So I’ve not posted for a while as I’ve been very busy and running and working all hours so last week I was utterly exhausted and I’m still fairly tired! It’s the season for it so I’m used to it but boy do I need a lie in!
It was really misty to start but ended up being a beautiful warm October day with hard dry packed mud underneath and some serious hills I had a laugh and loved my run managing about a 4:22 which is great for the surface.
Now I was a tad tired as I’d finished work and got in at 2:30am that morning but as the clocks had gone back it was really 3:30am but I gained an hour! Phew, because did I need that extra hour! We got to the start at 7am, it’s a 40 min drive so up at the ungodly hour of 5 something… bleurgh…
Today was the first time I got to use my new Ultimate Direction SJ 2.0 pack and it was ace, once I’d sussed how to use the bottles! Must remember to practice these things before! I filled up with 2L of Tailwind and I think that spurred me on.
I did buy two 420ml Hydrapak bottles too which were great to end the run on. Tailwind really is my nutrition of choice nowadays. More on that later…
So I had a successful run, my wife volunteered and all had fun at the aid station. Next day was Halloween and time for the Halloween Challenge at the same venue but starting at 1pm and finishing 6 hours later so the last lap of a marathon would be in the dark! Exciting. To make it even more fun I went as a zombie, getting up at 6:30am for my wife to make me up.
As soon as I started I felt Sunday’s run, my legs feeling a little sore and not being as bouncy as usual. The weird thing with the 1pm start is I didn’t know what to eat? Usually for a 7 or 8am marathon I’ll eat nothing until an hour into the run, if it’s 9 or 10am I’ll have my staple Greek yoghurt and peanut butter and I’m usually fine but a 1pm run? I know I’ll go and get a 14 inch American hot pizza and have that instead as that sounds like a great idea? Doesn’t it?
About 10 miles in and I needed the loo and quickly, luckily portaloos are provided and I was at base camp. Lucky escape. This sort of revived me for a bit but as it was a late start I knew I didn’t need to hurry or I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic all night. This is my excuse for a 5:05 though the last 1.5 laps were in pitch black and I spent it in the pleasant company of Glenn Burgess on his “flake” marathon- his 99th!
This medal was worth it though!
So I had a few days off as DOMS had seriously set in on Tuesday and walking up and down stairs wasn’t fun at all, much fish and protein for a few days and all was well for my third marathon since my last post. By the way the DOMS information came from a brilliant running wiki I use called Fellrnr. Amazing detailed help and advice.
My 34th marathon was on the Thames Path and a 1:30hr drive away which wasn’t fun as by now I was absolutely knackered and getting up at 6am to drive to London was the last thing on my mind on Saturday morning! I prepped my Camelbak with Tailwind that morning, had my Greek breakfast and set off with Lavazza coffee in my Disney mug- only to realise about 25 minutes later I’d left my Camelbak full of Tailwind on my kitchen side, at home, NOT in my car…
Luckily I’m a bit of a resourceful logistical bloke and I always travel with enough fuel just-in-case. I had about 6 Clif bars in my luggage so I packed 4 on my person (I was tired as usually 3 will do) and felt better getting to registration and finding a sweet parking spot right next to the door.
Registration done I went back to the car, lowered my front seat and had a kip, after checking in with my wife, letting her know I’ve arrived and was sorted. I was 2 hours early but I enjoy being ready and waiting to go. I did manage some kip and did feel a little refreshed when I made it out of the relatively warm car to the freezing cold outside, before hibernating in the warm YMCA building to say hello to the usual suspects of Gary Wayman, James Bennett and Ryan Holmes. Ryan’s on target to be the youngest person to get to 100 marathons this New Year’s Eve at the age of 21! Beating the previous record by over 2 years. Well done to him! Though he had forgotten his running top so was running in his over layers… not just me today then.
The route was a really simple out and back with a little weirdness at the beginning where we ran the opposite direction for a mile then back past the start/ finish for 12 miles along the Thames Path. Strava link here & route below
Being ridiculously tired and with none of my new Tailwind nutrition I did what any runner would do in these circumstances and I set off for a Sub 4 at all costs so I could finish early and get home to relax!
The first 10 miles were great and I was on for an easy 3:45 then as I got closer to the 13 mile turn around I needed the loo (again), the only issue is there were toilets at the 1 mile mark and the 26 mile mark. Damn. So I manned up and got to the turnaround swallowed a cola bottle and soldiered on. I had been looking for friendly thick bushes etc but no such luck on the Thames Path! It was going to be a long day…
This wasn’t helped by going the wrong way at some point but, in my defence, me and another runner followed the MASSIVE fluorescent arrow for about 200 meters until we could see no more so we turned back and caught up with everybody going the right way.
After the turnaround point I was going a little slower (9 min +) mile whilst looking for a loo point until eventually I gave up and just resolved myself to the fact it was going to be a long 13 miles back. My pace seemed to settle and my stomach too so I stuck at a slower pace and counted down the miles.
I was running right behind a runner who was slowing too and every time I got near he sped up which was fine by me as I was saving him for mile 26. I read somewhere from someone that when they felt tired and weak they sped up so that is what I did. Every time I slowed to +9:30 pace I sped up a little, spurring myself on a little more. This seemed to work and then I reached the 20 mile mark at 2:54 hours and that simple pacing mental arithmetic told me that I could do a 10 min mile for the next 6.2 and still finish sub 4. All was good.
Looking at my splits it seemed to work and as I ran past the “finish” line I remembered the portaloos at mile one. “Bugger this” I thought I could go the loo and still get a sub 4… well no, as the portaloos were on the way back and I was at mile 26 at 3:55 and I didn’t want to risk it. My plan went well as when we got to the turnaround point with about half a mile to go I sped up, only a little bit but enough to inch away from my running partner who had inadvertently paced for me the last 13 miles!
I was slightly worried I might miss the sub 4 but I managed it, not got official results yet but my Garmin says so.
Now I’m on Day 3 of a stint of 4 x 14+ hour days working so I’m putting my marathon mentality to work and just grinding through it with a smile. The smile is important as I never want to wish my time away.
Next official run is Somme Centenary Challenge Run on 18th November. Aiming for 30+ miles then working until 2am! Roll on 3 weeks off at Xmas…
Happy running all.