2 miles to go and I still wasn't sure how off / on course I was. I knew Brixton Runner would be there somewhere but as I pushed on it felt like I had tunnel vision. The knee pain and nausea had gone and I started to feel more positive. The legs still felt dead but the pace wasn't dropping, just not starting with a 6.xx. When I passed the 25 mile point I decided to check the pace band and according to the numbers I was exactly on target for a 3:00:00 finish but that was only if I could complete the last 1.2 miles at sub 6.52 pace (something that I hadn't managed since mile 14) so it was now or never. The fear of my time not starting with a 2 after getting this close managed to spur a little life back into the legs and from somewhere I managed to get my little legs turning over one last time. The watch said I was averaging a 6.30 pace for the last mile. Running on pure fear.
I hit the 400m to go sign with the watch ticking over 2:58 and realised that I had done it. I crossed the line with my Garmin saying 2:59:44. I've never had to push so hard in the last 5k of any of my previous 14 marathons. Was so delighted with my time , especially considering my 50 miler. A very successful Spring campaign.
Met up with friends and family outside the Red Lion and spent the rest of the day drinking lager.
I'm now packing my suitcase for the 3rd time in 7 days as am off to Lisbon for 3 days for a stag do. I'll enjoy a week of no running.
As soon as they hit my already stressed stomach I started to feel very sick. The knee pain subsided but was considering stopping to vomit it all up. At mile 20 I was slowing slightly more and in the space of a mile was overtaken by all three 3hr pacers (including Philpub who I knew was going to pace a 2.59 finish)
My confused brain was struggling even more to work out the maths. As I saw it, if I carried on slowing at this rate I would probably cross the line in 3:00:xx which would be more frustrating than a 3:05. I knew my family would be on Blackfriras bridge so just concentrated on getting there in one piece. On passing them I did shout that I wouldn't get sub 3 and that I may be in a mood in the pub.
Just before the starts merge I was overtaken by reg (Andrew g) had a very brief chat and I told him to push on. The next 10 miles went in a bit of a blur. All going to plan and the pace felt fine. Crossed halfway in 1:28:32 and started to think about the sub 3 being a real possibility. The major change came at the tunnel around 15 miles. I lost signal on my watch so couldn't check my pace and was overtaken by a chap from parkrun. As he glided past it felt like my legs were dying and was slowing dramatically. When the watch got back on track it wasn't as bad as feared. The legs weren't great but the last mile was still 7.00 so not a disaster.
As I made my way round the isle of dogs and towards Canary Wharf I started to wobble. I'd never felt anything quite like it. My lungs were fine, the heart rate (on feel) felt steady but there was just nothing in the legs. I just couldn't get them to get under the 7 min pace. The 50 miler 15 days before was starting to bite me on the backside. I was struggling to work out the maths in my head but felt that if I can stick around 7 min miles I may be there or there abouts.
That shirt hill going up into Canary Wharf felt like a mountain and this was where my left knee started to hurt. At first I thought it would be fine but then it started to get worse. At this time I decided to take a risk and break open the ibuprofen. Something I'd never advise but without taking this chance the race was over. The next mistake was that I had no water to wash them down.
Sorry for the delay in the report. Have been in Birmingham for 2 days with work and haven't had a spare 5 mins.
Anyway, here's what I can remember from Sunday.
A bad start to the morning with no water in the hotel but managed to have poo no1 and met my mate in reception. He was running his first marathon so spent the train journey trying to give him as much advice as possible. I left him at the blue start and made my way to the red FGFA start at about 8.30. No queues for the toilets so got in early for the 2nd and final poo. Like Westy I also popped an Imodium just in case. Time seemed to fly really fast and it wasn't long until we went into the pens.
I felt a bit of an imposter going into Pen 1 as I wasn't sure I was quite up to that standard this year. I stayed away from the left hand side as didn't want to be sprayed upon.
At this point I still had no idea what shape I was in. I'd hardly done any MP runs in training and nothing over 8 miles. Based on this lack of evidence I decided to head out on feel hoping that would get me to half way in 1.28 and then see what happens (hopefully being able to hold on for a 1.31 second half)
Ran the first mile in 6.46 and this felt good. Knowing the first 3 miles were downhill I wasn't going to worry about being ahead of the plan