - as you know i am now in a weekly mileage volume that is way above what i thought was my limit and i feel healthy (a little tired i admit) and injury free and i put this down to the very slow LSRs.
I still plan to use Matt Fitz for Abingdon which is very similar to P&D and HH i think.
Weedy Gonzalez wrote (see)
Thanks everyone - very kind words from you all. There was me worrying you'd all be sick of having to wade through my witless ramblings. Sadly I've deleted all the stuff from my computer (I'm too organised for my own good) Best I can do is list the pages the various bits are on and you could try copying and pasting them together. Failing that, find EKGO or Blakester at the start and don't let them out of your sight till the finish. Carlisle to Lanercost - elevation chart bottom of page 6, words and pics page 7Blakester's photos from last year on page 8Lanercost to Gilsland page 14Gilsland to Vindolanda page 19Vindolanda to Bridge End page 22 and 23Bridge End to Corbridge page 23 and 24Corbridge to Ovingham page 31Ovingham to Newcastle page 31 and 32Re Boston, someone on the Paris thread posted this for anyone who wanted to wear it in upcoming races. I've found a firm that'll print it onto a technical T front and back and post it for £20. Message me if you want their details
Thanks everyone - very kind words from you all. There was me worrying you'd all be sick of having to wade through my witless ramblings. Sadly I've deleted all the stuff from my computer (I'm too organised for my own good)
Best I can do is list the pages the various bits are on and you could try copying and pasting them together. Failing that, find EKGO or Blakester at the start and don't let them out of your sight till the finish.
Carlisle to Lanercost - elevation chart bottom of page 6, words and pics page 7Blakester's photos from last year on page 8Lanercost to Gilsland page 14Gilsland to Vindolanda page 19Vindolanda to Bridge End page 22 and 23Bridge End to Corbridge page 23 and 24Corbridge to Ovingham page 31Ovingham to Newcastle page 31 and 32Re Boston, someone on the Paris thread posted this for anyone who wanted to wear it in upcoming races.
I've found a firm that'll print it onto a technical T front and back and post it for £20. Message me if you want their details
Mike - i have pasted this from another thread - you may be interested - its on Hadrians Wall 2013 thread
Em & oscarr - ROFL - can I be an oreo please please LOL - You two are so lovely! You've just cheered me up no end.
Just had a pedal on the turbo - it's pretty breezy here today so didn't feel like going out!
The guesses on reiki thus far:
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