Summer Marathon – Firebird Series

On the 21st August 2021 I took part in the Summer Marathon with Phoenix Running Events. This is the 2nd in a 4 part series, and you can see my review for the Spring Marathon HERE. It is funny looking back at the Spring Marathon, and thinking how different two races on the same course, only a few months apart, can feel so different. I will go into that later, but for now, this was my 76th Marathon, and 87th towards the 100 Marathon Club. If all goes to plan I am thinking that I will reach the 100 Marathon Club in January 2022.

The Firebird Series

As usual I got my kit ready the night before to make sure I was prepared. Unfortunately this was all the preparation I did, which I will talk about at the end. My plan for the race was to take it nice and steady, but get sub 4. I wanted to see how the race went, but with the Big Half tomorrow I didn’t want to push to hard.

Marathon #flatlay

Today Phoenix had flexible starts within a 2 hour window. So I just turned up when I wanted, got my temperature taken, then off I went. Usually these events are timed events and you can run any distance, but with this series you have the Marathon or Half option. I started off with a comfortable pace which would see me finishing anywhere between 3:20 and 3:30. I knew that I wasn’t on for a 3:20, but hoped for around 3:30ish.

Enjoying the towpath

I ran at this pace for the first 2 laps (quarter), and felt fine. But was not feeling great. I got to half way on for around 3:30, but decided I would slow to a sub 4 pace, and that would leave me with a 3:45. Phoenix have reintroduced their tuck shop and personal cup for drinks. So every lap I stopped for some water/coke/lemon squash, and a few sweets. I am not a massive fan of cups as it means stopping for a minute or two each lap to stay hydrated, and I didn’t take anywhere near enough fluid. In future I will take two bottles, one to carry, and one for my cup space to get filled ready to exchange. This is my fault for not preparing.

It was lovely to see everyone out on the course, and it was a lovely day. It started raining around half way, but it was only a light drizzle. It was an extra special day seeing Susan finish her 100th Half Marathon. I was offered champagne at the end, but I just did not feel great so passed.

Approaching the finish

So I always say not to take the marathon for granted, but today I did. I say make sure you are prepared, but today I wasn’t. Today was a training run for me, so I was relaxed knowing I was going to take it a little easier. But whilst reflecting why I felt so bad at the end, there are a number of variables that did not help. First of all it was hot and I sweated a lot. I did not hydrate enough, and if I had prepared better I would have taken a bottle with me. I took for granted that it would be bottles like normal, which I usually carry. So not only did I have to stop for about 8 minutes in total refuelling, I also became a little dehydrated.

I have also started eating a little more healthily over the last week, and we have been buying Gusto boxes, so I have been eating less. I usually eat at least twice as much as I should, so although this is fine, over the last week I have been eating less, so have less energy. I also did weights on Wednesday for the first time in many years, and a 30 minute Tabata on my Echelon yesterday. So the truth is my body is tired and recovering, and I don’t think I’ve eaten enough. Usually I would eat lots of carbs the night before, would be eating more in general, but I just didn’t really think about it. Something we can all be guilty of. So last night I sat watching Harry Potter with my boy, drinking a few beers and eating sweets, and I took my marathon for granted.

Another sub 4 marathon

I structured my expectations for the last couple of laps with an aim to stick to sub 4. I am happy with my finish time, I am just not happy with how I felt at the end. Some times it doesn’t go to plan, and I just didn’t feel good at all. This is another lesson though. Finish times are less important to me, how you feel during and after is far more important, so in future I need to make sure I fuel my body well for the activities I’m doing.

Marathon 87

Time to dust myself off and get ready for the Big Half tomorrow. So I will concentrate on recovery, eat lots, add an extra bowl of pasta to my meal tonight, and have some fun with it tomorrow.

Who else is running the Big Half tomorrow?

5 thoughts on “Summer Marathon – Firebird Series

  1. Yes, I totally agree, being well afterwards is much more important than the time, for us mere mortals, anyway. I am still proudest of my Liverpool RnR marathon where I kept things very relaxed and didn’t push it so I could keep training for my ultra, rather than pushing for a PB and derailing my training. Well done on working out what went wrong and adjusting and hope the half went well!


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