An odd one this year for me. After starting well in January, Feb and March were a write off. It was the first time I've raced a marathon without a realistic expectation of a PB. Definitely didn't feel the same excitement and motivation that comes with that. I've got more speed this year than last, but not the running endurance and I knew my legs wouldn't last the distance. Plan was to set off at 3.25 pace and see how long I lasted.
Answer - 16 miles! I managed to get to there on 3.23 pace and felt good and easy. I'd expected my decline to be gradual, but it was amazing how quickly my legs got heavy and full of lactic. Probably a hefty bit of psychology going on there - but once I'd felt my quads stiffen I couldn't get them back. I've been in this position before in 2010 and pushed my dead legs as hard as I could for the last 10 miles. While it wasn't much fun it got me a PB and my first GFA. However this time there was no way I was going to get a PB, so I decided to slow right down, listen to the music and enjoy the atmosphere.
Just after making this decision I heard my name, looked round and unexpectedly saw some friends in the crowd - I gave them a wave and ran by, then thought better of it, went back and surprised them with a big sweaty hug . It was lovely to stop and say hello, glad I did.
The rest of the race, I was shameless. I danced, I sang, I fist-pumped, I conducted the crowd. My legs bloody hurt, but I had so much fun. The 3.30 pace groups stormed by me, I cheered them on. The chicken I'd passed earlier went back by me, I cursed my poor buggered legs and watched him disappear into the distance. I enjoyed running/shuffling along the embankment for the first time ever.
I finished in 3.42 - the same time I did in 2010 before I joined this forum, learned about the benefits of long runs and took nearly 20mins off that PB. I think I need to learn some of those lessons again!
[please everyone - my next marathon is in 19 weeks. Make me do my training!]
just read back yesterday - exciting to relive it all over again!
O4S - Bloody marvellous, and great report. I'd need to run 2.51 to get your age grading (My age grade was 62% ). I was expecting to see you sail by me on the embankment - I think the leading ladies in your category did - it was like a slightly slower elite race in the crowd, they were all keenly marking each other! Well done too for BA for getting his GFA.
Col - what a run! Very very well done. How does it feel to be in the sub 3.15 club?
Ant - brilliant! Well deserved PB - especially given I think I remember you weren't even going to do a spring marathon this year!
AA - great run, looks like you had to dig deep to just nudge under 3.30. Champs start sounds cool!
Freemers - so disappointing, you were going so well. Next time. Have a great holiday.
Minni - sorry it wasnt your day - I got a shock seeing you stopped, but you picked a great place to watch the elites from!
Jack - sorry to hear you had such a frustrating day - sounds like you need to find a smaller race to test yourself properly
Redwood - good to hear from you - that op sounds brutal, hope you are OK
Nicki - welcome, and a great run from you yesterday.
Very fast ykw cooks!
kiwi - I agree on the price, wouldnt usually go anywhere near it for that, but its a fast flat half on my doorstep - whats not to like!
FRC - conditions were similar to last year, and hot (for me) by the finish. Lots of people getting medical attention and I'd have found it tough if I'd still been racing.
Nell - I love VLM, but its easy for me cos its my local and I'm lucky enough to get a guaranteed place at the front. Can't beat it for support, but I've run from the ballot twice and understand why it doesn't work for everyone.