On 13th September 2020 I completed the Phoenix Party Train timed event. Today happens to be my birthday. A month ago I asked my wife what we were doing for my birthday (this was a loaded question)… “anything you want” she replied. Well, in that case can I run a marathon…
After taking part in the Kew Gardens 10k yesterday (see blog HERE), I got my kit ready straight away. I’m a little out of practice and I forgot a few bits, so I wanted to get ready whilst it was fresh in my mind. I always look forward to the Phoenix events. Timed events are laps, and for this challenge on the Thames Path it is 8 laps for a marathon. You are able to do as many laps as you like in the 6 hours, and get a medal for any distance. I always do 8 laps for the marathon, and use this as a training run. I am disappointed not to be leading the #funbus at events, but glad I get to join the #partytrain.
I am slowly making my way to the 100 marathon club. With so many cancellations this year I am not where I had planned to be, but I’m starting to find a few races to take part in. Today was my 56th official marathon and 65th towards 100 marathon club (including ultras and Ironman).
Before I started I told my wife that I would just be aiming for sub 4. I am not at my best and haven’t trained for running for a few months nursing injuries, so wanted to treat this as a good training run. As always with my phoenix runs I don’t aim for even pacing, I treat it as a block session, if I go too fast or want to slow down, then so what, its about getting the miles in.
I arrived 10 minutes before the start, and the event had already been going for half an hour. We go off in groups of 5 or 6. The team have covid safe processes in place so on arrival we are asked to wear a mask / buff, and the first thing we do is have a thermal temperature check. Then we sanitise our hands. I started off strong running about 07:30 min miles. It is a natural pace for me, so I went with it. These events are never busy, but with a staggered start it meant I had no one near me running my pace. Psychology it is hard to push with no comparison. I usually like sticking close to people and ticking them off one by one, but I found myself out alone.
Although I had no one to follow, the rest of the event was very similar to normal. With 8 out and back laps it means you get to see the same faces smiling back at you over and over again. I love seeing lots of smiling faces from people of varied abilities over and over. I guess I might have come 3rd or 4th. I spent a lot of time overtaking people but there were two fellas who definitely overtook me, and one who would have ran a similar time but started in a different wave.
Once I got to half way I would have had to dig deep to maintain pace, so this dropped slightly. But I kept going strong and at 18 miles I was happy to be averaging around 07:40. I actively made the decision to ease my pace, I had a good session, so now it was just about finishing. I found that I was able to keep a fairly strong pace going and in the back of my head I had an average of 8 min miles, which is exactly what I achieved.
An 8 min mile would be 3:30. At 26.2 miles my watch read 3:30, but the course was long, so I’m very happy coming in at 3:34:55.
It was such a lovely way to start my birthday. A marathon, lots of friendly smiles as we ran together ❤
Afterwards by family picked me up for a huge feast. A great way to end the day.