Introducing First Timer Craig (aka BoDuke)
Hi allJust back from Paris and still buzzing with the excitement of the race. Such great performances from the whole team and I managed to see every single one of them cross the finish line (including Jeff my husband, who was first Brit) from a birds eye view right at the line (thanks Asics). Craig has done so well to achieve such as a great debut marathon and yep, he can go sub 4 for sure, but I think he raced Paris wisely and, as Colin put it, didn't get greedy but 'got what he came for' if that makes sense. There's plenty of time for Craig's future sub 4s (and sub 3.45s etc etc)
Will stay tuned to hear how the VLM first timers get on of course...
Craig - you are amazing, have been smiling for you today What a sweet thing for the nursery to do, I would have cried too!
Sam -welcome back...I bet you are still smiling!
Welcome back Sam and Craig
Sam, a great job well done in guiding Craig to a brilliant first marathon result and great to hear he has a bright future of lower times
Craig - i nearly cried when i read your little person moment and it reminded me of when i finished my first marathon and cried on the shoulder of the lady putting the medal around my neck such was the emotion coming out
I would encourage you to say to yourself that "no-one can now take this achievement away from me"; you have completed a great experience and achieved a goal the majority of people can only dream of and which most people simply admire cos there are not many people prepared to put in the effort (remember where you were 4 months ago) to be able to do it. Frame your medal, hang it in your house and proudly show it to anyone and everyone who enters!!
Really hope you are enjoying some quality time with your family
Ditto again from me! You're a superstar and deserve every one of those beautiful handprints!
Whoop whoop for Jeff too and for Sam too - it's flippin knackering watching a race I reckon, almost as tiring as running yourself - must be all the nervous energy!
The future is bright Craigy! Look at what you have achieved in just a wee short year - just brilliant!
How are your feet today? Time to dig out the footspa / washing up bowl?
Intervals for me today - off to visit Tommy the treadmill in the garage since it's snowing!! I kid you not.
Looking forward to your race report ...
SB: snowing?! crikey! ALthough it is cold and absolutely tipping it down here...4 miler today will be very squishy.
Hope you're recovering well Craig the Marathon Man!
OK then. Race report (no weekend report)... Sorry about not getting it done yesterday, needed to spend some time with the family and also wanted to make sure that I (hopefully) do this justice. You going to have read a lot about the context on the other’s threads, but wanted to offer my perspective too, if that’s OK with everyone.
I got to the train station early on Friday morning and wondered around, buying decaf coffee and eating like a crazy person. Met up with Emma, her OH, Colin, Sam, Steve, RW crew and Stacey from Asics and off we all go... Have to recommend Eurostar, especially if you live in close proximity to a train station at your end. Journey was quick and uneventful until we got to the hotel... Firstly, they didn’t reserve the right amount of rooms for us all and there was a considerable line for the loo in reception... Lot’s of hopping about and all that. However, Stacey got it sorted (the rock of the weekend), we dropped off our stuff and off to the Expo.
I was getting excited by this point, but also a little confused because I’ve never been to one before, but the guys pointed me in the right direction and number collected and pen changed with no incident from (4:00 to 4:15 because I couldn’t register any other way). I heard from people at the start that it was a bit on a nightmare on Saturday, so tip there might be to get in as early as poss to get it done and (hopefully) avoid the crowd.
We wondered around there for a while, I bought a hoodie (planned on that before coming to minimise things to carry) and also bought Thomas a tee-shirt with Paris Marathon 2012 on it. It’s a bit big, but... regret not following Lee’s example and buying a mug though...
Picked up some leaflets for the Marathon de Medoc and Marathon de Beaujolais... Hummm... Then off to dinner for pasta after picking up Lee’s OH from the hotel. Very nice food and even better company as we chatted away before being sensible and heading back to keep eating and some sleep.
The next day I had decided that I would like to go to Notre Dame and we all seem to have had a similar idea. We figured that the photo shoot in the afternoon might be at the Eiffel Tower so on one went there. Very nice cathedral, but have seen more impressive (Peterborough, Ely and York, to name just three). But we all chatted and had a nice morning. Managed to upset Steve (hope not too much) by inadvertently jumping in front of him at the Metro ticket machine. Then made an fool of myself by not figuring out how the barriers worked. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was scatty on the application form!Steve and Colin went back to the hotel while Emma, Rosie, Lee, respective OHs and I had lunch at the Cafe Esmerelda by the cathedral. Quality. Sun was out, food was nice and great way to spend a morning. Then off for the photo shoot.
Got to the Jardin Des Tuileries for photos and interviews. This was a very amusing afternoon, with hen party that seemed to be just having photos taken... But Paris in spring is amazing. I was surprised how green it was for the time of year. Sure the photos will be on the web in a bit, but this was also fun because for the first time in this process, it wasn’t freezing!
And then... After the supermarket... It was the lost passport situation. Good lord it was a nightmare, very nearly lost the plot at that point, really, just what I didn’t need. Wanted to be off my feet, relaxing, reading a book or maybe a snooze, but no, not me.
Then dinner out. Think the nerves were starting to kick in at that point for a couple of us, I ended up sounding like a gibbering wreak, making no sense at all but managed not to run off and get the next train home. Got off to sleep OK when we got back, but woke up sometime around 3:00 or something (when I posted) but got back down to sleep in the end...)
So, race day! I put all of my race kit on before leaving, bought hat, gloves and a top to throw away at the start, but looked like a bank robber to be honest. Had to make a decision about glasses, which was a pain, because I don’t use contact lenses and was worried that I would have had to squint for miles. Not that that was an issue at any point.
Lot’s of encouraging words from everyone to us seemed to steady the butterflies a bit, but I’m so glad the others were there because I found it really had to get focused on what I was doing and could have panicked, but wished the others well while Emma and I found our way into the pens. Just as we get in Orbit introduces himself *waves to Orbit*, which was great. Also start talking to someone who recognised us from the print magazine who was also doing her first marathon *waves to Ally*. After the gun goes it takes us ages to get over the line (something like 30+ minutes or so), but being very inexperienced, my extra clothing goes far, far, far too early... But not too cold for it to be a major problem.
Emma and I get separated when the crowd moves forward and she has a quick trip to the loo (I was starting to stiffen up). Then came the start line and we were off...
I ran with Ally for the first 5k until the first drinks station, which was nice as we were both discussing the effects of the cobbles on our feet and what they would have felt like at mile 23... her supporters were at about the 1.5k mark so that was a nice way to focus on the race ahead. We split up after the first water station at 5k, where I picked up a bottle to carry until mile four or so where I planned to take a high5. This section passed quite uneventfully (appeared to be keeping my pacing quite even and on target) until somewhere around mile 5 where I had to stop to retie my laces... Nightmare, this then involved me running up the paths around the main bulk of the runners to make up some lost time, but this then resulted in my being very cautious over the next mile or so with averaged some 10 second more than I had been doing...
Emma’s OH was hanging of a lamp post at somewhere around the 6 mile mark, so that was a nice pick up and maintained until mile 10. Through this section I had been gently overtaking quite a few other runners, and was trying to maintain the planned pace until a position where I could re-evaluate the plan and adapt, the progressive scheme worked wonders on this. I was feeling no pain or discomfort at the ten mile mark and decided to press on and increase the effort (hope the splits show that).Mile 11 was, I think, down hill or something... Or and underpass... But crossing the half way point was amazing. Was feeling comfortable, not under any pressure or pain and knew that the training, effort and advice had worked at that point. Judged this on the fact that I was only slightly slower than my first half last year but that effort floored me for days.
At mile 16 the RW team were there, very impressed by the shouting. But again, this was a lift that I needed at this point, because although I was OK physically, boy was I starting to find it psychologically draining. As per plan (and pay off for leaving caffeine alone) took the zipvit gel just after I passed them... It took a little while to kick in, maybe 20 minutes or so, but just as I was passing through the 18th, the effort appeared easier for a while... But also became more and more aware of the stress on my feet. Legs: fine, bottom of me feet though.... were really starting to hurt. Like when you have a long day out walking and standing around but maxed up to the power of 10... This was properly starting to happen at around mile 20... Other than the feet, the effort was OK. and feeling like a runner. Throughout that 10 miles I had been increasingly passing more and more people to the point that it felt like I was consistently moving faster than those around me.
So, the last six mile... I thought at mile 20 that I haven’t bailed now so might as well turn the pace up to what Sam and I had agreed to should I feel comfortable to do so. I was unsure what my potential target time was, but didn’t care at this point, I quest wanted to pass through the next six miles at the best of my ability. However, it was here that I started to become frustrated with the number of people on the course and wondering why there were groups of people abreast in the middle of the course who were walking!!! Over the last 20 miles or so I’d got used to hopping around people with a quick ‘merci/pardon/excuse moi’ but it was in those last mile when I had picked up a comfortable but challenging pace when someone would just stop/slow down in front of me while in the middle of the road... My (poor) thinking then was: please pull to the side and walk, please...
The warned about bad patch come in at about mile 22/23 or so. At this point, I had to keep telling myself just to keep going and not to stop or fold. Surprisingly, I think that the last 6 were the quickest of the whole thing (now garmin connect isn’t working...) Coming around the last roundabout, I swung out around the pack and screamed back at the crowd: ‘‘ave it!!!’, punching the air with jubilation. By that point, I just wanted some space to stretch my legs and had been hammering it for nearly a mile... Passing through on to the finishing straight, I held left to pass the Asics area feeling like I had so much left. After I had crossed the line the photographer asked my what I had done, totally forgot to stop it!!!! Read 4:07:03, but was so confused by that point I just wanted to be back with the others and hoped to see Emma over.
Then I started walking...
The next 1/2 mile or so was the longest I have ever done in my entire life. Got my tee-shirt, medal and ponco thing one and tried to get out, but there were people EVERYWHERE, including spectators. Eventually managed to hobble back to the compound where everyone was waiting. I was struck dumb by the response and just wanted to know how everyone did. A soon as I knew we had all hit target and PB’ed I think I could have exploded with happiness. As long as there was no jumping, standing, feet involved. I needed help getting my recovery socks on, getting up the stair and then called.
I have to say that the teams response was incredible Lee looked like a Cheasure Cat, Rosie was bouncing of the walls, Colin was smiling like a crazy man and grin couldn’t have been more infectious. Totally party atmosphere that lead to an amazing night out with the crew.
It’s funny, but I thought I would be intimidated by everyone else (especially Colin and Lee) having done this before, but I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of people to share this experience with. That includes Sam, Steve, Stacey, RW team and you folks. Your encouragement, honesty, focus, humour and support has given me one of the best experiences of my life. It’s up there, it really is. Oh good lord, I’m going to get emotional again.
Sorry, know it's a long one... Finished in 4:06:26 in the end.As soon as Garmin Connet is back up, I'll post the splits...
At 5k I was in position 27239 and at the finish I crossed the line as 17902. I passed 9337 people...
But the numbers are not imprortant at the moment (still emotional). What a comedown.
Lee: I'm going to take you up on that offer mate.
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