Lots more results and reports in since I last posted:
MsE – fantastic race and report. You showed real inner steel to run through your injury and still nail the sub 3. Hope you are recovering OK. Incidentally, now that I have seen that pic of you and Lorenzo a few pages back I realise I did see you at Chandos. I was nearby when 2 girls in Wimbledon Hercules hoodies came up to you and asked how you got on. You said “2:59” and then sort of scrunched your face up as if this was only a so-so result. I wondered whether it might be you but wasn’t sure so decided against introducing myself to a random stranger as “Golden Eagle”! Anyway - be in no doubt. It is a fantastic result, particularly given what happened.
Lorenzo – you got pretty close to a PB in the end. Did you think it was on at any point or were you not keeping that much of an eye on the time? Good job I didn’t try to keep up with you anyway! Good to see you again and luck with the rest of your Comrades training.
Race Jase – Amazing. On another planet these days.
Poacher – pleased to hear you made it round OK and made an enjoyable day of it. Hope the recovery continues smoothly.
Brixtonrunner – great performance. A sub 3:15 and a 16 minute PB. Clearly plenty more improvement still to come.
Birch – a fine return to form and an inspiration to us all.
RFJ – you did what you set out to do and it sounds like you enjoyed it - a job well done.
TAR – thanks for posting that report. It might not have been one of your better performances but the reporting was certainly up to your usual standards. Keep running and keep posting.
Lit – great result. I tend to agree on pacing, especially at London when there is effectively a free minute or so to be had in the 1st 5m. Whilst even splits might be the ideal, you can certainly afford to get this slightly wrong (by say 2-3 mins) without it completely screwing up your race (as you have proved).
Gul - good luck on Sunday.
Legs seem OK now. I’m in Devon this weekend so I think I may even venture out for a run on the coastal path in the morning.
Fortunately this was not necessary and I got there as the clock turned 3:14. Official chip time of 3:13:40. GFA bagged and I would have happily taken that at 10am this morning. My 3rd fastest marathon, quickest since 2010 and 5th sub 3:15. So not too shabby in the scheme of things.
Nevertheless, upto 20m I was running really well and even after that I was happy with how I responded to the slight slowing over the next 3-4 miles. I think the cramp cost me about 3 minutes, which is disappointing, but the main aim was GFA and that was achieved.
I have had issues with cramp several times in marathons and it has tended to be at pretty much exactly the same point in the race. Something to look into for next time...
So - a great day. ultimately successful, but not without drama and some feelings of what could have been. Looking forward to a beer this evening and watching more reports roll in.
Met Lorenzo at the start and we decided to set off together but given I was gunning for a sub 3:15 to retain GFA and he was looking to go a bit quicker it was likely we would go our separate ways, which we did after the first couple of miles. Conditions were perfect as far as I was concerned. We passed RFJ and Lorenzo had a chat but I didn't realise until after that it was him.
A rather skittish first 5 miles. First one was slow and then 3 quick ones - i ended up with the sub 3 pacer for miles 4 and 5 but he must have started slow as i wasn't going that fast (I got to 5m in 35.39). Garmin HR data was all over the place so ignoring that for now.
I then settled into a groove at around 7:15 pace (3h10m pace) and felt pretty good. HR monitor had clicked into gear and was in the right place (162-165) so I thought i'd keep going at this pace and see how things were at halfway.
Got to halfway in 1:34:38 and all was still in order. Feeling comfortable and no HR creep. So - onwards and upwards. I thought maybe 3:10 was a possibility and, if nothing else, if I focus on that i should pull away from the 3:15 target. I even wondered whether my second best time from 2009 (3:09:11) might be in play. I decided to keep chugging along at 7:15 pace and see how things were at 20m.
Got to 20m in 2:24:53. Felt as I would expect to feel and HR up at 170 but I would expect to see that. I wasn't wearing a pace band but I knew that 3:10 pace is 2:25:xx at 20m so 3:10 is still on (although my 2009 time may now be out of reach).
Yes - it is getting tougher, as it tends to, and I am struggling to hold the pace. I give myself a talking to. I accept that I may be the wrong side of 3:10 and can't hold the 7:15s but I decide I want to do the last 2.2 miles at sub 3:15 pace (7:26 or better) which should give me a 3:10:xx. I push on and get up to the required pace again. I spend most of mile 25 chasing down a Mankini-wearing Borat until disaster strikes.
Just before the 25 mile marker, under Waterloo bridge, I get a big hamstring cramp (as do 2 other runners near me at exactly the same moment). I stop and make an inept attempt at stretching it out which only serves to set off my quads and calves. I try again by touching my toes. This works better, and after about 50s i am on my way again.
I go through the 25m marker in 3:03:11 so I still have plenty of leeway for the critical 3:15 target - provided I don't cramp again. I continue on, gingerly, at about 8:05-8:10 pace, and hope for the best, concerned only with bagging the GFA. I turn right at Big Ben - less than 1m to go, the 8m/m pace feeling really easy. I turn left into Birdcage walk and about 200m short of the "800m to go" sign I cramp again. I stop and stretch. This time there are lots of spectators around - yelling at me to keep going - nearly there etc., but what can you do? This time I get going again after 20-30 secs and for the next 600m I feel I could cramp at any time.
I go round the bend past buckingham palace, through the 26m marker and see Paula on the big screen giving her post-race interview. This brings a smile to my face and takes my mind of the cramp. I see the finish. The clock says 3:13:xx. I know I have 20s in hand on that as that's what it took me to get over the start line. I dare not push on for the finish and I begin to wonder what I would do if cramp strikes again. Could I walk? Crawl maybe? Roll?
Fortunately this was not necessary and I got there as the clock turned 3:14. Official chip time of 3:13:40. GFA bagged and I w