This is a blog of two parts. The Jaw Dropper on Saturday 18th February is the first instalment of my back to back Marathon attempt. This is the first time I have attempted this, and so is an unknown for me. Tomorrow will be Part 2, where I take on Dirty Running.
This race took part in Walton on Thames, the home venue for Phoenix running, which I have started using as a relaxed training run. I have been slightly nervous leading to this event, with the unknown element, especially as I can’t help but put pressure on myself. I have set myself a target to try and achieve around the 3:30 marker for both events. I am also mindful this is supposed to be a relaxed training run, so it doesn’t really matter if I don’t meet targets (if I tell myself this enough maybe I will believe it).
I arrived in plenty of time as usual, and today I decided to wear my hydration vest. I don’t usually do this in these events, but I thought it might help to stay hydrated, which is really important going into tomorrow. Nice usual race brief with just over 100 runners, about a third of the field were first timers to this event, and one person was attempting their first marathon. It’s an out and back lapped course, one lap is needed for the medal (just over 5k). Four laps for a half marathon, or eight for an official marathon. You can go on for as many laps as you like within the 6 hour period. I always go for the 8, and the field is full of 100 marathon club members and wannabees.
We then went round to the start and before we knew it we were off. In these events you really don’t know who will turn up, and today we had a faster field. The first guy ran off and he remained out from on his own. He later finished in an impressive 3:03 GFA qualifier. I sat comfortably in second place, but I was joined by two more guys and we alternated for the first few laps. What was a real surprise was that this time there were about a dozen other runners that kept on our heels. Usually the field is full of far more slower runners, but this was a different field today. I completed the first 4 laps comfortably ahead of my 1:45 target. I ran consistently around 7:30 minute miles and recorded a 1:38 for the first half. I felt strong and felt like this would continue.
I slowed to the desired 8 minute mile pace and thought at this point I would sit at this pace until the finish. However it then all went wrong. I don’t know why but I started to struggle, I can’t really explain why. Maybe it was the heat, I wore a long sleeved top thinking it would be cool, and it was hot throughout. Maybe it was the lack of sleep the night before. Maybe it was my bad cough and cold I have been fighting the last two weeks. Maybe it was none of the above, and just not my day, either way I started to slow. I spent the next few miles slowing to around the 9 minute mile pace, but I was ok with this, I worked out my time as 3:30, then 3:35, then to 3:40. It didn’t really matter. But then I just lost all motivation and I was struggling to keep any sort of pace. I look around at many of those around me chatting and using it like a ultra, spending time walking. I then decided to join a group for a walk and chat, this made the final few miles bearable. By this time the chasing group had all passed me, and I had no desire to try and catch them.
The second place guy came in at 3:24, the time I was holding, then we had about 10 come in between 3:30 and 3:35. I had given up trying to get any time, and the new time in my mind was just to make sure it was sub 4. I arrived at the finish in 3:52, which I can live with. Hopefully the relaxed end will aid recovery for tomorrow.
An important lesson from today. It does not matter how hard you have trained, and how realistic your target is, sometimes it will just not be your day. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad day. Just move on and come back stronger. I could have fought to finish 15 minutes quicker, but this would have resulted in me feeling terrible now (in fact I still feel pretty crap, probably part of the reason I struggled). Instead I pulled back and just got through, and that’s ok.
I stopped off at the pub afterwards for my pint and chips as a reward 👍 The medal is awesome as always.
Watch this space and I will be back tomorrow. I’ve just had a soak in the bath with DOMSeaseoil and used my foam roller so hopefully this will help my recovery.
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This year I have a few targets to stay motivated. I want to break 1000 miles in a year #run1000miles and I have entered a challenge to run/cycle the distance of “route66” with @myvmission
I am still behind on my target, mainly as I haven’t been cycling to work. I need to sort out a locker and then this will get me ahead in no time. 60 mile weeks like this week will help too. I’m feeling really confident I will meet the target.