Talkback: ASICS Target 26.2 Team: Lee

Introducing the fourth member of our ASICS Target 26.2 team - Lee (aka Choisty) With Virgin London Marathon Championship qualification as hi...

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17/04/2012 at 19:25
Well done Choisty, excellent run. You should be extremely proud of yourself as you have trained so hard, as well as keeping everyone updated on this thread. All the best for your future runs, 3:30 next target?
17/04/2012 at 19:26
2:30 even!!
17/04/2012 at 20:57

Just chipping in to say I had the great pleasure of watching Lee finish. The look of determination and focus as he gunned it down the last 50m and the one of elation as he crossed the line were soemthing to behold! Great to have been part of the whole project

Will have to break the news to my husband that he wasn't first Brit after all

Lee, Jayne took a couple of photos of Jeff after the race as I didn't have a camera. Would be great if she could email them to me for my blog. Thank you!

17/04/2012 at 21:13

Thanks again for the kind words, Sam  I will send them over no worries.

Now on with the report, it's long and winding...but it is for a marathon!

ThursdayEverything started a day early Jayne (my wife) & I as we left home for the long trip to Paris, practicing our running to make the train to Waterloo.  The Eurostar was relaxing the perfect way to arrive then the Metro across to the Hotel and everything was going brilliantly until we went to check in.  The Hotel failed to read the booking slip from RW/ASICS correctly so we didn’t have a room, as luck would have it a spare room was found.  After a lovely meal at a local Italian, it was time for bed, without supper, I just couldn’t keep up with the food Ruth recommended for Carb loading.  By this stage I had given up Alcohol (50 days), fizzy drinks (20 days) & Coffee (5 days) so was having serious cravings.
17/04/2012 at 21:13

Friday

 Rather ambitiously we decided to take a stroll to the Eifel tower as it looked quite close, it turned out to be 2 miles away, still we made it, and then walked up the stairs to the 2nd stage.  That was fine as long as we headed back on the Metro, well no we wandered over to the Trocadero, not far that’s OK, then we decided to walk the mile to Arc de Triomphe a bit far perhaps, still we will get the Metro back now well no we walked the champs élysées instead…then we got the metro back to meet everyone arriving and sorting their rooms out (organisation wasn’t the hotels strong point).After a quick change it was off to the expo to collect our numbers and excitingly it was the first time I have had a number with my name on and a yellow stripe marking me out as being in the Preferential pen as faster than the sub-3 pen.  After some time spent browsing with Colin and Craig I picked out a Mug and tech T-shirt, both will be in regular employ.  It was then Emma took the plunge and became a hoodie for the first time.  The rest of expo was a dangerous place, with so many tempting races from Medoc to Guadeloupe, making me think, what next.That evening another wonderful meal in an equally divine Italian.  Soon it was time for the athlete’s and dutiful partners to head back to get some rest leaving coaches, RW and ASICS folk relaxing.
17/04/2012 at 21:14

Saturday

 First thing Rosie, Colin, Steve and I went for a wonderful run along the banks of the Seine to the statue of liberty at easy pace with two strides at marathon pace, where it was smiles and easy chat all round.The tension was rather more noticeable so to defuse it we all went to the Notre Dame, possibly to offer a last prayer or in my case to simply watch the world go by.  By this stage I had become quite(ish) as thoughts move the next day but the banter at Esmeralda’s was enough to perk things up.  At this stage there was a slight athlete led rebellion and we decided the meal that evening had to be earlier so we could be in bed by 10pm and Stacey/Neil sort that out for us, even though the restaurant didn’t take bookings or open at 6:30After a dash back to the Hotel and a quick change it was the final photo session in the Jardin des Tuileries and as Emma looked like a model having her picture taken and being interviewed she was pounced on by the Gendarmes not once but twice.  I however was not bothered by them, hrrumph.  The evening meal went off to the most part OK apart from Emma not getting her meal at the right time, but it was worth waiting for as it was again delicious.  Despite the hiccup we were all back and tucked-in by 10 o’clock, I was snoring by 10:05 despite my nerves.
17/04/2012 at 21:15

Sunday

 Race day…kit was packed and perfect, 16 weeks of training completed, Carbs loaded, I was ready and pretty much focused…so focused some of this is remembered through a bit of a haze.  6am Alarm call from Stacey time for Breakfast 6:50 Taxi’s to the ASICS area at the finish to drop off our bags, I do not remember this journey at all. 7:05 annoying security gets in our way to the ASICS area and won’t let us through, then lets athletes through but not family, eventually after standing in the cold for 15minutes we are in and can relax again. 8:15 time to depart for the start a 1km walk, a few photos on the way and judging by them I was scared, very scared, Jayne tried to calm me down, then I had to hand over my clothes and get truly cold as I went for short shorts, vest and racers, weighing in total less than 500g at this point I realised I had forgotten the bin bag, doh! Still I found a new one later.  Still scared I was about to enter the runners only area before the start, when Steve stopped me looked me deep in the eyes and gave me the perfect pep talk, don’t go off too hard, stick to the plan 6:12 miles ‘til halfway then accelerate, you will do it…I was ready.  Colin and I jogged to the start and after a hand shake we went into our respective pens. 8:45 BANG we’re off…
17/04/2012 at 21:15

Mile 1 (6:14) While there were plenty of runners around as we went down the champs élysées it was possible to run at marathon pace.  I kept checking my watch was it the right pace? Yes bang on, no too fast, oops too slow, but mostly correct.

 Mile 2 (6:10) I was now starting to get into my running, feeling good and passing people regularly and at this time started to pass some of the wheel chair racers who went off 5 mins ahead.  Still checking my watch but pretty much happy with the pace.

Mile 3 (6:06) Just as we came to the place de Bastille where the crowds were very vocal, I came up to the back of a group and settled into that pace as it felt perfect, I would now follow them for the next 7 miles. This was the first water station, so I took a bottle and then gulped down 3 mouthfuls, despite needing to pee, this would last the rest of the race. The 5km split was 19:24

Mile 4 (6:06) Still feeling good and in the groove with group, the two guys at the front happy to take a stiff breeze, albeit as we flowed down hill

Mile 5 (6:00) A few minor undulations slowed the pace slightly and I was no longer keeping an eye on the watch just running comfortably, this was excellent.

Edited: 17/04/2012 at 21:16
17/04/2012 at 21:17

Mile 6 (6:07) We were out of Paris and into Bois de Vincennes and going past the zoo, everything felt good and I was happy to stay at the back of the group and be pulled along, slotting in again after taking another water.  This time I spotted the bins which had a backboard to throw at which I hit bang in the middle. As if by magic Steve appeared we exchanged a few words as everything was going well and staying on plan before he dropped back to catch Colin. 10km in 38:34, last 5km in 19:10.

 

Mile 7 (6:11) As we went around the park, I remember thinking “I got lost here on a dark February evening and felt like crap” how different things were now, completely in control romping along.

 

Mile 8 (6:05) Still in the park, I had been warned the crowds were often sparse, far from it they were there and gave you their full support which added to the feeling of euphoria as I continued to feel great.

 

Mile 9 (6:04) Still in the park feeling good as we pasted the athletics stadium still cranking out the same smooth pace without any issues or feeling in the least fatigued.  As we approached the water station I took the first gel, as I moved out picking-up a bottle the rest of the group went straight on ignoring the water.  I must have accelerated as when I moved back across I had made 10m on them, decision time do I drop back or push on? Whilst deciding I hit another bin and that was 2 from 2. 15km in 57:44 Last 5km in 19:10, now that is even pace.

 Mile 10 (6:09) I pushed-on catching the group ahead as we headed into the wind again sitting at the back to gain maximum advantage, Steve again popped-up from nowhere giving me more encouragement and exalting me to produce more of the same.  I would find out later he thought I looked in great shape and fully expected me to break the 2:45 even at this early stage.
17/04/2012 at 21:17

Mile 11 (5:53) My favourite mile of the race still in the park, the crowds were thin so I could spot Jayne, Sam & Alex easily, this was a real boost and put a renewed spring in my step producing the faster mile of the race.

 

Mile 12 (6:04) Back on the pace track, however for the first time I noticed my Garmin miles and the course miles were about 200m out and my Garmin was going off first, so I need to make sure I had something in hand for the end.  At the end of this mile we exited the park and onto the first set of cobbles, not too bad.  Another drink was taken and I feeling good as I hit the bin that was 3 out of 3.  20km in 1:16:42 last 5km 18:58.

 

Mile 13 (6:07) very exciting this as we edged toward halfway, but I entered these next two miles with a little trepidation as on my training run in February this felt like a hard climb that dragged on.  In reality this mile was downhill if anything, I must have really struggled that night.

 

Mile 14 (6:06) Halfway came and went and I went through 10secs ahead of plan in 1:20:50, I have never run this consistently or close to plan ever in my life, I go off to hard then hold on, Steve talk at the start was working.  By this stage we made it back to the place de Bastille where the last 400m did have a slight incline.

 Mile 15 (5:56) We now headed down to the banks of the Seine the road was flat and open, just the right number of runners around me, life was great.  25km in 1:35:40 last 5km in 18:58, this was so even and consistent reading it now makes me wonder if it was really me.
17/04/2012 at 21:18

Mile 16 (6:04) The Runner’s World crew were on the roadside just past Notre Dame and they were very loud giving me another boost pushing me to catch a further group.  Another Gel went down this time without water, not easy but it helped.

 

Mile 17 (6:17) All of a sudden things seemed a little harder, not hard but a little harder, but hey the finish was less than a Monday night session at my running club, bring it on.  We were still running along the Seine and the Eiffel tower was in sight.

 

Mile 18 (6:12) Arrgh! Underpasses, who put them in the course, they are the Devil’s work plain and simple.  The first was nearly a mile with not much to see and no air movement a terrible experience.  The drink station here was in a shop lined street again I took a bottle three gulps but this time over cooked the throw straight into a shops plate glass window, 3 from 4.

 

Mile 19 (6:13) More underpasses, 4 in all not as long as the first but down and up, one after another, I couldn’t wait for them to be over, but then they were, sweet relief.   30km in 1:55:03 last 5km in 19:23

 Mile 20 (6:16) Getting back into groove now, the stride was a bit shorter and a blister had developed on my left foot, not too painful but I knew it was there.  We moved away from the Seine getting close to our Hotel, it was here for the first time I thought about the finish. I picked-up a Powerade in a plastic cup at the only sports drink station on the course; this was a bad idea, leading to a very sticky chest and leg
17/04/2012 at 21:19

Mile 21 (6:10) Into Bois de Boulogne and into the teeth of the wind, it was now getting hard to keep the pace up into the wind and there was nobody to hide behind, hampered still further by rather unforgiving cobbles. Push-on you only need to stay below 7min/mile and you’re there I kept telling myself.  I picked up water this time hitting the bin to make 4 out of 5, Jonny Wilkinson percentage I thought.

 

Mile 22 (6:32) The wind was now severely hampering progress, but I was still strong pushing on trying to keep to a reasonable pace, it was this point that I took the third and final gel, this time caffeinated.  I seriously recommend these, after a few minutes I felt like I was floating and much of the fatigue was masked.  35km in 2:14:48 last 5km in 19:45.

 

Mile 23 (6:18) A combination of turning a corner and having the wind at our backs and the gel kicking in produced a faster mile at just the right time, I was feeling good once more as we passed Longchamp horse racing circuit.

 

Mile 24 (6:29) Turning back into the wind was a painful experience as the pace again slowed and the guy who was leading the group I was with from miles 3 – 7 sailed past, this time alone.  This was also the last water stop, which I took advantage of despite knowing I didn’t need to again making the shot into the bin 5/6 not bad accuracy if I do say so myself.

 Mile 25 (6:28) Now I was urging myself on, the crowds were sparse but the ones that were there were shouting loudly, often calling my name, read from the front of my vest.  I kept trying to focus on technique and the fact it was less than a steeplechase left.
17/04/2012 at 21:19

Mile 26 (6:38) Still into the damn wind, but I had realised that I would make it come what may so subconsciously I took my foot of the gas a little. Despite this I caught and passed the chap who led the group earlier and a Clapham Chaser, helping me to 3rd Brit. I knew where I was as we had walked this part of the course in the morning; I kept the sprint for the last 200m

 

Finish 26.1 (5:40 pace) I pushed as hard as I possibly could sprinting, well running a bit quicker but it felt like flat out sprinting to finish to cross the line in 2:43:59 on the right side of a minute for once!!!  I shouted and punched the air in delight, then there was Sam for a massive hug and the celebrations had started.

 Once through the finish collecting a medal, t-shirt, poncho, water, powerade and fruit I ran the half mile back to ASICS area to ensure I could watch Colin in.  Sure enough he was soon in setting a fantastic PB, followed by Rosie, Craig and Emma, as each one came in the atmosphere cranked up a notch.  We all knew the party couldn’t start until we all had a sparkly medal and PB, then the blue touch paper was lit and we carried on until the small hours helped as we always have been by the coaches, Runner’s World and ASICS.
17/04/2012 at 21:44

Thrilling write up Lee - and what a disciplined run! Wow that is text book stuff.......

17/04/2012 at 21:50
Brilliant report Choisty! Shame about that shop window though, I hope you didn't break it!
17/04/2012 at 21:53
Marvellous stuff Choisty, fantastic training followed by a perfectly executed plan.  Very impressed by the way you battled the windy sections.  Hope you enjoyed some lovely French vino (or even Champers!)
17/04/2012 at 22:33
Lee - brilliant report and classic, strong run - really enjoyed reading it, thanks - hope you are making up for the 50 days now !!
17/04/2012 at 23:02

Lee - loved your report!

You thoroughly deserved your result and you are one of lifes really lovely people. Thanks for your compacy on this journey! x

18/04/2012 at 00:23
Great report Lee. Good job with the bin hitting accuracy too
18/04/2012 at 00:47

Fantastic detailed report and again great race to become Runner's World quickest ever super 5 or 6 runner. I always knew you had the ability to run sub- 2:45 but wasn't always sure you had the disclipline to achieve it!However, I knew when I saw you at 10k and then again at 17K within seconds of what was required, I relaxed myself as was sure (as sure as can be when there is the matter of running 26,2 miles) you were going to do it.

Everyone involved has done really well this year so congrats to all five runners (and their partners), Asics (Stacy), Runner's World, Ruth, Sarah, Viktor etc, those who have been on any of the five forums and given encouragement and possibly even the coaches - though this year was relatively very easy!

However the support and encouragement part is a relative doddle to actually running 26.2 miles under the spotlight like this and Lee, Colin, Rosie, Craig and Emma have all done a fantastic job from December to April.

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