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Well done on the half, chicksta.
What a really strong time and placing.
Super running, AWC.
Smashing PBs everywhere, especially impressive in the context of your ultra
goals. Funny to see Jooligan make a
last minute appearance there too – hope you recovery well mate.
Hard luck on the DNF, spoons,
but I think it made perfect sense. Your goal was a long run to set you up for
Berlin training – any injury would have been detrimental to this.
Hard luck also to muddy.
Sensible decision if you weren’t feeling right. Hull again?
I am absolutely delighted for you, HA. What a stellar result. Love how you did it all ‘off watch’.
Backed yourself and smashed it.
Well done too, Joe.
You said you had been feeling unwell, so to dig in and produce a sub 2:40 is amazing.
You should be rightly proud.
Delighted for you, Hamo.
And you deserve the hangover – or at least what preceded it. You have followed
the plan so diligently, and truly got what you deserved.
Macca I am truly
made up for you. Incredible powers of recovery and determination and just
superb running. You were so polite when you came past me, but zoomed off into
the distance – I was sure at that point you’d do it.
London Marathon 2019
Training had gone well, following
P&D 70 – 85M 18 week plan almost to the letter. Only a couple of small
hiccups, but plenty of positives – easily biggest mileage and PBs at 5M, 10k
and half marathon. Two weeks out from London I was shocked to see I weighed
more than at any point in the last 4 years. A concerted effort to eat sensibly
in the last two weeks, especially having dinner early and then nothing after
6pm made a massive difference, and I ended up feeling light and fit, as well as
greatly reducing the amount of insulin I was taking.
I followed the same plan as last
year: spoons kindly collecting my
number before I got the early coach from Cheltenham on the Sunday.
Unfortunately, some loose wild horses on the M4 led to a nerve-wrangling
journey, but all was fine in the end. I enjoyed sitting outside the Yellow pen
waiting for to meet spoons, just soaking up the atmosphere. I retrospect, not
getting changed at this point, even if it meant a brief bit of nudity, was an error.
Time seemed to rush away, and before I knew it, we were in the toilet queue and
being informed the baggage trucks would soon go. When I emerged from the loo, I
saw the trucks had pulled their covers down – shit! Spoons and muddy were helpful in keeping me calm
and organising my things. Fortunately, there seems to be some sort of broom
wagon to collect the late bags – worth noting. Disappointed that I let myself
become flustered – an example of not controlling the controllable. Of further
concern was the fact that, despite trying on several occasions, I hadn’t
managed to poo (TMI – sorry), for two days. And, spoiler alert, not shitting
myself during the marathon was probably my greatest achievement. So, into the
pen for a chilly wait. But, as usual, a cracking atmosphere from many
So, 350 words and three
paragraphs and I’ll actually chat about the race. The start of a marathon is a
strange one – I don’t particularly want to do a warm up, acutely aware of how
tiring the end of the race can be, but I never, ever, go from zero to a 6:30
mile at any other point in the year. So that, and a bit of congestion, are
probably behind a slightly slower first 5k (average 6:32 pace). The steel band
in the underpass after the downhill were, as ever, brilliant. I genuinely find
that moment spine-tingling.
From then on, the pace staying
remarkably similar: 6:29s measured over each 5k (according to the tracking
app), with little variation per mile. I had a funny moment at mile 9. I
recognised Chrissie Wellington (greatest ever female triathlete who I have had
similar times to in a few races), so I pulled alongside for a brief chat. As we
were running, I became aware of the crowd shouting my name and not hers (she
had a blank vest). I know this is meaningless, but for some reason it gave me a
real lift. I know – what a loser.
Unlike last year, I didn’t drink,
other than the liquid within the gels. This made a massive difference and I
didn’t feel sick with water sloshing around my stomach. Through half way and
out towards the Isle of Dogs. I was feeling tired, but making a conscience
effort to compare it to last year – I was never even close to being that
destroyed. This comparison was useful, and I was doing my best to produce a
Kipchoge smile (having watched Breaking2 the previous evening). I think that
moderating my effort, and having even pacing made a huge difference for me – I
was able to feed off the crowd’s energy and appreciate all the named shouts,
whereas last year, knackered and slowing down, I just found it oppressing and a
further drain on my energy.
I kind of suspected sub 2:50
wasn’t quite on the cards with a few miles to go, but I was determined to go
hard, enjoy myself and truly empty the tank. Pleasingly, I started to actually
speed up, with mile 24 a 6:18. When you turn right at Big Ben is the moment I
think ‘nearly there’, but it’s actually a fair old way until you make that
final right hand turn. I was overtaking quite a few, and it’s good to see this
backed up in the results: 1st half I overtook 854, with 330
overtaking me, the 2nd half was 326/48. Most overridingly, I felt
strong throughout, with a really positive finish. It was, mentally, such a good
way for me to run a marathon. My finish time was 2:50:16, and whilst this
wasn’t the sub 2:50 I have openly dreamed of, I feel truly satisfied by it: I
gave it everything, paced it well and feel I left nothing out there. I am
genuinely very happy. In years to come, I will look back on this with real
The agonising walk to the baggage
trucks (always the last one!) took forever, before a painful plod to the Red
Lion. I quite enjoyed the ‘finish line’ gantry at the entrance, and it was
fantastic to meet up with HPR, Millsy, Spoons and Macca for a
couple of beers. Despite spoons being an absolute hero and getting loads of
Fullers vouchers, I wasn’t actually in a fit state to drink more than a couple
Today has brought sore quads
(obviously), but I am feeling not to tired on the whole – not overdoing the
eating and drinking yesterday has definitely helped. That said, there is a
lovely bottle of Sav Blanc awaiting my arrival home from work. My wife and I
are expecting No2 at the end on September (I am pushing to name him Eliud, but
fear I’m facing a losing battle) – this means an Autumn marathon is definitely
not going to happen. I will seek some random fun races over the summer, perhaps
with an off road and/or hilly marathon thrown in. I will, I suspect, do London
again next year, but will certainly not be able to give it the time I did this
I have really enjoyed sharing the
journey with each of you – absolutely love this forum. Long may its rich
Congrats again HA. Look forward to the report. I find my legs feel better in anything below marathon with the VF, but I’m still trashed after a marathon.
Take it easy Jooligan, your body is clearly telling you to recover.
NE, she appears quite often on Joe’s Instagram, plus she was wearing a Clapham Chasers beanie which helped confirm it.
Superb result given the illness you’ve been suffering the past few weeks Joe. I’m always impressed by how much you manage to dig in and rinse yourself in races. I’m certain without the illness you’d have set a healthy PB. Plenty more to come especially if you do give up that triathlon nonsense
Amazing time Hamo. While I don’t think it’s any surprise given your build up races, I know that feeling of being amazed at a time that not long ago you wouldn’t have even contemplated.
I know FBT, but I could have done a lot of damage in those six miles. The priority had to be Berlin - another lay off due to injury is that last thing I need right now! Sounds like the bin is the best place for those shoes.
Again, awesome work Macca. The fact you’re even contemplating the 100 miler blows my mind!
Sounds like a busy weekend Steve.
Great report SQ, and some impressive splits towards the end of the race.
My glute and ITB felt fine yesterday other than a slight ache when I first woke up. All ok today so headed out for a classic canal 10. Felt good throughout, which I’m really pleased about. Pulling out on Sunday was disappointing, but the ultimate goal was to not reinjure myself, so mission accomplished. I can now crack on with building my fitness back up and ensuring this glute/ITB issued is properly sorted. It feels like I’ve a long way to go before I get back to pre-Manchester fitness levels, but all the amazing results from everyone has definitely inspired me to crack on.
My target was to get under 3:10 this year, however with a 50
miler at the start of April I wasn’t sure if my legs would be recovered in
time. So my plan was to run by feel rather than having a specific pace in mind
and hope for something between 7:00-7:20 per mile
Start – 5 miles
I set off a bit quick but quickly settled into a nice rhythm
at 7:05/mi pace. The first few miles go around the town and past Shakespeare’s
House and other local places of interest, before heading out of town and into
the country lanes. There was plenty to look at and lots of others runners from
the half marathon to make the time pass fairly quickly.
We were well into the countryside and pretty little villages
by now and hit the only real incline of note around 8 miles in which my pace
dropped for that mile to 7:25/mi, but still averaged 7:10/mi for this section.
The drop from the top of the incline is very steep and as I was bombing down it,
I tweaked my groin/hip flexor area which then became a bit uncomfortable. This
didn’t go away, and in fact grew gradually worse over the next few miles.
Went through half way a few seconds under 1:33
Saw my family at 13 miles which was a nice boost. It then
felt scary thinking I have to do this all again but with no half marathoners to
pull me along and not many spectators about.
I now started to feel like I was beginning to struggle a bit,
but looking back at my 2nd half splits this was really just a mental
battle at this point. The tweak in my groin was also bothering me and I was
wondering if I might struggle to finish – I was also worried about coming down
that hill again being in pain. I was deciding how to approach it to minimise
any further damage and so decided I would take it fairly easy and forget about
making up time lost on the uphill section.
Felt pretty good in this section even though it had a repeat
of the nasty incline at mile 19 and I had slowed by 5-10s per mile to about
7:15/mi but only because I was nervous about blowing up and didn’t want to push
super hard at this point. The groin was really sore coming down the hill so I
tried to take it easy but didn’t want to lose a load of time at this stage. It
was very uncomfortable for a few miles, however as the course flattened out the
pain began to subside a bit and it certainly wasn’t getting worse.
21 miles – Finish
21/22/23 were really good miles at around 7:05/mi so I had
plenty left in the tank and the groin was continuing to ease up, so I knew it
wouldn’t stop me finishing.
I did slow a bit by 10s/mi in 24/25/26 but at this stage I
knew I wasn’t going to have a blow up and I could push through to the end.
I was overtaking quite a few now who had really hit the wall
or were cramping up which spurred me on to keep pushing, and whilst I was
hanging on a bit now I certainly wasn’t in trouble.
A bit of self-talk helped me to keep pushing to the finish,
where I knew my family were waiting in the park. It was a really enjoyable run
into the finish, not being close to any time goals so I didn’t have to
completely rinse myself. However I did feel a bit wobbly and woosy after
crossing the line and took me a minute to compose myself.
Finished in 3:07:51 which was a 13 minute PB – thrilled with
1st Half c1:33
2nd Half c1:35
So only a slight fade in the 2nd half of the race
which I’m pleased with given the groin issue
Really pleased with the result and really enjoyed the whole
Overall it was a good marathon – 2nd lap was very
quiet which I don’t mind as I’m used to countryside running with the ultra
stuff I do. For some though I think this would make it a lot more challenging.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a brilliant town for a weekend if you like historical
buildings, a festival atmosphere, lots of local produce at numerous market
stalls etc. We’ll definitely be back!
Good to see you back Coop...Well don eon sunday, enjoying it helps.
AWC - 13 min PB is amazing that's half a min per mile faster. Whats the secret? (Oh and great report)
Chicksta - nice report, and sounds like you nailed it perfect on the day. I liked the " I'm hobbling like a demented rabbit unable to read my Garmin" quote... mainly as I have an image now of demented rabbits wearing garmins!
Thank you for the well wishes for mini-mini-SQ!
Enjoyed the pre-race blog, HA. I think you, possibly more than anyone, are aware of your body
and the recovery required, and then make excellent decisions that help you get
the most from yourself. But does this controlled version of you mean no more
estate agent sign smashing? That would be a shame.
Jooligan I saw
you posted you RHR post Shakespeare. I am right in saying this was quite a bit
higher than post Brighton? Take it easy, make sure you truly recover.
Hamo cool that
you saw Kipchoge et al warming up – I hadn’t realised how close to our pen they
would be. What an excellently paced race from you. Can’t believe you’re doing
Belfast on Sunday! Definitely the right call to treat it as a victory lap. I’ve
always wanted to nick someone’s beer mid race – this is your opportunity!
Super report, AWC.
Sensibly managed hip issue mid race as well.
Hard luck with the ill-timed cold, chicksta. But well done on a great race.
Well done, JCG.
Really pleased to see you finished it iso positively. The twins will be proud
in years to come.
Very enjoyable 5M recovery with spoons this morning. Glorious early morning weather. Legs felt
horrific yesterday, but marginally less bad this morning. Zero stiffness in the
calves (had I worn the adios there most certainly would have been), but quads
tight and sore. Felt so much better gently running (9m/m) than walking! Keeping
things firmly in recovery mode for the foreseeable.