Posted: Today at 12:29
A quick glance at the page numbers makes me realise I can't do a read-back in my lunchtime -- will have to save that until this evening at home. So report first, congrats later if that's OK!
Target was to keep my Garmin "average lap time" field showing 6:04 or 6:05 (it rounds down as displayed) for a safe 2:39:30-ish sub-2:40. First two miles were just about right, then mile 3 in 5:38 threw things of course (not that I'm complaining about the downhill) and the next two were a bit quick too (my fault). Despite consciously backing off a bit and letting it drift out to 6:03 average after a good few miles, it all felt beguilingly easy (as ever) and I couldn't help wondering if I was on near-PB form after all. I should have been more disciplined at this point and eased back still further. Miles 15 and 16 were both just sub-6, which was reckless really.
From about 18, it was feeling hard, and got progressively harder. After 3 slow ones in a row I latched onto the 3 women who were holding what I thought was a steady pace, cutting through the field, but actually they were racing and I accidentally dropped a 5:46 mile 20 hanging on to them. I paid for that with 3 more slow ones and saw my average go out to 6:06/M -- right on the cusp. I utterly buried myself for the last 3M but it wasn't quite enough; I made it about 2:40:04 on my watch (allowing for stopping it a few sec later), though annoyingly the gun time shown for our held-back-from-the-elites champs start added more to that, giving me 2:40:13 officially with a 26 sec positive split.
But hey... it is my fastest age-graded marathon to date (83.3%), sad of course to think always in those terms now! I got to the start line happy with my training, unaffected by illness or injury, and with kind weather. So I gave it my best shot.
My next marathon is Snowdonia -- I might revert to my old ways for that and give it a low-key, lower-mileage campaign as an experiment, as Lev and coro did to good effect yesterday (but retaining my extra-long long runs).
Great to see so many of you before, after, or at the pub -- always my favourite day of the year, and now I've gone and earnt myself champs starts for 2016 & 17 if the rules don't change. See you then!