Posted: 30/06/2013 at 21:46
Having never swum the full distance until today, or rode the full distance, I was now in the realm of the unknown again having never run a marathon. The first 2km are on tarmac, then onto the trails and into the New Forest. A killer. I had run on the route once in training so knew what to expect - I knew where I would be walking on each lap, but there were some areas for decent running to occur. The first 10km in 60min, happy! But another 3-4km and the wheels came off (for the first, but not the last time!). The start of what others have described as the IM shuffle! I get it now!
The lasting impression for me will be the cameraderie - other runners sharing the same experience, just at different times. I got 'low' when others around me appeared to be racing off, only to discover me passing them 30mins later when I was 'in the zone' again. Moods were on/off, up/down, high/low but the feed stations kept you going along (about every 2.5km). Immensely humbling experience.
Slowly the average pace on the Garmin drops, you try and work out whether 4hr45 is still on, then sub-5h. I think my last 7km was probably the fastest 7km in the last half of the run - I hit a good spell right at the end to run back home strongly and finish well. Run time 5hr 09.
My time was 13hr 31sec which was alittle disappointing on the surface. But I made my first IM distance event and was running well at the end, and still smiling! I loved it! The swim was great, the bike better than I thought (I could have ridden further) but the run disintegrated sooner than I expected.
The comments of others around me were the wind had taken more out of people (particularly first-timers) than you realised, and I think this is probably reflected in my good pace for 5-6hrs then getting unhinged despite feeling ok-ish.
The run is particularly demolarising if you can't pick things up to get back on pace - a very difficult thing to do in the third discipline of the day.
The organisation of the whole weekend was superb - I felt very well looked after. I loved this event - and am very happy it is as low-key as it is. I would love to do more long-distance races, but think that the time I had to train this year may not be possible to get again until both my kids are at school in a couple of years. These memories will last me until I can get a good training run again, but I would definately cut the training from 30 weeks to 24 say?
Until then I think it is back to 70.3 races for me - much easier to fit the volume of training into my life