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Sorry not to be able to catch up, SC. Only half a very brief time in the Red Lion (details below) – would have far rather stayed for longer and widened the social net a bit. Hope you had a good day out. Your lad is going very well – you are an inspiration to him.
Come on Jools, a parkrun the day before a marathon is comparatively sensible to the morning of! Very tasty long run. I think you could go well in Newport.
Great stuff, Pete!
Great result, SG! I love a random off-road race like that. Take all the pots you can get.
It is low mileage Reg, but if you keep that consistent, and layer in the bike thrashings, you have shown you can get in very strong shape.
London Marathon 2021 Race Report
TL;DR great day out!
A classic pre-race morning of various kids’ swim and gymnastics classics, with me joining in for one pool session quite a good way to loosen off. Didn’t manage to squeeze in a run, but wasn’t going to stress about that.
Afternoon coach down to London, before arriving in the torrential rain. Having packed light, my only non-race clothes were absolutely soaked, and I spent the late afternoon and evening in the AirBnB/basic hotel largely wrapped in towels.
Watched a couple of London Marathon videos, with a good Ben Parkes one that got the juices flowing. Tried some visualisation, then turned in for an early (yet standardly fitful) night’s sleep.
Classic breakfast of banana pancakes (two eggs, one banana cooked in coconut oil) and a few cashews and plenty of salt (Himalayan pink salt – exceptionally middle class). Left the accommodation just after seven, leaving my overnight bag in the alarmingly open and unmanned reception desk area.
A smooth tube, train and walk to the Green start. The excitement really starts building on this section of the journey and you can feel the nerves of the first timers and anticipation of those a little more experienced. I am a rare visitor to London these days, so despite being bored there, the skyscrapers and world-famous views are exciting.
Whilst there were no celebrities to spot, there was the Guinness World Record registration photo area, with the amusing sight of Egyptian mummies, a brain, a 12-person train, a globe, a guy in wellies and more.
Reminded myself of my key messages and targets: start steady, bank energy not time, finish strong to sub-3.
Vassed up, carbon-plated up and dropped my medical gear with the information point team – as instructed. ‘Yes sir, this will be with your bag at the finish’ – perfecto.
We could see and hear the elites start at bang on 0930, but we, despite no one in front of use, were not allowed to begin until 0933.
We were off! Inevitably, got a little caught up in the downhill opening 5k (6:36 pace). It was a little weird with more slower runners in front than usual. No problem overtaking, but must have been a little annoying and daunting for them. That said, I was probably being overtaken more than me overtaking. Tried to view this as a good thing – I’ll see them later! Enjoyed a few signs, including a twist on the classic Lance Armstrong quote: “Pain is temporary, Strava is forever”. And plenty of variations on “You’ve got more left in your tank than my car”. And some anti-vax ones that really pissed me off. Then Mr Wellington-Boots overtook me – bloody outrageous!
Enjoyed the music and support in the second and third 5ks (both 6:38 pace), and especially having the chance to catch up with Macca for aa few miles. How he was running on post-spartathlon legs is beyond me. And more on this legend later! Took my first Maurten gel at 5M, with the intention of three or four in total. As usual, Cutty Sark was a real highlight, and it is hard not to speed up in the excitement. Great support here.
It wasn’t too long until we were approaching 12M and then Tower Bridge. A runner from Winchester thanked me for letting him draft, he asked if there were any exciting bits coming up – most definitely! Crossing the bridge is always electrifying, absolutely love it. Pace probably varied a little here, but averaged out at 6:38, reaching half way in 1:27 and change. With the wind due to be less kind in the second half, this seemed about right.
I was trying to rein it in, deliberately wanting to store up some energy for the final 10k. I loved seeing the elite ladies come past, including Charlotte Purdue and Sinead Diver – both have great stories, with Diver in particular being a real inspiration.
Average pace for these two 5k sections was now 6:41-42. Felt like I was maintaining, but it was certainly into the wind and the sun was coming out. I enjoyed being on the other side of the barrier a few miles later, trying to spot clubmates around the 14/21M mark.
Every few miles, I was scanning through the body, checking everything felt ok. The hamstrings were the most noticeably tiring, and at the greatest risk of cramp. I think this is linked to not being in the gym and deadlifting like in previous campaigns.
Finally at the 20M mark – HALF WAY! The plan was to gradually increase effort here. The desired input occurred, although in reality the output was to maintain pace/not slow too horrifically. I was noticeably overtaking more people now. The tide was turning, but still I was trying to maintain the balance between pushing on a risking debilitating cramps. 5k average in the 6:45 region now.
Made it to the parkrun to section, and still enjoying the crowds. For me, this is a good barometer of how I am feeling – absolutely destroyed, and the crowds are oppressive and unhelpful, but today I was on just the right side and enjoyed every shout out of “go Josh”!
The sights were coming thick and fast now, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament. Less than two miles to go, then one mile, then a km. Buckingham Palace – come on! Curved round the roundabout and dug out a sprint finish of sorts. Crossed the line in 2:57:18, punching the air with a big smile!
So, seven minutes off a PB but exactly as predicted and a pretty strong 1:27/1:30 split. Finished strong and really enjoyed it. Smiles, knuckles and a few whoops. Someone get the beers in!
The usual long walk to collect the bag – and medical box. “Sorry mate, nothing extra here”. Oh dear. I could kinda do with some insulin and my blood sugar tester (and phone). And so ensued a bit of a dampener on the day, but not one that will be remembered in the long run. A 3.5 hour wait, with no phone or medical supplies, not ideal! The volunteers were very helpful, taking me to the medical tend to use their blood sugar meter. Plenty of tea and food on hand as well. Essentially, I had beaten the luggage truck by quite a margin. Certainly a better system is needed for future years. The only annoying thing was this cutting into pub time – I was planning on the Red Lion with forumites, and then the Clarence with clubmates. As the RL is closer, I went there and had a fantastic, albeit brief catch up with TR, Millsy and Macca – with this legend lending me his phone and buying me a pint. There were lots of smiles, although I think Macca’s legs might finally have realised the beating they had taken in recent months.
A run, yes an actual run, to get various trains and bags before making the coach with seconds to spare. Then promptly got told off my the driver and threatened with expulsion if I opened another can of beer! A brilliant day out. Genuinely loved the race – a real highlight of the running calendar.
The Bus said:
Wendover Woods parkrun for me (rude not too!). Beautiful morning for it and a great course, though pretty hilly and all off road. Ten minutes from my bachelor pad to the start!Happy enough with just under 22 minutes as a benchmark to start.
Stevie G said:
Silverstone for me then.There has been a long time existing midlands grand prix 10k event, but it's the midweek after Marlow 5, so never fitted in.