3:29:15 – 850th AG / 6140 overall !!
I’d got a place for London marathon 2016 but deferred this to this year with the plan to give it a proper go and see if I could get under 3 hours again. Having entered Ironman South Africa, which was 3 weeks before, this all changed and I decided on no goals till post IMSA. Following that race I very quickly got back in to training and felt I wanted to focus on Ironman Germany. I decided that the marathon had to just be my long run for that week. To this end I made sure I ran normally in the week up to it with the aim being I wouldn’t be fresh enough to run it too hard and I wouldn’t need any recovery after. In the three days leading in to the race I ran 20k, 22k and 11k. I decided that this race would be a good reality check on running 3:30 marathon in an Ironman. The plan was to run 5 min /k until I was in the final 10k and then run a bit quicker to come in under 3:30.
It’s nice doing a race without any nerves. I slept well the night before, I got to the start not too early and got in to the pen just 10 minutes before the start.
I managed not to get drawn along when the gun went and went through the first KM in 5:06 – a little slow but I felt a lot better than too fast. Then I spotted Fletch. He was a couple of people ahead but I couldn’t run through to him so I shouted “Fletch” and he turned. We started chatting but the pace felt a little strong and I felt I’d have to say goodbye shortly. Then I explained my pacing plans and he said that would be great for him so we ran together. We were still going too fast so I said a couple of times we should slow. Then he admitted he’d be pleased with sub 4 to which I replied we’d definitely better slow down.
When I look at my watch splits verses the official you can see how the GPS can be a little out. I knew this as it was beeping ahead of the markers so I was keeping a mental note of how far off my Garmin appeared to be. First 5k in 24:17… too fast. We managed to back off the next two to 25:04 and 25:11 – perfect. As I passed each 5k timing mat I thought of Rachel checking my splits and how her life would be less stressful if she could see I was doing exactly what I planned.
At about 17k, Mark decided to drop off the pace. I hit the next 5k in 25:02 and was very much on pace going through the halfway point in 1:45:02. I saw Rachel, Marc and Robin just on the far side of Tower Bridge which helped moral.
Following the halfway point I could feel I need a pee. I know from my Ironman racing that it’s typically well worth the stop. `The 5 min Ks had now started to need a little bit of focus to hit but following the loo stop they seemed easy again. This 5k was in 25:51 (it was 24:50 run time per my Garmin).
Now we’re in to docklands and I remember this as having fewer supporters but 10 years on and it’s incredible the support; it’s pretty much continuous. Round here though it’s noticeable the difference of running at this pace verses sub 3hr pace in most of my previous attempts. At 3:30 pace there are lots of runners around the whole time. It means that moving forward past people is always tricky and also on corners or when the road narrows (which I never noticed before) it gets congested and the pace slows. I was now having to keep a little look at my pace between KMs to make sure I kept on it. KM 30 was bizarre, I didn’t slow relative to those around, the effort felt the same but suddenly it was showing 20s slower ! At this point my Garmin got in line in distance with the markers and I guess that explains the anomalous KM split. I went through this 5k in 24:47.
At this point the legs felt sore. I concluded no matter what pace you run they’ll feel sore due to all the impacts. I held it together through to 35k (in 25:09) before pushing the pace. I started seeing 4:4x splits and knowing Rachel and Marc would be around the 37k point I pushed on wanting to look like I was flying; this resulted in a 4:31 KM, not exactly flying but I enjoyed seeing it.
I went through this 5k in 23:23 and then tried to back off a little in the final 2k seeing no point in trashing my legs any further.
I finished in 3:29:15 and felt happy. My legs felt very sore indeed on finishing and walking to meet Rachel. It made me wonder whether I’d over done it.
The following day though I had no DOMs and went for an 11k run. I felt tired for a few K then OK. Tuesday I felt great running so I think I judged it right.
This was a very enjoyable run. I had a negative split of about 1 minute despite having 1 minute loo break in the second half. This is definitely the way for a most enjoyable marathon but not convinced it’s the way to get my fastest. I feel I need to commit and hang on. I think it’s harder to push that extra pace at the end than it is to hold on following a stronger initial pace. The tricky bit is judging how hard early on so as not to blow up. It turns out I passed 1,029 people in the final 7.2k whilst only 3 passed me. Thats certainly a recipe for enjoying the final KM of a marathon.
I’m so glad I raced as I feel excited about my running. Am already planning to enter the ballot again and wondering how quick I go next year if I get a good years running under my belt.