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Sorry to hear about the DNF Hazel. Hope you’re not too down about it.
Nice post race treat to get 1st class Westy!
Great photo SQ.
Great reports so far, as Macca says at least we can say we were there! I see results are up on Runbritain now, and it has a SSS score of 3.1 - the highest of any race I’ve ever done (although that’s partly because I never do hilly races lol).
My legs are more beaten up than I hoped they would be, but definitely better than they were at this stage after Manchester. Unlike after a big full race effort, I feel keen to get going again now, but will give it at least a few more days before I start easing back in to things.
I totally symaphasize with you , I have had a shit winter, been ill for 2 months, 2 crap marathons and London was hell, I should probably have pulled out as you did rather than get a shit time and hate every mile!
I Think its at time like these we need a bit of time off to reflect and see how we feel in better days.
All i can say is that Berlin is my no 1 marathon. great city and great marathon.
That was the
toughest thing I’ve ever done! I’ve never struggled in heat that way before and
so I put it down to not having had time to acclimatise since the winter.
Already I was
feeling hot – I took a frozen bottle of water with me and I tipped a few
bottles over my head before the start but I had a bad feeling before we even
got off. Told myself to start running at 7:20-30 per mile and see how that
feels (7:00/mi had been the plan but that was off the cards because I didn’t
want to risk a DNF with all the sponsorship I’d raised £4,146 and counting!).
5km – 22:36
I was fairly
close to the front of pen 1 which meant I didn’t have much trouble running at
my target pace to start with. Checked my heart rate and it was already up at MP
levels so I knew things were bad and told myself to slow down.
10km – 23:03
My legs felt
good because they were fresh but my heart rate was really troubling me so I
continued to try and slow down but the legs wanted to keep going (normally it’s
the other way round, right?!). By then end of this section my HR was getting to
HM levels and I was beginning to fall apart mentally a bit. I knew any thoughts
about time were out the window and this was going to be about finishing the
race. Never had I experienced anything like this so early in a race.
15km – 23:26
constantly looking at my watch, thinking I was slowing down a lot because I was
telling myself to, and because it felt so tough. However, the splits were still
around the 7:30/mi pace, I guess because we were running through Cutty Sark
which was brilliant. I was getting loads of shouts already because of my
Macmillan vest – there weren’t any others around me which helped. This began to
feel a bit hard – why so hard so early? It should feel like this 15 miles in,
not 7-8mi in.
20km – 23:49
10 miles in
and I’m thinking this is way too hard, I can’t sustain this, how am I going to
finish this bloody thing! It was here I decided to totally forget about my
watch and only look at it to check my HR occasionally – this is going to take everything
I have just to finish. I also decided this would give the chance to enjoy the
crowd, really take in the sights and somehow revel in the spectacle of this day
without any pressure.
When I knew
Tower Bridge was coming up I told myself to look up and take it in. The Bridge
was pretty special and I was now starting to interact with the crowd – I would
clap them or fist pump and they would react by shouting my name even more and I
loved it. I also realised this would help get me to the end.
25km – 24:46
By now the
wheels were starting to come off but I didn’t really care. I heard a noise down
the road and assumed the leaders were coming up the Highway so positioned
myself on the left to get close to them. Saw Kipchoge fly through and gave him
a good cheer, then I heard a wall of noise behind him and assumed it was Mo so
started doing the MoBot when I saw him (ridiculous I know!). The water stations
were now becoming a scrum and the constant slowing and accelerating was getting
more and more difficult.
Macmillan cheer points were coming into their own now as well – as they weren’t
many other vests around they would spot me well down the road and be chanting
my name by the time I got there – it felt truly amazing and I was revelling in
Having had a
few cramp twitches from 10 miles in I was now getting proper cramp in my left
quad and right hamstring, so this stopped me from being able to push at all and
in hindsight probably saved my race from total detonation.
30km – 25:52
I was still surprised
by my pace as it felt like 9-10 min/mi but was around 8mm. I saw some mates
around Isle of Dogs or Canary Wharf which gave me a boost and then another
Macmillan cheer point – mentally I was just self-talking myself through the
distances till the next cheer point and water stop. The problem with the cheer
points was that the adrenaline would kick in and when I passed them I was out
of breath and cramping badly again. The electrolyte gels did give me a bit of
respite from the cramps but only for about a mile.
35km – 26:12
I saw my
sister going back up the Highway and now I was beginning to believe I could get
to the finish in some kind of decent shape without having to walk as I was
managing the cramps OK (so long as I didn’t get carried away with the crowds).
I was now
moving into the middle of the crowd so people would stop shouting my name (it
got a bit much), and then move back out when I needed a boost. It was also at
this point where I recognised the carnage around me – there seemed to be people
everywhere walking, struggling and a few laid out with St John’s Ambulance with
Now my pace
had slowed my heart rate had dropped as well so whilst I was really hurting I
was also in decent shape to keep running properly to the end and I really
wanted to run the whole way despite how bad it felt. I remembered back to how
awful the early miles felt mentally and also to my long runs and told myself I
can do this.
40km – 26:16
Embankment was great and I was almost sad the race was ending as I was running
at a fairly comfortable 8:30/mi which kept the cramps relatively at bay. I
wanted to drink this atmosphere and the sights in – I didn’t want it to end. I
realised that I was having an amazing day. Not in the way I expected beforehand
but in a new, surprising way I realised that running was about more than just
running PB’s every race (make no mistake though – I would give it all up for a
Finish – 11:50
I tried to
run fast up the Mall but the cramps were awful now – both quads, right hammy,
calves, so it was everything to just keep going. I noticed everyone was struggling
along, heads down and the stands were really quiet so I got over to the side
and started clapping and fist pumping the crowd and they reacted really well,
getting involved and cheering a bit louder. So I crossed the line, arms aloft
in relief more than anything else and then collapsed with cramp and had to be
helped off to the side.
2nd half: 1:49:46
marathon I expected, nor the one I hoped for but it surprised me in many ways
and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. And when I look around at how badly some
people slowed or DNF’d then on reflection I think I handled the race pretty
well for only my second sub 3:30 marathon and 7 mins slow than my PB from
Ramjet – I’m
pleased you seem to be recovering well. I agree with your thoughts – today’s
weather is perfect(!) and you’ve got to enjoy the training when
weather/injury/just a one off shit day can ruin the race.
Jooligan – sub 3
will come if you stick with you high mileage easy mid week runs. Have faith. Impressive
array of recent PBs.
Andy I have done
both Chester and Abingdon before. I have really enjoyed both – indeed they are
my two quickest marathons. Chester is not flat, but is still a fast course.
Abingdon is flat, but not the pancake described. Chester probably a bit slicker
and flashier (in a good way), Abingdon a bit more traditional. Both excellent
marathons in my opinion and gave me just enough big race edge, whilst remaining
relatively low key. ‘traumatic portaloo stop’!!! And don’t be too hard on
yourself – it was bloody hot.
Well done. So… you need to do P&D for an Autumn marathon!
training certianily won’t be wasted. If you are motivated to do the marathon in
three weeks then go for it. Just run easy until then. Hope you feel ok soon.
JohnOz there was
no decision to back off – it was forced upon me!
AWC you’ve racked
up an impressive amount of sponsorship – well done. Great report and I think
you ran really well.
I’ve definitely got Tuesday legs – sorer than yesterday.
Interesting to look at the results analysis. In the first
half I overtook 1660 and was over taken by 160, in the second half it was 270/170.
Do people start too fast (I did!), are they in the wrong pens at the beginning? Not really sure.
Good luck Reg. Hope things are ok. I'm hanging on in my
current job but am still looking for something more secure.
Good read as always Joe. I'm already looking forward to seeing how you get on
in 12 weeks in Bolton.
Hazel - Sounds like a tough couple of days. I would try to not get too negative
about it all, it's meant to be fun right? I've needed to remind myself of that
a few times over the last few years. As someone said, it sounds like a set of
circumstances that won’t happen again, so no reason to let it put you off next
time. I’d just try to get back to doing what you enjoy. I think the decision to
race again in a few weeks depends on how you feel. If you’re raring to go in a
few days, go for it, but if it’s just something you think you should do so you
don’t waste your good training, maybe not. I certainly wouldn’t worry about
wasting fitness you built, just think of it as a base for the next campaign.
Well done everyone else, sounds like quite a familiar theme
through lots of reports. I like SQ’s precision timing and Westy’s endless
optimism. Judging from the number of people passed stats, as a group, we fared
much better than a lot of people out there.
Here’s my report:
In a word - terrible. After a great November / December a
new job in January meant a new routine. With about 10 extra hours a week at
work, my wife busier with work also and a calf injury in mid January I really
failed to build on the great base I had coming into the new year. The calf
injury took ages to clear and even when I did string together some training my
legs felt fragile, like either of the calves or hamstrings could go at any
moment. This was a bit demoralising too and really affected my motivation and
enjoyment of running. It was a real contrast to last autumn where, despite a
bad race, in training I felt indestructible, pushed really hard and loved every
minute of it.
With 5 weeks to go I managed to put together 4 solid
training weeks, averaging about 65 miles. However there was no time for proper
long runs, with my biggest days being 12 mile each way commutes, which I did 3 times. Also no big
MP sessions so I didn’t really have an idea of what shape I was in. Fortunately
in the last week I started to feel pretty good. I’d seriously thought about
running around with Joe in about 3 hours but, even if I wasn’t going to run a
good time, I had no reason not to push as hard as I could. Also I wasn’t sure I
could spend 3 hours in close proximity to those obscene swimmers.
Got the club bus which makes things really easy on race
morning. Just a few minutes down the road to get the bus and they deliver me
right at the start. I catch up with Joe and we have a good chat before the
start. Also said g’day to ML84 who’d had issues with various niggles and planned
on dropping out at halfway. Didn’t bother with a warm up and lined up towards
the back of the champs group with Joe and his pants.
The first mile was pretty congested, not too bad though and
I didn’t worry about the pace. I’d decided to run purely on feel, with my watch
only showing total time and lap time, and only take laps at the 5km intervals.
First mile in about 6:30 and I start to feel alright. I speed up over the next
mile and down the hill through mile 3. First 5km in 18:45, a bit faster than I
thought given the slow start but it felt good.
The next 15km were completely uneventful. I must’ve
maintained the speed from the downhill as the second 5km was 18:32. A bit after
5km I latched onto a group and just decided to stick with them. I remember
hearing some advice that the first half of a marathon you should just feel like
you’re sitting on a couch watching the race without thinking, so that’s what I’d
decided to do. The group fell apart after a while but I just stuck to the guy
on the front till it was just the 2 of us. He seemed to know what he was doing,
keeping a steady pace and the effort felt right. I took a drink at most of the
water stops, just a sip, then poured some over myself. It was warm but I didn’t
feel like I was struggling at all with the heat.
Third 5km in 18:51 and forth in 19:01. I could feel my guide
was slowing a bit here and I had a burst of motivation with Tower Bridge in
sight so I moved ahead and started making the pace myself. I was feeling good
and think I got a bit carried away with thoughts of a big negative split. Halfway
in 1:19:01. I reined it in a bit but the fifth 5km was 18:38. I was still
feeling good here but a couple of miles down the road, I knew that I was
starting to struggle. I was still holding pace with those around me but I was
starting to work harder, sixth 5km in 19:12.
I held on pretty well until 20 miles but then I definitely
slowed and people started coming past me. It wasn’t a complete detonation and I
felt I could still finish well under 2:45, even if sub 2:40 was gone. Seventh
5km in 20:01. It was getting harder and my hamstrings threatened to cramp. More
people were passing me now. I did consider stopping to stretch once but after
hobbling a bit for a few 100m the cramps settled a bit and I could run again.
Eighth 5km in 21:45 and very thankful to come around the corner at Big Ben. Struggle
on to the Mall and put in a bit of a fast finish to pass a few and finish in
I didn’t feel great but it wasn’t the worst I’ve felt after
a marathon. I’m not sure how much the weather affected me but I didn’t feel I
struggled with the heat, just with lack of fitness. Overall I really enjoyed
the day and the slow down at the end wasn’t bad enough to ruin things. I’m glad
I went out a bit faster than I was capable of as I felt I wasn’t too far away
from running a good race.
Saw Millsy and had a quick chat while he was
trying to find his bag. Had a bit of lie down in the shade of a tree before
making my way across horse guards to the Red Lion. Saw Joe on the way and had a
good chat with his mum, the same as last year. It was nice to end the day with
a beer and debrief with SQ and Spoon, before getting the train home.