Ali - just popped in to see how you were getting on with the club as I haven't really been about much (understandably). Looks like it's working really well for you and your performances are showing that! Well done! Dunoon looked like a great wee day out and some brilliant performances too, might have to see about making it a regular social event! Kudos on the PB too!
As for the autumn marathon debate, I thought I would dive in with an opinion just to shake it up a bit. Personally I think if you haven't been doing any focussed training for the marathon at this stage I would miss the autumn marathon and start the long game training for a spring marathon. I know marathon runners are a funny bunch and missing a spring/autumn marathon opportunity feels losing a limb. With your marathon experience I've no doubt that 8-10 weeks is long enough for you to get in good enough shape to toe the line and run a decent time but it's not going to show your capabilities. Plus if you do an autumn marathon you'll then need to take a break after it to recover and probably wont start building again until the new year whereas there is an abundance of racing to get involved in through the winter now that you are a club runner!
Purely from my experience last year building towards Manchester here's an idea of what I would suggest (This is almost exactly what I did, you could adjust races etc to suit) August/September - Spend the next 2 months concentrating on building to the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon on 4th October (Henderson cup, Round Cumbrae 10 mile or Stirling 10k in between). There are also road relay races the club pays for during September you can get involved in. October - Cross Country season, 10th October West District Relays, 17th October Dunbartonshire Relays, 24th National Relays. Great for building your speed and strength (and for practising suffering ) November - Lots more races, National 4k short course cross country, Allan Scally road relays, Dunbartonshire cross country champs, Glasgow Uni 5 mile road race. December - Marcothon!! If you've not heard of it, it's a challenge to run every day in December. It's a great way to start base training for your marathon especially through the ice and snow and most of the club gets involved. Also West District cross country champs. January - Marathon training begins February - National cross country champs. The big one! Always a great day out and a challenging course to see what shape you are in. March - Balloch to Clydebank half marathon, a very flat and fast half (although I know you're a fan of Alloa). There's also the National 6 stage road relays to get involved in. Then before you know it the spring marathon has arrived and you're ready to smash it! Good luck whatever you decide! Also, good to see carterusm doing great, looks like you continued progressing well after Manchester, well done mate!
Thanks WJH! I dedicated 4 months of my life to that one race! I gave up drinking, i practically gave up socialising! Damn right i'm going to get a little blubbery when it goes to plan! I didn't notice the gel station either, but i did hear stories in the pub afterwards of people reaching out to grab a gel and the woman turning her back to get more at precisely the wrong time. They weren't complaining though as they still PB'd!
Carterusm - Thanks! It's not the course, it's more the distance. I consider myself to be rather inexperienced when it comes to marathons so was taking a lot of advice from peers and the general response i was getting was that most runners slow in the second half of a marathon and i should expect to lose 1-2 minutes. I'd come to expect that would happen, regardless of how i was feeling.
Animal Magic - I can't recommend a running club highly enough. If you really want to see big improvements in your performance i can't think of a better way to go about it. I hope you get involved and good luck!
Saint Jason - We lost one of our best female runners to you guys a couple years back. Katie White. I saw her marshalling around 7.5 miles at the marathon. I'm sure it's Sale she went to.
Still trying to find the time to read back through everyones race reports, will get to it as soon as possible!
Going to try a steady run tonight but my quads are still pretty sore.
Round the corner and can see the finish line is 100 - 150 metres away and slightly downhill. The books and sites I've been reading have told me to spend the last few weeks visualising how I'm going to celebrate as I head down the finish straight. Hands in the air? Fist pumping the sky? High-fiving the spectators? I did none of these in the end. I put my head down, pulled the best gurning face I could muster and kicked hard. Forgot to stop my watch but could see the finish line clock hit 2:39:57 as I passed so knew I'd made it. Elation followed by a few tears. Found my way to the meeting point and tried to sit on the pavement, few more tears. Mrs B arrived and I try to stand up - lots of tears! Then back to the hotel. Official Time: 2:39:46 Position: 34th Gels carried: 7 Gels consumed: 1 before and 2.5 during Toe-nails lost: Only one! Still smiling!
Up at 6am and an easy breakfast, followed by a very nervous wait in the hotel. Walked over to the start, dropped off my bag and long wait in the toilet queue and all of a sudden I'm running late. Quick (3 min) warm up over to the start. Had been told be a few people who had previously run the race that as it was quite small there would no problem getting to the front. Cue my surprise at entering the pen and getting nowhere near the front. 'Why is it so busy?' I stress.. Then I see it. The 3 hour pacer and his flag are on the front row with the elite runners. Therefore everyone aiming for sub 3 is trying to cling to him like glue and is therefore forced on to the front few rows. What's that about?? Don't get stressed Alan, we'll deal with it. The race sets off and thankfully it's a wide road and not too difficult getting going. 300 yards in and the guy next to me tries to take his first gel, drops and manages to stand on it, exploding all over my legs. Nice start. Apart from that, the first few miles were fairly uneventful, ticking off the mile markers, keeping the splits on target. Getting passed by lots of runners thinking 'I'll see you again in 15 miles..' Great atmosphere at 7 miles, lots of folk out cheering. Mrs B is at 9 miles cheering me on along with a big crowd. Through 10 miles in 1:00:45, 15 seconds ahead of target, quick self assessment and feeling good. Pass 12 miles and someone is at the side of the road calling out our positions. I'm 81st. Wow! Further back than I expected. Last year, 2:40 got you about 28th. Half way in 1:19:38, exactly where I want to be. Feeling great, very surprised at this fact. But for some reason I've already decided that sub 2:40 is out the window. I'd been told by so many people that I would lose about 2 minutes in the second half that I had already accepted this fact even though I was showing no signs of slowing. 'Not going to slow down until I need to though'. Onwards! By now I'm finally starting to catch people, lots of people. I didn't realise it but overtaking people wasn't just giving me a psychological boost, I was also picking up the pace. The out and back section here meant I could also people watch to help me through, trying to look out for fellow 'freds'. Getting shouts from other Scottish club members too and then Mrs B screaming at me again at mile 16 all added up to a really good few miles for me. By the time I get to mile 20 I'm nearly 45 seconds up on target and still feeling pretty good. Still don't think 2:40 is on.. Long lonely section from 20 to 24 miles, still passing people though which really helps. By mile 22 my quads are starting to feel stiff, pace isn't slowing though. Mile 23, quads are becoming painful. 'Dig in Alan!' Mile 24, 6:15 - F*ck! (Target was 6:06's). 'You had a 50 second window Alan, hold this pace and you should be fine' Mile 25. Where's the 25 mile marker? No sign of it. Must be missing, just go by the garmin. 6:18. Can't work out what that does to my window, must be about 25-30 seconds..? Mrs B is there again screaming! Everyone hears her scream my name and they start shouting for me too. I'm hurting so much but this gives me an adrenaline boost and I'm picking it up again. Wait..What? The 25 mile marker appears. I check the garmin. 25.5 miles, what the f*ck?? Watch is saying 2:35, no chance of going sub 2:40! Instant deflation. Start to come to my senses. I can see Old Trafford. it's definitely less than 1.2 miles away. It must be wrong, just get back to business and get to that finish line! The final corner appears. I have no idea how far the finish straight is going to be. Quick check of the watch, 2:39:2X, this is going to be tight! Round the corner and can see the finish line is 100 - 150 metr