Today I took on my 24th marathon, and 28th 100 mc qualifying event (including 3x 100k and an Ironman). This is the 7th Phoenix Running event I have taken part in, and it followed the usual set up. 6 hours to run as many laps as you like, 8 laps is an official marathon, so 8 laps is always my target. I use these as nice training runs and today the aim was anywhere between 3:30-4:00 hours. I’m also mindful that I have another on Sunday, in 2 days time.
The race briefing by Rik was pretty cool, it covered the usual stuff, but it was also Top Gun themed. It went a little like this:
Runners, you are the top 1 percent of all Runners. The elite. The best of the best. We’ll make you better … You might say we’ll make you the best of the best of the best. Those of you who can’t cut it to graduation will still be the best of the best. But you will simply be the rest of the best of the best, not the best of the best of the best, like the best of you will be.
As Runners in the Phoenix Running Club you are no doubt used to Running with the best. But those Runners , however good, are not the best of the best. They are only the rest of the best. And while the rest of the best are good, they’re obviously not as good as you, the best of the best. Even the worst among you here at Top Gun, or the worst of the rest of the best of the best, are better than even the best of the rest of the best.
Many of you are probably wondering who the best pilot here is. That plaque back there is where we list the Top Gun for each class, or the best of the best of the best … of the best. There can only be one Top Gun per class, so don’t be hard on yourselves if you only wind up being the rest of the best of the best … of the best. You’ll still be better than those I mentioned before who couldn’t cut it—the rest of the best of the best—and, of course, better than the Runners who weren’t even invited to Top Gun in the first place—the rest of the best.
So, to recap: There’s the best of the best of the best of the best, or Top Gun. Then there’s the rest of the best of the best of the best, which is everyone who makes it to graduation and who was previously only the best of the best. Then there are those who couldn’t make it to graduation—the worst of the best of the best, who are still better than the best of the rest. Simple.
I don’t imagine you have any questions, so I won’t even ask. Good luck, Runners. I’ll see you in the air. Class dismissed.
With the briefing done Rik had some special runners collecting their medals for 52 marathons in 52 weeks… awesome…
It was now time to head to the Thames to run a marathon. I started with my “Top Dad” top trying to stick with the theme, but I’m glad I had another top on underneath.
The race set off faster than usual, and I ended up doing the first couple of miles at 7:15 pace which was faster than I had planned. I felt the need, the need for speed. At this point I was in about 5th place with the front runner going well under 7 minute miles. He must be the best of the best of the best, but I’ve got the skills, at one point I was inverted.
I ran the first couple of laps, so about 10k, comfortably running sub 7:30, but was feeling hot. I ran with Simon who was my wingman for a few laps until he wanted to pickupthepace. It felt hard and it was very humid. It got to the point that I had to take my “Top Dad” top off.
I was finding it tough. Although it’s a flat course, accept for one bridge, that bridge becomes hard work as you have to cross it 16 times. I gradually slowed trying to stick to around 8-8:30 min miles, and I was enjoying saying hi to various other runners along the way. It’s always got a friendly feel to these events. During this event I had one song in my head the whole way through – Danger Zone.
The only bad bit is that the path is open for pedestrians, mostly they are polite, just like us runners are. Occasionally they are selfish, and today there was an example where 5 people walked side by side taking up the whole path, and didn’t move, meaning I had to run on the bank to come around. Come on guys it’s not difficult to make a bit of room.
At the half way point I was feeling pretty good, but new I was going to slow. I hit half way at 1:44, and mindful of another Marathon in two days I was always going to slow myself down. To be honest I would have had to really up the effort to go a lot faster too, it’s really not worth it for a training run.
So I watched my time slip slowly, I ate lots of sweets (the check point is a tuck shop) and took time to take on water at each check point. I find I enjoy these runs more when I’m taking it steady. I did have a bad feeling around mile 18 when I realised that I’d broken one of the basic rules of running a race (see my blog about running a marathon). I wore a new top, and that combined with the cotton top for first 10k, and rain led to bleeding nipples… ouch!
Apart from the sore nipples it all went well. I’ve got tired legs, but hey that’s to be expected after running a marathon. I finished feeling ok, maintaining a smile throughout the entire event, in a time of 3:49:16.
I’m really pleased with the event and the awesome bling. I will certainly be back here for more.
I definitely worked up enough points for a nice pint. And I will easily be at max points this week with Fitness Rewards.
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