The Middle Ground



  • Understand your frustration, DT! You will never know if the slower start did you a favour though! And that is a lot extra to run. The age group start does seem badly organised and have heard other complaints. I would probably be at least as frustrated by the GFA situation for 2023! Seems a bit bizarre that Sunday won't count! 

    75 minutes yesterday, slow and largely off road: the longest since mid January. 
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    London 21

    This was to be my 6th London and 9th marathon. I don’t need to talk about the training which went bang on, particularly coming straight off another perfect campaign for Dorney.

    The target was 2.49.xx and I felt that my 2.51 in Dorney was completed at an almost canter that sub 2.50 should be achievable. Additionally, a 1.18 half late May suggested even by then I was a bit fitter than Dorney. I was also conscious that people had, had problems using Dorney as a GFA for Berlin due to AIMS issues so was keen to at least be sub 2.55.

    Race week was quite relaxed in terms of nerves, I was more excited just to be going back to London. Work was ridiculously busy last week which may have been a help to take my mind off the race.

    I travelled down Friday lunchtime alone, did the expo then met up with my family who travelled after the school day. Usual ridiculous day Saturday, walking 9 miles around the history museum, but in turn two decent sleeps in a hotel room which was unprecedented.

    Carb loading I scaled back from some of the OTT efforts of previous campaigns and just ate carb dominated main meals and topped up each day with a maurten 320 as a snack. Having one of these pre-race, I am not really sure significant carb loading is necessary.

    Sunday morning I did my usual walk from Holborn to Charring Cross, got to the start, did my bits then got to the front of the pen ready to go. I watched in envy as the champs and v40s went off in wave 1, engaging in discussions with others around me as to our frustration with being in wave 3, one guy going for 2.35. I saw a clubmate who has always been much better than me but now the gap was closed. We had a quick embrace and he asked if I was going for 2.49. I said yes and he said we will stick together.

    We were off at 9.36 and so was my clubmate, so much for the plan, however I wondered if we might cross paths again later that morning. Plan was to go through half way at low 1.25 then slowly build from there. Within a mile I was hitting the back of the v40 group, however things were still relatively clear but I was fearful as to what awaited at the mile 3 merge. My main observation was that the blue start definitely has more downhill in the opening 3m than the others.

    First 3m came in at 6.34, 6.31 and then 6.20 for the downhill mile 3 and 5k in 20.19 so bang on. The merge came and it was ridiculous and extremely frustrating. I was permanently looking ahead for lines and gaps and darting all over the place, cutting my pace, speeding up and so on. Th effort felt right (probably due to all this) and I was becoming concerned that I was overcooking it and kept trying to just ease back. The next few miles came in 6.23, 6.22 and 6.26. As each one flashed up I bemoaned my lack of control. The second 5k came in at 20.01. I was becoming increasingly concerned by my GPS v mile markers. I am usually within 25 metres until Canary wharf. Already by mile 6 I was recording just over 0.1m longer.

    At 7m things opened up a bit and whilst there was still an undesirable situation, it was manageable. I had a shout out from Lewis at 7m telling me that I was bang on plan. I then saw a clubmate who was in the v40 start ahead of me. Said a quick hello then moved on.

    The following miles came in 6.28, 6.24 and 6.23 so sitting consistently now at mid 6.20s. I saw a female clubmate at 9m who was in champs and had a quick chat with her. The next 5k came in at 20.27.

    OK, systems check as we head towards Tower Bridge. I am feeling OK but definitely like this is my limit today, which is fine as sitting here will still yield a pb. Onwards to the Bridge which is my favourite part. Next few miles were 6.21, 6.25, 6.22 and 6.28 through to 13m. The next 5k came in at 19.48 and through halfway on my watch at 1.25.10. OK, despite the extra distance I believe I have covered, bang on 1st half target. Let’s just settle here as mid 6.20s is enough for a 2.49.

    The half way marker however set a bell off in my head to ramp it up, just like I do in training and went off with a 6.17, 6.12 and 6.06. I winced as every one of them flashed up and kept trying to pull back, but I was in cruise mode now. The crowds had reduced, my mood less angry and I was enjoying myself. The next 5k came in 20.02 (I appreciate there’s little correlation between my numbers and the 5k splits). At about 14m I had a shout out from OO, gave him a wave and ploughed on. A bit further along I saw g-dawg and had a brief chat and was pleased to hear he was on target.

    At 16m I saw Lewis again and he shouted out that it was time to wind things up, I gave him a thumbs up and a nod as if to say, ‘I’m going to fxxxcking destroy this now’. At about 17m I see my clubmate from the start pen so he provides a nice little target and I cruise past him at 18m. I give him a call and a wave and a smile, probably not what he wanted he was working hard and I was in my peak of the day.

    The next few miles were 6.12, 6.16 and then the Canary Wharf madness of 5.08 and 5.06. The next 5k was 19.25 to 30k. At this point I started doing my own sums working on 12k and 4 mins per k as my garmin was useless beyond a stop watch. Coming out of Canary Wharf I was 0.7m off the mile markers so it was a matter of ignoring the watch.

    It was beginning to get hard work so it was let’s just get to 23 at this pace then even if we sit at 6.30s we’ve had a good day. However, I just started getting faster with a 6.08, 6.09 and 6.07. At about 23m I saw a local speedster who won’t have been aware of my recent progress as he unfollowed me on strava a year or so back (I probably wasn’t fast enough) so I made a point of giving him a cheery wave and shout out as I passed by and a thumbs up. He was completely done, shoulders gone and looked knackered.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    The next 5k was 19.18 and suddenly I was into the final complete 5k. I just set myself the target of getting through that big tunnel and getting on the embankment as I knew once there I was home and dry. As I got to each mile marker I did some maths based on dropping to 6.30mm so at 23m I worked on 20 mins left and could see sub 2.50 was pretty much there, but I was fully conscious that something could derail me at any moment.

    I ploughed on with a 6.09 and 6.09 and was just astounded as to where they kept coming from. The final complete 5k to 40k came in 19.16, my fastest of the day and I was there on the embankment. At the 40k marker I knew I was at worst 8 minutes away. Things were getting hard now, I was really working for it, but I had the novelty of lots of space as I cut through the pack. Mile 26 came in at 6.13, but I still had way more than 400m to come. I was onto the Mall and the 1k sign comes up and I think, just 4 minutes to hold on tight and this is a nice well supported slight decline so it’s easy.

    The signs start coming fast then, 800, 600, 400…. I start moving a bit faster. I had no idea what my time might be as I hadn’t looked at my watch since 40k. As we get to the final corner, turning towards the finish I start opening up and the line comes remarkably fast. As I get towards it I give myself a quiet pat on the back for a job well done, stopping the watch at 2.47.10 (official time 2.47.08). I was immediately peed off I didn’t go sooner to go 2.46, but quickly lay that nonsense to bed! The final 0.9 on my gps came in at 6.04mm and the remainder from 40k in 8.34 so 3.54per k pace.

    I don’t for one minute believe I ran 26.9 miles as I know I gained on the gps a good 2 minutes in canary wharf based on the splits so that’s about 0.3m, however I do believe that first 7-8m cost me a good minute compared to having a clear run, though who knows if that might have bitten me on the arse later.

    I don’t really know where that 2nd half came from and at half way never thought I’d run another quite aggressive negative split of 1.25.10 and 1.21.58.

    I am not sure how I can top that, though equally I thought I had, had the race of my life in Dorney and also London 2019, so never say never I guess! The gains will no doubt be harder to find going forwards.

    As I walked down the Mall I saw SBD and we had a good chat, and I was delighted to hear of his time. Great then to meet up with g-dawg and OO plus family for a beer.

    A nice month off anything of intention and 10 days in Lanzarote pending. I then have the Derby 10m mid November. I might not be at my peak but I feel sub 60 should be on. That’s followed by a 5m race mid December to finally bank a sub 30 and I also need to find time to run a sub 18 parkrun, with that pb having just turned 3 years old. That will then give me 7 distances/7 pbs in the same year. I am also unsatisfied with my recent 10ks (one around an airfield in a storm, the other on a really hilly course) and want a solid sub 37. Eyeing up the Leicestershire 10k the week after Derby.


  • Great report, DT! A great read and a great example of pacing a marathon!
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • Well done DT! You've made such great progress in recent years, it really can't be that long when you were looking at sub3 if I remember correctly, so to be knocking on the door of 2.46 is incredible stuff.

    I've done another couple of run/walks without any real ill effect. Happy to just keep ticking over doing this and my physio prescribed exercises for the time being.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Alehouse, thanks, there's a niggling thought you can't split like that and have rinsed yourself fully, but then I look at the last few miles and it wasn't tough in that I was hanging on for dear life but I was hanging on to the pace. Though I've just looked at my splits and realised my last 12k was run at about 38.40, 10k pace. That partially blows my mind. 

    Decent progress, hopefully you can build from there.  

    Andrew, 3 years ago next week I ran 2.59.54. Crazy to think, I thought i was my best me possible then. In reality it just opened the doors. 

    Just keep doing that for a while then see where it takes you. 
  • Have you thought of doing a marathon with a much smaller field, DT, or certainly less crowded at around 2:45 than London is?

    Your experience reminded me of my experience in the Great North Run when I was 42: 41 minutes for the first 10k due to literally being held up by clowns, then 41 minutes for the next 11k! Wasn't really my cup of tea at all, and I wasn't really interested in anything beyond 10k after that. 

    Does sound positive from you, AD: just remember to be consistently consistent with both the run/walk and the exercises. Out of interest are any of the exercises to strengthen the glutes? 

    All set, JGav?

    Are you back into the swing of things post Brighton, Muss?
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT, I remember you mentioned 40 minutes for 10k was a big milestone for you. It's a sign of amazing progress that it's now your marathon pace.

    If you'd run Brighton, you would have been 7th - the winning time was 2:35ish and there weren't loads of runners that cracked 3:00!

    Maybe a championship start for London is still not out of the question?! 

    Alehouse, last week was only 34km - it was very frantic with work and lots of travel, so I didn't get much opportunity for a longer run, and the one day I could have fit it in I was very hungover! I did do 17km on Tuesday, my longest so far. It blows my mind that only a few weeks ago I was doing that every Thursday morning before work - and after a few weeks of lower mileage it suddenly feels quite long again. 

    My plan from here is up to gradually get back up to 65-70km per week, but spreading that out a little more evenly than during my mara prep. I won't be going longer than 2 hours until next year, I reckon. My first race is a Battersea 10km in December, and I've got a couple of Halves booked for spring.
  • Alehouse - yes, the exercises are split into two focus areas:
    1) the quads, so I've got single leg squats with heel raised (only as far down as it comfortable, rather than all the way down to 90 degrees as previous physio prescribed), lunges (again, only as far as comfortable) and step 'dips' if you know what I mean?
    2) the glutes - by way of resistance band work - bridges, side leg lifts and clam shells.
  • Did another run walk yesterday afternoon - physically it went well, but I managed to misjudge getting back onto the pavement around a parked car and caught it's wing mirror with my hip! Caused the whole casing of the mirror to disintegrate, so I had to knock on the door of the house it was parked outside to offer to pay for the cost of repair. So that was an expensive run for me!

    Then physio again last night for a check in and a good sports massage on my right leg.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Muss, that would be surreal for me, being that far up the field of a major event!

    It's a huge shame champs time dropped from 2.45 as i'd have a real incentive to push on now, beyond the natural desire to get better.

    I've still done nothing since London, will start saturday with a spin class and sunday with a 3m run.

    Andrew, that was good and honest of you to stop and do that, many wouldn't have!

    Application submitted yesterday for my Berlin GFA place for next september.
  • JGavJGav ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Yes @alehouse I think all set. Getting the train up tomorrow afternoon and sleeping at my cousins house.

    My training was going really well until after Dorney. Got close to my final long run but had been getting chest pain whilst running. Having put it down to something muscular when it didn't clear up I went to the Dr who said I had to stop running until I'd had some checks. I went from 65k per week down to 0, a very aggressive taper!

    I had an echo and CTCA (heart CT) and got the all clear on Monday. I've now been out for two half hour runs and hoping the fitness is still there and legs know what to do on Sunday.

    Very impressed with your run in London @DT19
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    How did it go, jgav?  That sounds scary  glad there was nothing serious. 

    Alehouse, I'm thinking of Manchester I April. Do I recall you previously suggesting the Premier inn in Altrincham as a decent location ( hotels in Salford and Trafford already booked)? I can see there's a tram stop right by hotel?

    Not much to report here. A 3m run Friday, spin yesterday and 5m today. 
  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Altrincham is a decent place to stay, DT! Easy access from the south, plenty of eating places, tram nearby etc. 

    Yes, JGav, report please, however it went!

    36.5 k for the week, the highest since the last week in January. Gradually increasing...I hope!
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Yes that's what I recall you saying last year. It's quite cheap as well and most will gravitate towards city centre. Just need a conversation with my wife as hadn't planned to run a spring marathon but if I want a London gfa place for 2023 I'll need to. Also, the marathon is fast becoming the distance I'm most capable at and it seems a shame to limit myself to once next year. 

    Looks like you are stringing a decent bit of consistency. 

    I always think that I will/should enjoy these few weeks post mara but insecurity kicks in that I'm losing ground/momentum and need to get going again! 
  • Managed to fit in 3 runs this week, with the last couple seeing me cover 2 miles in each run with only a couple of short walk breaks (which were probably more through an abundance of caution than really being needed). I’ll keep building up slowly whilst doing my rehab exercises. I can certainly feel my glutes working a bit more whilst running, so hopefully those resistance exercises are starting to help a little. 
  • mussesseinmussessein ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Andrew - that sounds promising.

    I've taken to doing a set or two of single leg glute bridges and some banded kickbacks before every run. Takes less than five minutes, and means that even if I don't squeeze in a dedicated workout, I'm doing some at least some strength work.

    Glad to hear you're getting into the swing of things again alehouse.

    Any shorter races, DT? 

    My week took a real turn for the better last week. I had a sore knee for a couple of days, eventually I worked out it was just referred pain from a sore spot of my quad, rather than anything more serious. I had a couple of good runs at the weekend after a couple of days off, and ended up stringing together a 50km week.

    My schedule has also completely cleared up this week, so without any work stresses I'm hoping to kick on a little more this week, if my knee continues to be pain free. The week after is also very easy, work wise. It's been completely mental from taper week, so I'm grateful for the change of pace!

  • What's next Muss? A quieter work schedule will help with tiredness as well as ramping up the training...but don't up the latter too quickly! And glad to hear of the s&c! Something is of course better than nothing.

    Sounds like continued progress, AD! Work hard on those exercises!

    11.5 km this morning, the longest since mid January. Almost all off road. Plus 30 minutes of Pilates beforehand.
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • Sounds like you've really turned a corner now.

    I've got a runthrough 10km in Battersea in December, then I've entered one half for the spring, and have earmarked two others that I want to run. I hope to fit in a LFOTM in soon, too.

    Having said I wouldn't run a marathon next year, I got quite far through the process of entering the ballot for London, before realising that work plans probably won't allow the kind of buildup I'd want.

  • Yes, plenty of other distances apart from the marathon! And funnily enough I may well be at a LFoM in the near future! 

    Short recovery run d&d then Tuesday is always a long stretching session in the evening.
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Andrew, good stuff. It doesn't take much strength work to make a difference. I struggled to keep on top of it as much as I was previously, in the final 6 weeks building to London, just due to training volume. It has become increasingly noticeable lately as I have started having lower back ache which I haven't had in ages.

    Muss, I have the Derby 10m mid November and a 5m race mid December. I will also get a parkrun in (my pb is over 3 years old now!). Plan is to run sub 60, sub 30 and sub 18, times that for many years were just aspirational. Also gunning for a clean sweep of pbs as already done 10k (twice), half, 20m and mara (twice) this year. Only ever managed that once in 2016. If they all fall into place smoothly, I may find a 10k as well as the 10k's I have done didn't give me a fair crack at them so not really satisfied not being sub 37.

    Done some s and c this morning and will do spin tonight. I've come down with a cold as of last night, which has already been through my household. Better this week than 10 days ago!
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Cold is now streaming! 

    Alehouse, I entered Manchester today. I've missed the boat on Altrincham as no family rooms left so looking at something central ish with parking and by a tram. There's one in Deansgate locks that seems to tick the boxes. Is that far from where I'll need to get to? 
  • DT: shame about Altrincham! I'm not sure about Deansgate Locks: could be noisy with a host of nightclubs! Only a couple of stops on the tram though. Look at the Didsbury Travelodge: right next to the metro plus plenty of eateries in Didsbury which is one stop on the tram or about a mile away. I get the tram to Old Trafford cricket ground from Didsbury and it is 11 minutes on the tram, then 7 or 8 minutes walk. 
    Also Salford Quays is an option and not far to the start.  Not sure what there is in terms of eating though. 

    Travelodge | Manchester Didsbury hotel - Manchester Didsbury hotels

    Message me if I can be of any help!

    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Thanks Alehouse, we are going to sit and look later. My wife considers a travelodge to be just the wrong side of the line when it comes to budget hotels! I note there's a West didsbury premier in though. 

    We will have the car so may look to stay somewhere like Warrington or Wilmslow then drive in on the Sunday morning or at least to a tram stop. My brother in law and kids live in Urmston so my wife and kids can then make a day of it with them. 
  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Yes, best to drive to a tram stop on the day, DT. The West Dids Premier is about a mile to a tram stop. There is also The Waterside in East Didsbury and The Village Hotel Cheadle. Less than half a mile and two miles to the tram respectively. Plenty of others, no doubt but looks as if things are getting booked up!

    The Belmore near Sale is on the course and around half a mile to the tram:

    Very tired here and headache. Today's run was a plod. Hope that I am not going to get your cold!
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Alehouse, we have booked the premier inn in Sale now. It was cheap, had on site parking and seemed reasonably straightforward to get me to the start and my wife to her brothers.

    Yesterday was ridiculous, I was streaming all day, felt rotten. Today I feel about 20% better but still not great.
  • Sounds a decent plan, DT! And get well!
    Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.
  • Colds have hit our house too in the last few days. Was awake for over 3 hours in the middle of the night with the 2 year old who woke and couldn't get back to sleep. Feel like the walking dead at work today!

    Also had my flu jab yesterday, so didn't go out for my run yesterday and just did some more rehab exercises instead.
  • 2 miles yesterday, 2.5 today. Eeking them up slowly. Beautiful sunny afternoon over the fields today (and no cars to run into!). 
  • Good news Andrew. I also seem to have a real affinity for colliding with things and slipping/tripping: gate posts, lamp posts, trees, twigs/branches...

    How are the colds AD/DT?

    Crystal Palace parkrun yesterday morning. I planned on taking it easy, but the red mist came down before we were even off - lots of people at the start seemed up for it and I'd already identified some targets who I'd love to beat. I started off around HM effort, going through the first km in 4:30 exactly, and ended up progressing throughout, with Kms 4 and 5 coming out at 3:52 and 3:49. My time for 5k was 20:34 - I was pretty pleased with that considering I had plenty left in the tank.

    A sleepy 16km run this morning also progressed nicely in the second half - with a few sub 5 min kms for low HR. I couldn't help but wonder why that form couldn't materialise in Brighton! It all bodes well for this campaign though. 

    58km for the week
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