Latest posts by literatin

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Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 21:23


And by contrast with last year I don’t stiffen up as soon as I stop running! I feel a little stiff but there is still a spring in my step (I have an extremely bouncy walking style in general) as I walk to the marshalls to get my timing chips removed. I think the whole year of consistent, reasonably high-mileage structured training since the last marathon has made me a better and more resilient runner in general, not just a faster one, and I have SG to thank for that. (Also last year I found it hard to get any food into me for a couple of hours; this year I hoover up a flapjack and an apple while still in the changing tent.)

I collect my bag, and stretch a little bit while waiting for CC2. She appears with a big grin on her face a few minutes later, having run 2:58:22 (but she doesn’t know the seconds yet because she forgot to stop her watch, amateur). Then we go to the pub. The end.

(except I have some interesting stats, which I will post later).

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 21:22

VMLM Report Part 4

Mile 15. I pass a visually impaired runner with his guide. The runner stumbles on each of the speed bumps we are going over and it seems like the guide, though obviously doing a sterling job, is not quite warning him about them at exactly the right moment. I warn him of an imminent ramp as I run past.

25k: bang on 1:45. I’m aware I’m edging slightly ahead of my original 21:xx per 5k pattern.

Mile 16, or thereabouts. I overtake a Welsh man in a green mankini.

Somewhere between miles 16 and 18. I overtake a man in a wedding dress. There is plenty of space to run now and it’s more like I remember from last year. Also now the crowd has thinned out people are cheering me on by name as they can see me and my top quality iron-on letters. At mile 17 I take my third gel (apple flavour).

Mile 18 onwards. Shoulders and neck are starting to feel a bit stiff so I make a conscious effort to relax a bit. Legs still fine; lungs could keep this up all day.

Mile 22. I take my final gel. It is lemon and lime flavour and tastes like a gloopy, warm Calippo. Yum.

Mile 24. I emerge from the tunnel and see my dad, who has got a great position (having apparently climbed over a wall) and is filming me running. I will see if I can post the video at some point. My mum, sister, brother, and sister’s boyfriend are on the other side of the road. I forget to look at the clock in an actually taking in the time sort of way, but I know I’m way ahead of target (it was meant to say 2:44 here if I was going to make sub 3) and I feel fine so I know I can push as hard as I like now. My legs are a bit tired (obviously) but I feel entirely comfortable aerobically (compared to mile 11 of a half, for example) and I honestly do feel like I’m nearly there rather than feeling like 2.2 miles is a long way. I can’t believe how quickly the race has gone by (not speed of running, but perception of time).

Mile 24.5. I overtake Patrick from Long Eaton who beat me at Rushcliffe parkrun two weeks ago.

Mile 25. The clock is supposed to say 2:51:xx at this point if I am on target for sub 3. It actually says 2:48:xx. Hurrah!

I overtake a man dressed as a portaloo.

Mile 25.5. I am running just to the left of and slightly behind this one man for a longish stretch. The crowd are amazing at this point; there are not too many runners crowded together, so they just shout KATIE over and over again. It occurs to me that this must be slightly annoying for the man. ‘Sorry about this,’ I say. I’m not sure if he knew what I was apologising for. 20 seconds later it occurs to me that it’s reasonably impressive to still be feeling chatty this late in a marathon. I run mile 26 in 6:33, which is faster than miles 12 and 13 of Reading half (6:37, though that was into a headwind). At the end of the half, I was panting like a steam train. At the end of the marathon, it’s my legs that are tired, not my lungs.

800m to go. Last year this seemed like the longest 800m I had ever run. This year I was prepared for that, but finished way more strongly anyway. I run the last 0.27 miles (according to my garmin) at 6:00 pace, which is 5k PB pace. As I run to the finish I can see that the clock is on low 2:56:xx and I cannot believe I am going to go under 2:57. I actually still don’t believe that I will do that at this stage, though someone capable of rational thought would have known it couldn’t take a whole minute to get down that short stretch of road. I feel elated as I cross the finish line, but remember to stop my garmin, which says 2:56:34.

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 21:20

In a minute, in the pause between dinner (pan-fried duck breast with fennel, orange, black orange & wild garlic salad) and cheese.

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 20:33

That's a terrifying picture, Johnas.

I am not doing every mile, just the ones where there is something interesting to note. Anyway, part 3:

Somewhere in the first half. Phil points out a pub that I should never go to. I am pleased to have a pacer with this kind of crucial local knowledge. He tells me there are many other pubs in south and east London that you also don’t want to go to. Phil knows this because he has been to all of them.

At the second Lucozade station the road is quite narrow and there are discarded half-full Lucozade bottles everywhere. This confirms my opinion that people who drink Lucozade are twats.

Mile 12. I take my second gel (blackcurrant flavour). This is the second-least-interesting flavour. And yes, I have deliberately arranged my gels in my belt in order of flavour preference. Amy remarks that this is the most fun marathon she has ever done, in terms of general sociability and getting to run with people you know. I agree, then think to myself how nice it is to have people to run with. This is ironic, as I do not know at this point that I am just about to ditch them all.

20k. 1:24:xx. I’m totally convinced about splitting it up into 5k chunks by now.

Halfway. Phil seems put out to be a few seconds outside his target halfway window. But not on chip time, he hastens to point out. I can’t believe we’re at halfway already; this race is going past really quickly.

I’ve been running nearish to Phil this whole time, sometimes slightly behind, sometimes slightly ahead. After the next water station I realise I am ahead and can’t see where he is behind me anymore. But I don’t worry about it as (a) I feel great and perfectly capable of running the pace I am running (6:42) and (b) I expect he will catch me up in due course and if he doesn’t, so much the better. I suspect he has a few seconds on me on chip time as I started so near the front, and this is the point where I start to think maybe my 2:59 plan doesn’t leave enough of a window for error, especially when you add up the extra tiny lap splits I am adding from time to time to realign myself with the mile markers. I know I am ahead of target as all mile splits have been 6:50 or under (sometimes by a decent amount) but add 10-15 secs here and there, and what you are left with is something too complicated for my mid-race mental arithmetic capabilities. Add to that the fact that I have done enough MP training to know what ‘comfortable’ should feel like in a marathon, and my decision to let myself push on a bit at this early stage of the race seems totally justified. I’d be feeling like a bit of a twat now if I’d hit the wall at 22 miles. Anyway, I don’t overdo it, but I let the current lap average drift down into 6:3x territory, which is a thing I said beforehand I would definitely not do (6:40 was going to be the limit).

Mile 14. Somewhere around here I notice a minor niggle in my inner right ankle. It doesn’t really hurt (an intermittent slight twinge) but I am just slightly concerned that it could develop into something more serious, though I don’t panic as it’s not an area that’s ever been injured before. Aerobically I’m feeling great, so I think the only thing likely to slow me down is if my legs don’t co-operate. But I don’t think pace is likely to make much difference to this, so I decide I’ll be fine as long as I keep good form and don’t trip over a discarded bottle or similar. In the end this wears off after a few miles.

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 20:15

It is the Easter vacation and I am taking a week of my annual leave, Lou. I have been out for tea and to the Serpentine Gallery with a friend and then met another friend for cocktails. Just have to cook dinner and then I will post part 3. Bet you are all on tenterhooks.

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 14:31

I have to go out again now. 

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 14:13

You're in the next bit, Phil...

VMLM report part 2

Mile 5. It feels more congested than I remember from last year and stays that way more or less to halfway. This is the first water station where I want some water, but it’s too crowded for me to get there to grab any off the last marshal. I get separated from the others here as I am slightly ahead, but this time I can’t see them in the crowd to drop back, and there isn’t really space to drop back and find them, so I just carry on. I’m running at a steady pace now anyway so it’s not hard to keep it the same.

Shortly after this I hear my name from behind. It’s PhilPub! I am delighted to meet him in real life. He invites me to admire his flag, which is really, really shit. Someone had cocked up and given the promised green flag to someone else, then tried to make up for it by making a flag out of some orange bin bags and writing 2:59 on it with a marker pen. Great, I have swapped running with a spectacular beard to running with a sub-Blue-Peter children’s craft project.

I have more or less given up on rejoining Johnas, CC2 and Andy at this stage and decide to stick with Phil. I feel slightly guilty about demanding that Johnas follow my pacing strategy (even 6:48s, halfway in 1:29) rather than the one suggested by him (6:55s for 1st 10k, 6:48s for 2nd 10k, pick up pace a bit for 3rd 10k, throw everything you’ve got left at last 12k), but then unceremoniously dumping him after half an hour. But not very guilty, and he’s still got the other two.

Mile 6. I fail to notice the Cutty Sark.

We cross the 10k mat in 42:xx. I realise that the 5k timing mats will be a pretty good guide to pace as 21 is easy to multiply in your head so I can work out what to expect on the clock at each one. I briefly think of you lovely people on the live-stalker app.

I overhear some other runners in the vicinity chatting worriedly about running near the 2:59 pacer when they are targeting 2:55. They think he is going too fast, but it is wishful thinking as they are probably going a bit too slow. I think he is going very slightly faster than I want (6:42ish rather than my planned 6:48), but he is quite right to do so as we’re losing a few seconds on each mile either for weaving through crowds or GPS inaccuracy. I have autolap on but at various points when the mile split comes up noticeably before the mile marker I press the lap button to get each lap back on the official course. I do this for the first time at 7 miles, for a tiny extra ‘lap’ of 0.04 miles in 15 seconds. This is so that I can concentrate on one mile split at a time, but will have a good idea of how much ‘extra’ time I need to get under my TOP SECRET target.

At the first Lucozade station some twat spills Lucozade all over my legs. I tell Phil about this. He is fascinated.

We are running at around 6:45 pace. A year ago that was half marathon pace (quite hard). Now it feels easy.

Mile 7. I take an SiS Go gel (orange flavour). This is the least exciting flavour so I have it first.

Mile 8-ish. We catch up with Phil’s female clubmate Amy that he’s been looking for and who is also targeting sub 3 (and I think managed it). Later we come across another clubmate of theirs running in a charity vest. It’s like being down the pub or something.

15k. 1:03:xx. Still pretty even pacing, then…

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 14:08

I have been for a lovely walk, bought some duck and fennel for dinner and had lunch (sourdough pizza). Are you ready for part 2?

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 10:41

...up for all other race distances.

To be continued after I go to the market. Nearly judged the amount you can get in one post right!

Overdone it?

Posted: Yesterday at 10:40

Okay, here is part one:

VMLM Race Report

At the Champs start I meet up with CC2 (of the sub 3:15 thread) and also meet Dachs and assorted members of the sub 3 thread. Johnas from SG’s thread joins us. He has a very impressive beard.  He reiterates his promise to run the first half in exactly 6:48 per mile, as previously requested by me. I reveal that he gets to pace CC2 as well as me, and a bloke from Dachs’s club (who is clearly fast enough to be on the Champs start with a sub-75 half but aiming for sub 3 after not much marathon training) decides to join us. No pressure, then, Johnas.

(NB. As regular readers of another thread might know, Johnas had not targeted VMLM due to an injury earlier in the year, but had a champs place and wanted to run the first half of the marathon anyway as his Sunday long run for the atmosphere. This struck me as being extremely convenient. It’s all about me.)

There are actual (admittedly small) queues for the portaloos this year. I am not impressed. It wasn’t like this in the old days (of 2013). CC2 and I put our bags on the truck and queue up for a wee (wazz?). Obviously I don’t need a poo because I went before I left the house. Almost immediately after we have been to the loo she panics and decides she needs a second wee, so rejoins the queue while I go and warm up by jogging up and down Shooters Hill Road a bit, where I fail to see Richard. I do re-find J (and C, post-wee) though and we jog up the road together again. By this stage people are assembling ready to be led to the start just behind the elites. We realise we have made a tactical error and have ended up too near the back (near the 3:10-3:15ish women) but I am pleased to at least be a little warmed up as it is rather chilly. As we move forward to the start line we see a chance to slip round the edge and follow Johnas. We slightly overdo this and end up WAY too near the front but we get to see Mo! through a little gap in the crowd. We are too short to see Mo over people’s heads.

We set off and cross the start line in 7 seconds. There are quite a few Tunbridge Wells Harriers marshalling in the early part of the race and they all cheer Johnas on. It’s a beautiful day and there is a carnival atmosphere except the people shouting HUMP who seem a bit blasé about the whole thing. I don’t notice the merge with green start and forget to look left for PhilPub.

Mile 1. The clock says 6:48 as we run under it. Johnas is pleased with himself.

We continue running at around target pace, slightly faster in mile 3, which is a bit downhill. I usually just train with ‘current pace’ showing on my garmin, but after my failed attempt to run 6:48s on Weds (6:38s only one digit different) I have added a second screen showing only total time and average lap pace (with the option to go back to my normal screen with time, distance, current pace if I don’t like it). In the end this is what I use for the whole race, concentrating on one mile at a time. I am still with Johnas, CC2 and Andy, which is pleasingly sociable. It’s still quite crowded, and especially when we join up with the red start.

We cross the 5k timing mat in around 21 minutes.

For the first three miles the pace felt fine but I wasn’t feeling confident about being able to sustain it for 26.2 miles, probably because I’d had a very sketchy warm-up (5 mins of jogging) and hadn’t quite got going yet. I had to tell myself to think about it logically and note that in all the ways that mattered (comfortable breathing, legs feeling fine) there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to keep doing it for as long as necessary. But from about this point on it is starting to feel easy. So I guess that is why we do a 3-mile warm-

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