As most are aware, I was prevaricating over race plan; quandary due to this year’s form & half marathon time suggesting around 3:15 may be feasible, after last year’s 1:38 half & 3:32 & 3:34 marathon times. Could I realistically go 17-19 mins faster, especially as a VoGit? I decided on an attempt for a new club record at V60 – currently 3:16:54. No point in being timid.
So, I took my place at Green pen 3 (based on the aforementioned times). Only 25 metres or so back from the start line, but found myself hemmed in by 8 min milers, when I wanted to be at 7:25 or so pace. First mile was therefore over 8 mins, but no worries – plenty of time to ease into things. I saw the 3:15 flag up ahead, and aimed to latch on in due course. By about 5K I’d done so, and stayed more or less 50 metres behind until halfway – reached in 1:37:29, so on target. Saw my son & daughter at 9 miles (hand touching as I went by) & 11 miles (blew them kisses).
Still with pacer at around 15, but then just started to drift. Felt OK mentally, though – still on course for a shot at the record. By Canary Wharf I’d lost touch (son later told me I was a minute down at the 18 mile point) . 20 miles came and went – still positive, although aware I was tiring, but still propelling myself onwards. It was at about 22 I really began to feel proper fatigue – the 35k-40k split shows this – slowed to 24:36 – so over 49 min 10K pace. (Although the official stats show a net gain of 144 places in last 7.2K – passed 235, was passed by 91).
The voices kicked in now, but I banished them with my “don’t give in, don’t give up” mantra. The last section of the Embankment was very tough – felt like my quads were being whacked by an invisible rolling pin with each stride – but just before the turn to head down Birdcage, I heard (and spotted) my lovely daughter (no blown kisses this time), but this gave me a last boost to head for home. I knew by now that club record was out of reach, but calculated sub 3:20 still on, and so it panned out – crossed the line in chip time of 3:18:43; the only emotion at that point was a feeling of relief.
Made my way to the reunion point to meet son & daughter (very special to me that they were there – my last London), gave them proper kisses this time, and exchanged congrats/commiserations with clubmates. Finally reached Chandos, but as mentioned earlier, it was too packed to have a chance of spotting anyone I might accost with “are you Poacher, Lorenzo etc” . . . .
So, on reflection, I’m pretty happy – yes, I missed the record by 1:49, but I wasn’t timid, and I managed to be quicker than my previous 4 marathons, and the best part of 16 mins faster than the last one at Mablethorpe. 25th VoGit from 521 in the category, and 76% WAVA (same as my PB). I was fortunate enough to secure my goal of 26 completed marathons (one for each mile of the distance), as hoped for in London (my favourite course), by the age of 60, and with the (to me, anyway) pleasing stat of 50% of the completions being at London. So, 13 not unlucky for me.
Well, some superb results !! Jools, wonderful again - you just get better & better . . . MsE - brilliant & big PB - well done, esp in view of bottle incident . . . Badbark & OO - congrats on PB's . . ., also Death Punch with a big one . . Lorenzo - nicely run esp with Comrades-focussed training this time good work by SB & GE (well done coping with the cramp - not nice) Poacher - fine job completing (again) after recent issues (& hope you spent the 10e wisely) not forgetting Jase - marvellous work lastly, a word for leslie - half PB well-bagged
a great day all round, then - I suppose I'd better get round to compiling a report . . .
KR - the main part I found myself running solo was soon after halfway to maybe 21/22 miles - I don't think I passed (or was passed) for about 7 miles ! However, in the last 4 or 5 miles I started passing other runners and was able to keep focussing on the next one ahead. The worst bit by far is a loop through housing estates which is included in lap 2 at around 24 miles before you head up the slope onto the prom for the final mile or so. This loop isn't encountered on lap 1, as at the start there's a trip through the town centre which is missed out on lap 2.
MsE - classic tapering - you'll probably run a stormer
speaking of which - 4 easy today - right hamstring sore, also wondering whether to ditch my usual mara shoes for a pair I've only run 3 or 4 times in, and never more than 6 miles, but which feel much more cushioned than the usuals . . . . . . .
rest planned next 2 days (travelling Friday), 15 minute jog Sat morn,
no 27992 green start for me - if anyone wishes to stick me on the list . . . .