P&D Spring Marathon 2018



  • SorequadsSorequads ✭✭✭
    The above is not an accurate reflection of Joe’s racing shorts...
  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    Ooof. I do have DOMS after all.
  • Good running everyone and great to see lots of you yesterday; love a good thread meet up.

    A reasonably steady 2:57 for me, was great fun running with SQ for quite a while, enjoying what’s always an awesome atmosphere in London. 

    Enjoyed dusting off the trunks again, I think they’ll be out every year from now..

    Currently on the Eurostar to Paris. Like westy, my legs are pretty sore. 
  • HA77HA77 ✭✭✭

    Well done everyone, bad luck Hazel, sounds like it wasn't going to happen for you and probably a wise choice.

    Haven't read back everything yet.

    I went pretty well yesterday, 2:44. 10 min slower than last year but it's to be expected with the poor build up I had. I didn't really feel like the heat affected me much, although I'm sure it did in reality. Was stupidly on for sub 2:40 up to about 30km but did a textbook 20 mile fade and battled home with a 6 min positive split. I really quite enjoyed it though - the first 30km reminded me that I can run and the last 12km wasn't bad enough to ruin the day.

    Good to catch up with SQ, Spoon and Joe for a beer at the Red Lion and also having a chat with Millsy at the baggage claim and ML84 at the start.

    Will catch up on and write more later.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    Well done HA and Joe - I like the way you weren't bothered by the heat...not. Maybe I over worried, I don't know...just felt too hot for me from the start, all the faffing about at each water stop trying to douse myself with as much water as possible.
    Kicking myself I didn't make more of an effort to see people at the Red Lion yesterday, I was there probably about 1:30 but couldn't see anyone I recognised outside, and there was a queue going into the pub and I really couldn't be arsed with that.
    Last marathon and all that, but just had a look at Manchester prices and date for next year. I wonder when London will be as Easter is 21at April.
  • Sorry to hear about Zurich Hazel.  Hope you can dust yourself down in time and build on that training block.

    I guess for those of us in London we can say we were there on that day.  I’m waiting on the platform for a train into London thinking conditions today are near perfect.

    No ill effects here today from running a marathon, I guess there shouldn’t be as with 3 walk breaks I didn’t run one.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Quick crappy report before I delete from my memory.
    Was initially aiming for around the 2:50 mark...some of my training runs and a recent 10k made me think this was possible, some of my MP runs made me think that 2:55 was probably more accurate. I wasn't too concerned though, various work and family issues were distracting me from obsessing about it. With the forecast for London I revised these goals to 2:55 or 3, I wasn't too bothered. Knew it was going to be a struggle, and actually considered not bothering to turn up at all.
    Travelled down to London on the Saturday. Was at the Expo about 2pm, probably worst time to arrive. Was way too busy to browse the stalls, so just got out of there...except I couldn't get out as the Excel was gridlocked due to masses of people for the marathon expo and other events/exhibitions. Ended up attempting to walk to Canning Town, and got lost. Fun and games. Finally got to my hotel in Greenwich, got some food, went for a walk, and was asleep before 10pm.
    Was woken up at 5am from a text from VLM warning about the weather. Couldn't get back to sleep, so got up, ate, and made way to FGFA start. Was already pretty warm, and I had a headache which was made worse when I did a warm up. 10am ... and go. Steadyish pace, nothing crazy, not really looking at watch too much, just making sure felt ok. Stopped for a wee at mile 1. Up to half way didn't feel too bad, at nearly every water stop I would pour water over myself and drink some. Half way in 1:27:44. Around Isle of dogs the heat was taking its toll but was still able to maintain pace of around 6:45, canary wharf was not too bad as was more shady. Pouring water over myself at each stop was a hassle I could have done without, tired runners bumping into each other desperate to get to a bottle, but knew it was necessary. Then, predictably, at mile 20 the wheels started to come off. Form started to slip along with the pace, soon was struggling to get quicker than 7min/mi. The last miles along the embankment were a killer, I just had nothing left and slowed to around 8min/mi...loads of runners passing me. I really just wanted to keep running, and get there in one piece. Knew sub3 was gone, but thought a shuffle would still get me a GFA (even though this is last one, ahem), so shuffled away. Got to finish at 3:02:26 and felt terrible, but stayed on my feet, and when I got bag, had a sit down and some food and drink I felt much better.
    IF I do a marathon next year (not sure I want that as my last one) I think I may do Manchester...simpler for me in terms of location, and less likely to be hot!
  • Tom13Tom13 ✭✭✭
    Great report Westy of what sounds like a very hard day-well done for toughing it out and getting to the finish in one piece. Next year then!
  • Sounds like you loved every minute of it all Westy....See you next year then!

    Pretty tragic the death yesterday at London marathon , and such an experienced runner. Scary!

  • SorequadsSorequads ✭✭✭

    I think Macca gets it spot on: ‘brutal last 19 miles’! Amazing what a difference a day makes. And you’re right – it is an achievement to finish the hottest London Marathon on record.

    Reg has got a fair point. I’ve always thought it must be bloody hard starting a marathon at 1pm or so, especially in the hotter European races.

    Great effort, Ramjet. Bad luck on missing the train. I found it tough in the last third when the water had heated up a bit. Not really what you want to cool yourself down. Did you ‘make use’ of your yellow shorts?

    Well done AWC – having another reason (charity) to do it would no doubt have helped.

    Good positivity, Andy. Other marathons are available!

    Good effort, FBT.

    Well done, spoons. Must have been tough following Manchester – physically and mentally.

    I’m impressed with that 2:44, HA. Even though you felt the heat didn’t affect you, it must have to an extent. Combine with a change in job and more hours, and you have done bloody well.

    Impressive from Joe, a casual sub 3 on a hot day following a long bike ride and a fight to the near death.

    Well done Westy. It would have been good to see you in the RL, but the initial queue was a bit of a beast. What the Manchester prices/date etc?

  • SorequadsSorequads ✭✭✭

    London Marathon 2018 race report:

    I have always found the build up to London intense – it on every medial channel and those at work take so much more interest. This is a good thing as it builds excitement and helps to contribute to such an amazing atmosphere, but I also find it psyches me out a little. Stress was eased enormously this year as spoons very kindly collected my number. So I travelled there and back on the coach on the Sunday.

    Never before have I been so indecisive about kit and pacing choices. The weather obviously had a big impact on these decisions. In the end I went for my loosest vest even though it didn’t represent my club, Cancer Research or have my name (which I find a massive lift in big races). Having been saving a new pair of NB Zantes for the day, I opted for a pair of Adios that had already done 350M, but looked a lot more breathable. Had the weather been, say, 8-10C, I would have been truly focused on the sub 2:50 goal. With the heat – not incredible in the grander scheme of things, but 23C is very different to months of 5am 1C training – I knew that would be a tall order. The wind was also a headwind for over half the course, although this came as quite a relief in the end. Having played different scenarios through in my head, I decided minutes before the start that a course PB (2:55) would be an incredible achievement.

    I had a good chat with spoons and another club mate in the FGFA pen, and did everything in my power to keep cool – staying in the shade, eating the ice from two iced coffees, holding a frozen water bottle to my wrists. It seemed to be working as I had goose pimples. But I was realistic enough to know it would last for long.

    Soon enough we were off! It I such an exciting atmosphere and the crowds, as always, are amazing. It is so easy to get swept up with faster runners, and the adrenaline definitely plays a part. I averaged about 6:30s for the first 8 miles. This was PB pace, but I just went with it. I enjoyed running with Joe and his trunks for good chunks of the race – he certainly knows how to whip a crowd into a frenzy. I always enjoy the bands and the cheers especially on Tower Bridge. Things were certainly hot, and I was doing everything I could to keep cool – running through the showers, which were fairly pathetic (with the exception of the Fire Station hose – that was immense), dousing myself with bottles and rotating my cap as necessary. I probably drank a little too much and felt pretty sick at the end as a result.

    At this one third stage, things became tough. From there to mile 21, I averaged about 6:45 – 7:00, thinking that sub 3 could be a possibility if I didn’t continue to slow too much. My HR was a bit higher than I’d want, although perhaps not a surprise in the heat, but it was a conscious effort not to walk. From mile 21 I was definitely being overtaken a lot, although equally was passing many who were walking. I averaged about 7:30s from there until the end and had to just focus on getting to the next mile arch one at a time. Has anyone ever enjoyed the dreaded mile 24 underpass more than this year?! When I passed the 23 marker, with roughly one parkrun to go, I was attempting some calculations in my head about whether sub 3 was possible. I suspected it probably wasn’t but it was going to be close. Fortunately I never saw the pacers – I think had they passed me I would have stopped. (I hear that at least one dropped out.) The photos of me in the final mile show absolute agony written on my face. I tried to give it everything and strava said I did the final 0.2 (well 0.3 on strava) at 7:11 pace. I couldn’t remember how long after the official start I crossed the line, just that it was about 45 seconds. The clock had clicked over 3 hours and I chucked everything I had at it.

    Once over the line I collapsed and was scooped up by the paramedics – I was definitely being a bit dramatic. They passed me a sick bag as I was retching so much. The walk to the bags was so painful and took for ever. Why are the FGFA at the very end each year?! When I got my phone out, the first thing I saw was the VMLM text: 3:00:00 – unbelievable! Had it been the first time I had been going for sub three I would have been distraught. But in the circumstances I am really proud. A few have said do you wish you had pushed yourself just one second harder? Well you can always extend that line of questioning, and I know I gave it my all. I took half an hour to recover under a tree although still felt pretty sick. It was then a pleasure to share a couple of beers with spoons, Joe and HA in the pub. Sorry to anyone who I missed or arrived later. Fairly stiff today, but no real trouble walking. I think the greater impact was that of the heat and dehydration. That said, my left glute and hamstring are very niggle.

    It was a really fun occasion and one I will look back on favourably. It is difficult when you put so much training in to be in PB shape, but the conditions don’t line up. It almost doesn’t seem fair – but that’s the game we play. I think I find Autumn marathons more suited to life and so will think about later this year. At the moment I have a place in Snowdonia, which is my favourite marathon of all time, although am considering swapping that for eg Chester or Abingdon.


  • Tom13Tom13 ✭✭✭
    Brilliant stuff SQ and a cracking time-certainly memorable on a memorable day-Well done
  • Tom13Tom13 ✭✭✭
    Just heard about the very sad news of the death of a runner. I remember seeing him on Masterchef and at the start of Manchester two weeks ago. Tragic.
  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Sounds like you had a similar day to me SQ, except you were a bit quicker and a bit pukier. Well done. You could have made an extra effort for that sub 3 though!
    Manchester is currently £45 but prices are going up next week sometime I think...they go up as get closer to race day, this year they were £70 in the weeks leading up to it. I'm thinking of the Manchester marathon and half marathon combo for £74, and chuck in a London GFA entry on top just in case. Nothing like a crap marathon to spur you on! Manchester marathon date is 7th April.
  • RamjetRamjet ✭✭✭
    Well done for finishing FBT. If you drop out then the tube is free for runners. Still have to work out where the nearest station is though!

    Well done AWC. Cramp is always a killer.

    Sounds like a bit of a nightmare Andy. Again, well done for finishing!

    Thanks for the report Nayan - sounds like a typical story!

    That's a great time Joe after a tough Saturday and in the heat. Hope your coach forgives you!

    Fantastic time Ha especially considering your build up.

    Good report Westy and still a GFA! Manchester is quite expensive and quite boring - I think I'll go for London again - the weather has got to be nicer next year?

    SQ - the shorts were certainly unique. Before the start I played a game called "see how many other yellow shorts I can spot." I think I saw one! I did help me spot myself crossing the start line on the BBC coverage though! Great report and a great effort. That's a fab time in the heat.

    Some random thoughts now that the dust has settled.

    - I feel pretty good for the day after a marathon, sort of how I normally feel after a very long Sunday run. Enjoying a day off work though.

    - Four months of training through a nasty winter only for the weather to ruin any chance of a fast time. Hmmm. I think if you enjoy the training that is OK. And I do enjoy it.

    - As mentioned before, I achieved my A goal of getting my yellow shorts on TV. Unfortunately the interview with Callum Hawkins meant that it missed my finish. The BBC coverage could be so much better. Steve Cram kept on saying that the conditions were good! How many marathons has he run in the heat? There were very few race positions given during the race - normally only the top two. Random helicopter shots when things are getting interesting. I think they are trying too hard to cater for casual viewers. It's a race! Marathon coverage could learn a lot from how ITU WTS races are covered.

    - Looking at the forecast, any day this week would have been so much better for a marathon.

    Anyway, whatever! Happy Monday everyone!
  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    Ramjet - After yesterday's race I'd quite happily take a boring Manchester, and £45 is quite a lot cheaper than London for me, especially as start is just up the road...
  • 1SteveMac1SteveMac ✭✭✭
    Awesome efforts all at London, especially in the heat.
    Hazel - sorry to hear about the DNF.

    24 miles for me on Saturday, 6m easy then 2m MP, did that 3 times. Also put in a 0.5m walking break every 10 miles. Worked out to 8:06 average and MP miles were 6:57/6:48, 6:50/6:50, 6:51/7:02. Last 2 MP miles were at miles 23/24 of the run and the last one was a struggle.
    13 miles at 8:25s on Sunday, nice and easy. Another 60 mile week done.
  • AWCAWC ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    SQ - great report and great race in those conditions. Can totally identify with the feeling of making a conscious effort not to walk from quite early on in the race even. And similarly I was being overtakern by loads but also overtaking loads in the last 10km. Very strange race indeed.

    Well done on the long run and weekly mileage Steve. Sounds like you had a much better weekend than the rest of us :)
  • JooliganJooligan ✭✭✭
    Nice work Steve.
    Interestingly despite being 11 minutes slower this year I was still 50 places higher making 2018 my highest placed finish at London in 6 runs in spite of the increasing popularity of the GFA route.
    I think that speaks volumes about the conditions.
    Agree Ramjet but was really hoping to put the sub-3 to bed this year so I can get back to running marathons purely for fun. Not got any aspirations to get quicker than that over the long distance. I'd like to work on my 5K & 10K times
    - Four months of training through a nasty winter only for the weather to ruin any chance of a fast time. Hmmm. I think if you enjoy the training that is OK. And I do enjoy it.
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Sorry to hear about the DNF Hazel,

    Really interesting to read everyone’s stories about London, a very similar theme. Well done to all for just getting across the finish line.

    I did Southwark parkrun as my fitness test as maranoia was telling me my calf couldn’t handle 26 miles. Did 1 mile easy 1 at MP and one a little faster. Even at 9am I could feel the heat so decided I’d definitely start VLM but would be very cautious with my pacing. Saving my PB attempt for Abingdon where conditions should be more favourable.

    In hindsight that was a great decision. Just aimed to tick along at 7min miles and hope to scrape through. Was pretty consistent until about 16 miles but was continually overtaking runners who were struggling with the heat. Had to just get my head down and shuffle on. Slowed slightly in the last 10k but managed a sprint finish to dip under 3:08 which I was absolutely delighted with. 7 mins under a BQ. Took ages to find my bag and bumped into HA for a brief chat. 

    drank the lucozade and water from the goodie bag and didn’t feel to bad so went to the Red Lion to meet up with family and friends. Don’t know how I missed the rest of you, although it was rammed. Staggered back to the hotel at about 8pm and woke up reasonably fresh this morning bar a couple of sore legs. So glad I paced it conservatively, it was carnage out there on the course and saw plenty of big blow ups and DNFs on Strava.

    was also good to have a quick catch up with Macca en-route to the starting pen.

  • So sorry to hear about your DNF Hazel.

    Great reports everyone, enjoyed hearing other peoples thoughts. Not the day for fast times I guess, which means next year will be perfect; 29th of April it's been announced. 

    Also - the 'finish line cameras' program is up on iPlayer. There's some mug doing some press ups from 2:57:00 onwards..
  • Great stuff Joe. Those are properly short shorts.

    Thanks SQ, have you done Chester / Abingdon before and would you recommend them as autumn marathons? I have been googling this afternoon. Should probably wait until I feel a bit less knackered.

    Thanks to everyone for the reports. Lots of great racing yesterday, and interesting to read about the race / pace management of many given the conditions. Plenty to learn.

    I finally summoned up the courage to look at my 5k splits, so here's a report. Even given the conditions it's still a pretty embarassing example of how not to run a marathon.

    5k 24:26 - pretty clean run at the start, save some weaving past the 4:00 and 3:45 green pacers and their train. Fast mile down the hill.

    10k 24:48 - 12 seconds faster than target pace. Sweating lots but enjoying it and feeling comfortable (ish). The scrums at the water stops were getting on my nerves but generally ok

    15k 25:01 - felt ok but not great, legs a bit heavy. I have never used an HRM but may look into this as I suspect it would have given me the warning I needed that I was working too hard

    20k 24:55 - still ticking off 7:5X miles but looking back by now I should have woken up to the fact that it felt too hard. Around 8-9 miles the congestion became noticeable again as a lot of runners seemed to be slowing. Wasted energy weaving past people

    25k 25:13 - starting to bite now and 08:0x miles mounting up. I got a big lift from seeing my family and enjoyed the crowds on the bridge, then seeing the elites come back up the highway (why on earth was Mo wearing arm warmers?). Mile 15 was the last mile even resembling MP and by now it had dawned on me where this was likely headed

    30k 27:54 BOOM! The third gel almost doesn't go down at all. I have a stitch which goes away after a while but I am also starting to feel really sick. Skip a drinks station (maybe 2) at this point as feel like even water will compound the sickness. Which was stupid, of course.

    35k 31:04 Includes a long (or at least it felt long) and traumatic portaloo stop. I know friends are waiting for me at mile 21 and have enough stubborn pride to pick up my pace as I run past, but still feeling sick

    40k 30:28 This is where the run / walking or more like jog / walking starts. I'm fed up by now and just want it finished. I can't be the only one who finds the crowd on the embankment really irritating (I know this is my problem, not theirs, the support earlier in the race was a real lift).

    42.2k 11:47 In my delirium I think I am on for a much worse time than I actually am, so it is a bit of a relief when the 3:45 pacer glides past me opposite the London Eye. I'm just grinding it out. Birdcage walk takes forever as we count down the signs 1000m, 800m etc. Tell myself I can at least run it in from here, and I do, sort of, but it feels like slow motion.

    In the first half I overtook 3,519 runners and was overtaken by 118. I'm a bit peeved by this. No doubt I should have managed pacing better. But I deliberately moved to the very back of pen 2, which should have been where I belonged, as I didn't want to be a roadblock. Clearly others didn't bother. 2nd half I overtook 882 and was overtaken by 662. Given the last 10k that's a bit of a surprise.

    Lesson learned: -
    - Not enough long runs over 20 miles. I think I managed a 22, a 21 and a few 20s. As soon as the wheels came off my fear of the distance started to grow.
    - Not enough discipline in knocking out a proper length MLR every week. Allowed life to get in the way too often due to poor planning
    - Need to think more about nutrition. I think I overdid the loading. I got too obsessed with counting carbs and should have just gone on feel. Had a cracking headache Saturday which may have been a warning sign, then felt heavy from the start. More importantly I didn't practice the gels enough while running at higher intensity. My mid race sickness was a problem I might have anticipated earlier.
    - Setting realistic goals for the conditions and managing mid race expectations better. Classic rookie errors when I really should have known better. That's the big lesson I'm sure.

    I don't want to sound too negative. I still enjoyed lots about the day. Plus the news about death of a runner puts all my little issues into perspective. Like most people who ran yesterday I saw at least 7 or 8 people receiving attention from runners and medics who looked in a really bad way.

    I have to echo what Ramjet said about enjoying the training being what makes it worthwhile even when the race doesn't go as planned. My training was far from perfect and I made plenty of mistakes, but I am sure it made me a better runner, and I think the training block was good enough to secure a much better time if I had made better decisions and enjoyed better conditions. And that's motivated me to try to capitalise on it and run a marathon in the autumn.
  • JooliganJooligan ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Andy: I forget, was this your marathon debut?
     I can certainly recommend Abo. Did my 2nd fastest there in 2016. It's a no frills runner's race - no gel stations, razzmatazz etc but plenty of faster runners to work off. I'm doing it again in October.
    Good decision Millsy, sounds like you made the best of the day.
    Guessing the plonker at 2:57 was wearing swimming trunks JB ?
  • Jools, yes this was the first. Plenty of shorter races over the last two years or so, but this was the first marathon. Hence some of the naivety on the day I guess. A baptism of fire.
  • Wow some seriously good times here! Especially in the heat! Congrats everyone! 

    Certainly not quite in your league as I don’t really run but I did manage to finish Madrid Marathon in the end! I had only done 14 miles in training due to ITBS so it was tough and very hilly but I got round in 3hrs 50 so I am pretty pleased with that! Actually quite enjoyed it!!

    Fat Boy Trim, 15West and Ramjet - your messages earlier in the week really inspired me to give it a go so just wanted to say thank you!! 

    Time to get the injuries properly sorted so i’m not caught in the same position if I decide to do another one!!

    But for now i’m kicking back and enjoying Madrid! 

    Thanks again 

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Well done Andy. That sure was a baptism of fire. Hardest one I've ever done. Got Tuesday legs today, was hoping I'd get away with all the post marathon shite.
    No more marathons for me for at least 12 months. Got the postponed Wilmslow half at end of June, and will probably do Manchester half in October, may chuck in a 10k somewhere in between...and that will be it. Next spring not sure yet. Easy to sign up for a marathon, not so easy to train for and actually run the thing. 
  • 15West15West ✭✭✭
    hey Charlotte, that's a great time considering the lack of training. Well done!
  • Well done charlotte - cracking time...

    My advice after i had itbs - stop running till it clears up then start up slow. Its a nasty injury when it gets chronic.

    Its not if you decide - but when!!!!

  • Needed a break for a day or two though did have a browse around on strava for those who are on there.  

    I hope everyone is starting to recover and the DOMS isn't too bad.  Thanks for the reports.

    Sad to read about the guy who died.  

    Nice to have a 1st class upgrade on the train home Westy - I had to pay for mine but I was glad of the peace and quiet.    

    Bad luck on missing your train ramjet.  

    Your PB in Manchester must seem the more valuable now spoons.  

    I love SQ's three hour time.    

    The group photo is lovely - I assume that Joe didn't run in flip flops?  And where are those shorts??

    A great time from Joe and HA in those conditions.  

    Macca - you did do a marathon - the walk breaks don't matter.

    well done Charlotte  - that is not a shabby time on such training at all.  What were the conditions like in Madrid?  Would almost expect it to be hot there. 
  • Sorrry a very long report considering I only got to mile 8 and a bit... But it helped me to write it down.  Just skip it if its too long.

    Zurich Marathon 2018:

    I left out the last recovery run on Saturday as I felt it would cause me stress timewise and I knew I would be doing some walking around.

    The journey to Zurich went well,  the train passed a thermometer showing 34 degrees – a taste of things to come.  It was considerably hotter in the city centre than at home surrounded by fields and woods.

    The hotel was located very conveniently between the main station and a 20 minute walk from the start but was a disaster in terms of the room.  The windows were more or less soundproof but the room had been in the sun all day and was ridiculously hot.  

     The expo visit was dealt with fairly quickly – a quick ride on the tram, grab the number and eat a portion of pasta.  I had already had a decent meal at lunch and had decided this would be my evening meal rather than go out to eat.

    I walked from the expo to the start to check things out, and from there to the hotel – was a bit too much walking to be honest.

     I was surprised how little of the coming event could be seen on the evening beforehand and also by the small number of portaloos. 

    Then one small beer and back to the hotel to sort out my stuff, relax and sleep.  Room still far too hot.  The ventilator did little other than move the overheated air around but provided no relief.   Opening the window was no option due to the level of noise outside.  Couldn’t sleep and was getting more and more agitated.  I probably had about 1 hours sleep in one go.   

    I got up at 6am feeling completely knackered and slightly sick and in no mental or physical state to run a marathon.    Shoved in some breakfast (own stuff as none available early enough in the hotel) but no coffee (machine accessible) as I didn’t think it would stay down.  Walked to the start as planned already saying I can’t do this, I can’t do this and feeling sicker.    At least it was still cool at that time – I could almost have done with an extra layer. 

     No extra portaloos had materialized overnight meaning the queues were quite long and with some occupants taking several minutes I had to join the public peeing on the verge with several other women.  It also meant no warmup.

     I got into my start block in time placing myself a bit behind the 3:30 pacers.  The start itself was ok – I didn’t shoot off like an idiot and had enough space.  I gradually worked my way through the 3:30 train to place myself just in front of them .  I was a bit quick over the first 3 miles but not excessively so (around 30 seconds).  I found the pace pretty tough and had the feeling the whole field was flowing past me.  I missed out the first drinks station as planned and was able to pick up a drink at the second ok – just a couple of sips in a plastic cup – not the best to drink out of but I managed without choking for once.  Also got down a gel at around mile 5 without too much trouble On to mile 6  and I just wasn’t comfortable at all – it was warm but not exceedingly so.  The shade in the city centre was helping to keep the temperatures down.  The 3:30 train was right behind me and swamped me at this point – I kept moving with them and had just about enough space to run although I was beginning to struggle badly.   The next water station was carnage – I got battered by the others, there were no cups available with the volunteers frantically pouring from plastic bottles.  It took over a minute to continue in any way.  That was more or less the beginning of the end.  Kept going for another km or so but then had to let the 3:30 group go.  Stepped aside for a few seconds to give myself a talking to, tried to get going again at a slower pace (around 5:20m/km) but then stopped finally at just under 8 and a half miles.  Took off my number and started  walking back.  A little voice said why don’t you at least try to get back in with a much slower pace group but I just couldn’t.  I walked against the tide of runners watching almost the whole field pass.  One hour to walk back to the start to hand in my chip.  Back to the hotel,  shower, pack and off home again.  Was really tired on the train and had to doze.  Also had to sleep for a couple of hours on arriving home.    Two days later I still don’t feel 100% healthy. 

    In retrospective I probably did the right thing by bailing out as I was in no mental or physical state to run a marathon on that day.  I might have got round in the heat (probably a lot slower than I wanted to) but I thought it would be better to not have to spend weeks recovering from a result I didn’t want.

    Nonetheless I am struggling badly with the fact that I have put in months of training for nothing.   I could do a second try in 3 weeks time in a low key race to which I could travel on the day but I don’t  know how to approach the training in that time.  It could also be hot again.  I haven’t really got anything else in the pipeline – won’t be attempting the 35 mile ultra I was thinking about doing – if I can’t run more than 8 miles of a mara then there is no point in even trying to start an ultra.  The regional hill race series starts this week but I’m not trained for the hills and I don’t know if I am in the right mental state to try a race again already.   Berlin fills me with dread as exactly the same could happen again.  Need to do some more thinking in the next couple of days.

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