RW Forum SIx – 3.30 – 4.00

Carterusm with Spoons

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07/04/2013 at 21:17

It was quite cool this morning but clear with the sun out so you could tell it was going to warm up. Met the gang from last night at the Arc just before 8am. Had been warned that the bag drop was a disaster last year with long queues after the race so decided to give it a miss. Just as well as when I got to the end I worked out it must have been a mile away from the start area.

The pre-race maps of teh start area were quite misleading as the starting pens were much further down Champs D'Elysee. Found my pen to discover that there were almost no toilets. That expalined why everyone was using shop doorways !!!! I was in teh Blue pen (3hr30) and decided to position myself near the back. As you know this is a massively wide boulevard but once we started shuffling forward it was like a war zone. Everybody was just dropping unwanted clothes and plastic covers where they stood so it was quite tricky underfoot. At London there is a massive countdown and you know the elites have gone off. Nothing like that here. It took me about 15 minutes to cross the start line and I was not too far back. They were letting people out of the pen in waves and I was lucky that I chose the left side as this was released first. You tehn had people jumping the centre islands fences and all sorts.

Nice and wide down the cobbles but no pedestrian barriers and you had people standing in the road, crossing the road. Theree were a few times during the race where I had to swerve to miss pedestrians. Should not be allowed.

Compared to London it is not massively supported or well marshalled. There were people along most of teh route but you only had pockets where they were really getting behind you. Others just stood there.

I spent alot of the first half having to weave to get past people. At various places on the course, the supporters encroached onto the course and at one place they were almost standing on teh blue line. At teh refreshment location directly opposite the Eiffel Tower they ahd narrowed it down almost to single file. Really mad this.

The refreshment stations were another disaster zone. Stocked with water, bananas, oranges and raisons, the road was very slippy, the stations were shorter than London and people just pushed you out of teh way to dive into the table. I have never run a race like it. Most races I have been in the runners have some manners.

Loads of cobbles and the less said about them the better. I probably only felt them in the second half if I was honest.

At other places along the course you had Parisiens giving out cake, fizzy drinks etc.

The finish area was another war zone. It took me nearly an hour from the time I crossed the line to escape the fenced off area. You had to go to one place to get your t-shirt, another to get your medal, then there was loads of fruits. Everywhere was a queue and as you went down the enclosure you had the public coming in against you with only a narrow opening at the end near the Arc. At least it was warm.

My race plan was to get to mile 16 in good shape and then take it from there.

As I said I was lucky with teh start in that I got away reasonably quickly and settled into an 8:15ish pace. 14 of my first 15 miles were sub 8:18 with a few around 8:00. Mile 6 was outside this but that included a toilet stop.

Whether it was the fact that I was conscious about my hammy from the start I could slightly feel it during teh first 5k and wondered if it would hold. I decided early on that I would run normally and see how it beared up. If it went early I would have pulled out. During mile 16 it began to tighten but I kept going albeit slightly slower (this was an 8:40 mile). We turned and went down an entry ramp to the lower levels by the river and as we entered the first of the long tunnels my hammy decided it had had enough and really

07/04/2013 at 21:18

tightened up. I followed my physios advice and slowerd right down, walked and eventually came to a stop to stretch it. I walked a little bit and started running again. It did not feel any better so I repeated this for a while, then decided to keep running but very slowly. The next 5 miles were hell as I could only take small shuffle type steps and was compensating for it which meant my right foot became uncomfortable. There were loads of cobbles in this section.

I got a good mile in for Mile 23, slowed again for Mile 24 and 25 and then focused on the finish. I had watched the 3:45 time go out the window but was very aware that sub 4 was just about doable. Was a little confused by the fact that my garmin was recording it long so did wonder if this would catch me out.

I found something when I was about half a mile out to pick up teh pace and start pushing for the line. I crossed the line running at 7:23 pace.

Not sure I would do Paris again. I think London is much better.

I am delighted with the outcome as it would have been so easy not to go. I know I am capable of faster so I now just need to find my autumn marathon to go get the sub 3:45.

Thanks for all the support both today and through the journey. It has been brilliant.

So who's next up for a PB ?

07/04/2013 at 22:00

Quite the adventure Carl!

Well it certainly is one you won't forget and you did fantastically well to manage things after that hamstring tightened and still focus on getting in sub 4 - it would have been so easy to become demoralised and drop out so great mental strength for sticking with it and refocusing on a revised goal. Top man!

See you @ Dublin?

07/04/2013 at 23:51
Brilliant Carl, very well done. An inspiration to us all. 14 miles with 8 @ MP tomorrow ?
08/04/2013 at 08:01

Great report Carl

Hope the hangover isn't too bad

Suggestions for this week - walking, swimming, massage, stretching, eating, drinking, sleeping, resting, talking about marathon running, showing people your medal, showing people photos.

Oh - and NO running

08/04/2013 at 08:57
Well done Carl, and a great report. I must admit, from what I saw on the TV I'm not sure if I'd do Paris, but I didn't want to say that on here yesterday as you were still running at the time! Like you said, compared to London it just looked incredibly disorganised, and it even impacted the elites which is just wrong in my view!

It does look like a good medal though

Well done again and good luck finding your Autumn marathon.
08/04/2013 at 13:03

Morning all.

I'm starting to think that I might not be able to race Manchester if this knee doesnt sort itself out soon. I'm not giving up by any means but it's now becoming a real possiblity that I wont make it. I only managed 2 miles on Saturday at a really slow pace and the knee flared up again. I have had a sports massage, a physio session and I've done plenty of stretching and strengthening exercises but there hasnt been any improvement at all in the last 2 weeks. I have another phsyio session booked in tomorrow and will then try again based on his recommendations. If, somehow, the knee gets better I feel I will need to get another LSR in as I have now missed the last 3 long runs. The other issue I have got is if I do race I will want to run at a 3:45 pace.  That is unlikely to happen so I need to get my head round just finishing the race;  that was my goal at the start of the campaign but training has gone well enough for me to aspire for a 3:45 finish. Plenty for me to think about.

If I dont make it to Manchester it is going to mess up my race schedule for the year so I am looking at seeing what other races are out there. Chester in October seems to be a good one.

Anyway, there is still plenty of time for me to make a recovery and get myself to the start line

08/04/2013 at 13:06

Spoons - that is advice I am delighted to follow. Am s little delicate today but that is to be expected.

I am due to run the Bupa 10k in London at the end of May and I might do the Oxford 10k the middle of May. It will be starnge training for a shorter distance.

Big_G - apparantly the organisers of Paris do the Tour de France as well. Another factor is that the last 7 km are all through woodland and while you pass Stade de France, racecourse etc there are really no spectators until you hit the last km. Compare this to the Embankment where you have crowds that are 10 deep cheering you on. This does matter.

08/04/2013 at 16:53

Carl - congratulations once again mate. you have set the standard to which we must all aspire to now. You can sit back and watch us suffer.

You'll understand if I forego the whole gammy leg and virus thing as part of my preparation though.

Who is up next? I don't run until May 12th so I think I'm the last to go.

Carter - Doesn't sound good, let's hope this week shows an improvement, if Carl's run proves anything it is that whilst we all aspire to the perfect prep there is more than one way to the start line, hopefully the world will look brighter after your physio. 

As for me I'm still glowing after knocking over 20 glorious miles in the sunshine yesterday , amazing to think the previous weekend was such  a cold, miserable experience. I had shorts and sunglasses on this week and found the whole run really comfortable and my post run stretching routine has really helped my recovery. 

At the moment things are going suspiciously well, even my cold has gone. It's unnerving.

Saturday's Parkrun was good fun, we had the Mayor, an Olympian and a Torchbearer as starters and 127 runners which was an excellent turn out first time out and the weather was kind. It was meant to be a planned rest day for me but jogged 2 miles there and two miles home afterwards and posted a 21:37 5k PB. (It's my first timed 5K hence the PB ) It's an ideal PB too because I took it real easy so can whack a chunk off of that sometime soon and bang on about that for a while. And trust me i will bang on about it.

08/04/2013 at 17:23


I can't even suggest that you'd be wimping out so as not to be beaten!! My competitive thoughts kicked in when you mentione Chester though......I wonder........

Hoping it all turns around for you still!!

08/04/2013 at 21:07

Carter - difficult time for you I know. Let's see what the physio says tomorrow and decide what to do from there.....

fingers crossed!

08/04/2013 at 22:00

Carter - sorry did not realise you has posted earlier.

Yours is a tricky one but I would not give up hope of taking part in Manchester just yet. I have now run 3 marathons and none has been perfect. Each time I have improved my PB and I am even more determined to do another one as I know if things come together I can get close to 3:30. But it might take me another 2 goes to get that.

It is probably rare that everything comes together ; perfect training, great nutrition, the right weather, the perfect course, feeling well on the day .......

There is always an element of what if. If I had not got a dodgy hammy yesterday what could I have done. I was going along nicely but 8:15 avg pace over 15 / 16 miles is going some. I knew that the manflu had taken alot out of me. But I learnt so much yesterday about me , about what running at that pace for so long feels like that it can only help the next time.

It would have been so easy to pull out and I could have justified it to myself but then I would not have got a new PB.

Also from meeting up with those on the Paris forum I found out that there were many who had niggles coming into Paris. One guy had to pull out after a few miles. Others had not done enough training as they were recovering from injury. Some were doing their first and massively got it wrong. Some got great new PB's. They were all there for the experience.

Getting injured after all the training is really tough to take. But it happens to so many people. The only thing you can do at the moment is help it to get better. If running outside is too painful do get some x training in at the gym as this will keep your fitness as sharp as possible. You probably do not need to run another LSR to be able to run the marathon.

And you may not be able to run sub 3:45 this time but you can get used to running the marathon at an even pace, you can experience the marathon and then you will be so much better prepared the next time.

This is hard. I know. I was there with different issues. It drives you mad. But I got there and did ok. Not what I wanted but all I could actually do. There will be another time for a race.

Hang in there a little longer. Got everything crossed for you.


08/04/2013 at 22:22
Cheers Carl, some sound advice there. I haven't given up hope and won't, I am trying to remain optimistic but with a dose of reality thrown in. As you say, it would be disappointing to run but knowing you can do so much better after all the training. I must say a DNF frightens the life out of me. I am also thinking longer term and if it makes more sense to not run Manchester, rather than take 3 months to recover if I do run and aggravate it, then I think that's what I will have to do. Which is completely different to my normal 'sod it' approach.

Spoons - the physio appointment is tomorrow so lets hope he can give me good news. I used the foam roller after my run tonight and bizarrely there was hardly any pain in the ITB. Before I was getting the knee pain rolling the ITB really hurt. I don't know if this is significant or not but it does confuse me a tad.

Rachel - Chester, bring it on

I was working on Mrs Carter about the Dublin marathon to which she seemed quite keen on the idea until we realised that we are in the Algarve that week.

Hope everyone else is ok. How do you feel now Carl ? Legs and feet still in bits ?
08/04/2013 at 22:35
As the day has gone the general stiffness in the legs had got a tad worse. Most people in the office who knew I was running were amazed as I gave the impression of being absolutely fine. Fortunately they did not see me trying to negotiate the stairs. Going down is a killer. Feet are better with the post run bruising subsiding. One or two toes still a little delicate shall we say.

Some of those I met in Paris we doing recovery runs today !!!!!!!!

My hammy is not sore but if I try and take a normal stride It reminds me that it is delicate and would prefer if I took shorter strides. And of course I oblige.

Not going back to the physio as it just needs rest which I am happy to give it this week.

I will probably do some light jogging next week.
08/04/2013 at 22:43

Carter - the lack of progress with the injury is concerning... let's see what the physio says. Again - very frustrating given how well your training had been going.

On a "glass half full" note - if you don't make your Spring Marathon, your training for it has produced a fantastic PB for HM. So all will not have been in vain.

Carl - any thoughts on what your next one will be yet?

Oirish - yes it appears that the best is being saved last and you are indeed last man to run. I am the week before you on Sun 5th May. You are in good shape and approaching your taper with no issues which is great

This is my last "big" week culminating in my last 20ml+ LSR on Sunday - then 3 weeks taper to race day. Just trying to nurse this knee of mine through - started to feel it from mile 8 of LSR yesterday but it got no worse and was more nagging than painful. It felt a bit stiff yesterday but is much improved today. Seems to be an overuse injury as a rest day seems to help no end. It actually bothered me less on yesterdays LSR than I expected and than it had been doing of late so I am hoping it is on the mend.

08/04/2013 at 22:49

I have just registered on Runbritain - seems like a good little tool.... anyone else here on it?

Carter - I'm now stalking you on it BTW

08/04/2013 at 23:00

Ricky - Dublin is a distinct possibility eventhough I met a guy from Dublin in Paris over the weekend and he tells me that there is a really tough climb up the back of UCD during the second half. But overall he thinks it is really well supported and of course at the end of October it has not got too cold.

I have got the Royal Parks HM in London on 6th Oct so that is 3 weeks before which could be a great time to go for  a new PB.

Will research what other ones are on around that time but I think it will be Dublin as I can get there as quick as anywhere else in the UK and stay with my sister.

And things must be on the up as Mrs Carl asked me today where I was running my next one.

08/04/2013 at 23:05

What is Runbrittan ?

I must start going along to my local Parkrun now that I am out of my LSR saturday routine to see what I cando with a 5k. It is a hilly course so it probably does not lend itself to a massive PB but like Oirish as I have not got an official 5k PB, I can go and collect that when my hammy decides that it wants to run again.

08/04/2013 at 23:18

I think I'm on Runbritain..*goes off to check"

09/04/2013 at 05:36
I am on Run Britain and so is Rachel and Spoons. It gives you a handicap based on your race times and also your ranking in your relative age bracket. You can see your progress in a graph and measure your performance against other people.

When I was checking for a possible replacement marathon I noticed they were mainly in the spring or autumn but not so many during summer
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