Met DanA at Gatwick and talked non-stop about running in general. Ended up being the last to board the plane due to aformentioned chatting and a misplaced boarding pass In Pisa we walked up to the Expo and then had a very classy dinner of pizza, chips and coke next to the Tower. Had an early night and slept ok-ish.
Race morning was the usual routine of banana, flapjack and coffee and headed to the start ready to go and feeling good. Made my way in the 'elite' front pen, said hi to Dan in the pen just behind and met up with the guy from Barnes runners that I'd arranged to run with.
About 10secs into the race I came face to face with a photographer in the middle of the road!! Nearly knocked him and myself over but just about managed to stay on my feet and shout some expletives before calming down and getting on with it.
The plan was 3:36/km until halfway (76:03) and assess from there. I also set a HR limit of 163 until halfway. The first few kms went by and we were pretty much bang on target at 5km but it didn't feel as easy as I hoped - HR and RPE were ok but my legs were worryingly heavy. By 10k we were about 20secs behind the plan and I told Paul that I wasn't too bothered as my legs weren't feeling too good. At 12km the half marathoners peeled away and a group of four of us were running together. We pretty much ran at 3:40/km until halfway (76:40ish) where we accelerated a little and dropped our two Italian friends. 21-29k was the best section of the race for me - I was getting into a rhythm and we were consistently knocking out 3:36/km.
At 29km we turned right back towards Pisa and hit a brisk headwind that immediately slowed us to 3:48/km for the same effort and HR. Paul started to struggle and dropped away at 31km. Into the wind my legs were deteriorating quickly and by 34km I was forced to slow down to make sure I could physically get to the finish! I felt good mentally and ready to push hard but for whatever reason, my legs would not play ball. It did mean that I wasn't red-lining for the last 8km and could 'enjoy' it a bit. Stopped looking at the watch other than to occasionally look at my HR diving!
Got overtaken at 41km but had nothing to respond with. Really enjoyed the finish and was blowing kisses to spectators before stopping a metre short of the line, bowing and then walking across it arms aloft. Probably looked like a wally but it felt good Immediately after stopping my lower back and right groin were very painful and even walking was a struggle. My legs were way worse than normal for the rest of the day. May be the two days off before (one day off is normally what I do) could have made them feel a bit heavy but the pain afterwards was odd.
Anyway, I should get 100E for coming 7th and it was good to meet DanA and have a few beers afterwards as well. I'm having a few days off and considering the plan for the Spring. I have entries to Manchester and London but won't race them both
2:36:58 - Through halfway in 1:16:40ish but never felt great - aerobically strong but legs not happy. Turned into a brisk wind at 18m, held it together ok until about 22m then the legs exploded. Smiled all the way and stopped to take a bow before stepping over the line.
Build up was spot on and the taper was good so not sure what happened really. Now's not the time for analysis, it's time for beer
Will post a full report tomorrow.
CW - I'm doing Pisa on Sunday I've read various conflicting stuff about the final two days and have tried all sorts of things. I know that my aerobic engine is good so I'm only concerned with getting the legs recovered - I did 98 miles last week and have struggled with heavy legs quite early in recent marathons. I will walk from the airport to the expo and then to the hotel on Sat which will be 3/4 miles so won't be sedentary!
TT - I've considered playing that game before but I think you need to running around 2:30 to regularly pick up the monies.
I've confirmed with a Brit who's in Pisa that we will be setting off together at 2:32 pace. I've also got my number - 13 and it's my 13th marathon...
TT - Nicely done - you''ll be adopting the CW approach of multiple full distance training runs before you know it!
ES - Sounds like the water certainly did something to your legs for a bit. All good training.
CW - Agree with TT - a break will probably do you the world of good.
Did my usual 2 at marathon HR today but the HR monitor was misbehaving so had to go by effort. Came out at 5:44/mile (2:30 pace) which is a good confidence boost but difficult to know how close I really was to marathon effort.
Just a couple more short runs tomorroe and Thurs then two days off before the race. Can't wait