AG, excellent report and a very well executed race. You may have had a little more in the tank, but I'm sure you've got faster marathons to come anyway, so not worth getting hung up on. At least you experienced the joy of being able to finish a marathon strongly, something I've yet to encounter. Plus, the recovery period may well be shorter as a result.
PMJ, good marathon performance from you as always, and some typical stats analysis to boot.
Bus, nice trophy collecting there. I suspect I know who that must have been - yes, I didn't want to be the guy who went around afterwards saying "it was only part of a long run" to all and sundry (apart from you lot on here), so that may have come as a surprise. He's improving though, and will no doubt put me under pressure soon enough.
Ric, hope you win the battle with your rebellious body.
Lit, another top quality marathon. Sub 3 is just a stroll in the park these days, isn't it?
I posted a long old race report on the Stevie G thread, but I shall summarise here.
Target pace was 1:17ish at halfway and either increase or maintain as felt appropriate. Plan was to get to halfway with TT. A little congested at the start due to starting too far back, meant a couple of miles over 6s, but knew that could easily be pulled back later on. The gaps started opening after two miles, and dodging through them meant a bit of a silly 5:26. TT kept on doing it, so I let him go, cos I knew it would come back to haunt me later on. Ran with CD for a while up to about 6-7 miles.
Pace felt good right the way through to about 19-20 miles, and probably had my strongest section of the race between about 13 and 19 miles. After 20 miles the fatigue kicked in and the pace began to tail off, imperceptibly at first, but by 23 miles I could see the A target becoming less and less doable. The complete collapse was held off until 24.5 miles (I always have a point where I fall apart, and this is the latest one yet), from which I ran/jogged my way to a 2:36:27, a PB by almost four minutes.
Splits look great as long as you cover the bottom two with your hands.
40-42.2K: 8:54 (20:20 pace)
Post race was a mess. Into the medical tent, assisted by TT and another clubmate, and from there an afternoon of nausea and vomiting awaited. Assumed my usual position on the steps outside the Red Lion, unable to summon the strength to go and socialise. Coach ride home was ... er ... best forgotten. Somehow I managed to eat an ice cream in the middle of that, which I suspect was an error. It's only been this morning that I've felt well and able to be satisfied with the result. And I am definitely satisfied. Yes, my shorter times are easily superior, but your strengths have to lie somewhere, and mine just aren't in the marathon. I'm content with that. Great to see those I saw - PP, CD, Al_P, Dan, and was it coro in the tent before the race?
This is where I should be telling you how, delighted with my new PB and with a spring in my step, I headed off to the pub to bask in friends’ tales of glories and disasters. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Dizzy, with pins and needles in my face, and with vision all over the shop, my two clubmates prop me up, and convince me to go into the medical tent. There, I am seated, warmed up and watched by very attentive medical people, until my half hour time is allotted and I feel well enough to move. My clubmates kindly stay with me. From there we walk to the pub, but once again I start to feel rotten, and sit back on the steps outside, hood up, looking like a ‘homeless man’ according to a sympathetic clubmate.
Eventually I head off to where the club coach will be going from, and when I get there, knowing I need to eat something, I spy an ice-cream van. A-ha! I know I can get that down! A rich creamy foodstuff inside an empty unsettled stomach. Nothing can go wrong! However, history will show otherwise. The result is in an unedifying, vomit strewn journey home, where I am cared for by yet another angelic clubmate. A chap next to me thankfully sleeps throughout. Or at least pretends to do so.
As we arrive back, and I am about to totter to my car, a clubmate suggests I should go to A&E and get an IV. I can well imagine that the consequences of ending up on an IV will be that my wife forbids me from running any more marathons for many years, so I assure him that all is well and that I am indeed OK to drive home. As soon as the conversation ends I disappear behind a bush and throw up heartily. This is good timing, because the immediate post vomit window of calm allows me a chance to drive the 2 miles home. There I retire to my bedroom and gradually recover.
So, to sum up, I am happy with the PB and the performance, know I gave it all I could, and am at ease with the fact that the marathon isn’t really my event and that my marathon times will never quite live up to my shorter distances. You’ve got to be better at something, haven’t you? However, the post-marathon nausea is more of a concern, and I’m not in a hurry to run another one if it’s going to cause this kind of illness. I will be back at some point, but now I’ve put the sub 2:40 ghost well to rest, I can’t see it being in the next 2 years.
Incidentally, all is fine now, and, seeing as how I have the day off, I treated myself to a fry-up in a cafe for breakfast once the kids were in school, and the glow of satisfaction with the result finally came.
15-20K: 18:17 – Through 10 miles in 59, exactly on target. Still feeling good, I pull up onto the shoulder of an Oxford runner and thoroughly nice chap who’s been well ahead in the cross country season, but I’ve generally edged out on the track. Chat for a bit until I realise that it’s probably best to just concentrate. Slightly alarmed to hear he’s about to turn 50. Feel inadequate. Overcompensate by dropping a 5:43 mile coming up to Tower Bridge. Actually enjoy the support across the bridge this year, whereas last time out I just found it oppressive.
20-25K: 18:11 - Between 20 and 30K is probably my strongest section of the race. The 5K splits maybe don’t reflect that, but 25-30K particularly is where there are a lot of twists and turns, sudden headwinds and whatnot. Going through the half marathon mark in 1:17:14, so right in the intended zone whilst still feeling good boosts the confidence, and I proceed to drop my fastest 5k of the race.
25-30K: 18:24 – I really don’t like Docklands. You have absolutely no idea where you are, suddenly the O2 appears on your right when you expect it to be on your left. Am I running north, south, east, west, or some entirely new point of the compass invented purely to disorientate me? No idea. Oh shit, a small uphill. Was that here last time? Not a clue. Still running well though, and still on target.
30-35K: 18:40 – this is when the fatigue started to come into it. I’m still weaving through Docklands when to my mind I should already be on the homeward stretch. Drinking and taking gels is interfering with my breathing, and more 6 minute miles are appearing than I would like. 2:35 is looking more difficult, but grit my teeth and tell myself to just get as far as I can get at something approaching the right pace.
35-40K: 19:03 – This 5km section is where the A target slipped away. The mental calculations about how slow I could go and still run 2:37 were starting to appear. Actually, most of the slowdown came towards the end of this section, as I was still running pretty well going through my club’s main marshalling point at the Tower. Two years ago I was already shuffling here.
40-42.2K: 8:54 (20:20 pace) – I always have a meltdown at the end of a marathon. In my debut it was 22 miles. In my PB race at Abingdon it was at 23 miles. Last time I ran London, it was already happening at 18. This time, I managed to stave off the proper collapse until 24.5 miles. I’d managed to get past a fast starting clubmate at around 40K, but by 25 miles I was interspersing running fast with jogging, and he came past again. When I moved my head my eyesight went funny. Concentrated on holding it together until the end. About 5 people came past in a sprint finish, but that’s just par for the course these days. Stumbled across the line in 2:36:27 – a new PB by almost four minutes.