in October I have entered a marathon on every Sunday. They are:
2nd Oct Loch Ness
9th Oct Chester
16th Oct Abingdon
23rd Oct Marato del Mediterrani (Barcelona)
30th Oct Lausanne
If I'm honest I have no idea if I can do it but at least I'll have a better idea of my limits afterward.
More importantly, I'm trying to raise some much needed cash for Cancer Research UK. So, if you feel able to sponsor me via the link below it would be much appreciated.http://www.runningsponsorme.org/5in5
Leg 1 complete.
Completed Loch Ness yesterday in 3:58:20. Legs are pretty sore today but my main injury was burning the roof of my mouth on a Pot Noodle the night before. Life is a learning process!
Completed Chester in a new PW of 4:29:35. PW? TBC!
Things started poorly when I went down for breakfast. Every other marathon I have run I have had Weetabix for breakfast. No Weetabix and in hindsight maybe corn flakes wasn't a good choice! Lesson 1 - don't rely on anyone else (even a large hotel chain) for your nutitional needs.
Replete on a inadequate breakfast I got to the start line feeling quietly confident and turned on my Garmin. And there where the stopwatch display should have been it was telling me that the sun would set at 6:34pm. Ok, some may find that a useful piece of information but I'm not one of them. Lesson 2 - check your equipment before you leave home, the night before, in the morning but not on the start line. Thankfully I have a second screen set up for cycling so at least I had the stopwatch function, just no pace information.
The first ten miles were pretty uneventful, if a little windy but by about 12 I was feeling fatigued. This was probably down to running Loch Ness the week before but could have been a few fast miles that I didnt notice or could have been breakfast related.
A half marathon time of 1hr54 on the face of it seemed ok but by that time I seemed to be running backwards relative to the rest of the field and I knew things were not as hunky dory as the previous week.
At mile 20, I walked at a water station to take on water. It turned into a walk of almost a mile but I did at least get going again. That was "the wall"? Pah! What was the fuss about. I was now running freely and feeling pretty darned good about things.
Until 23 miles and a hill (on this flattest of courses!) and my legs rebelled. It was like they were saying "we warned you once and you ignored us". This WAS "the wall" and its not to be sniffed at. Its not cramp and its not tiredness; your legs just cannot run. Trying to do so hurts - a lot. So a laboured walk for the final 35 minutes entailed for the final two miles. Why is it that the size of the crowds is inversely proportional to how bad you are feeling?
So onto the racecourse for the final 400m. My daughter is running along the outside so I have to try and run again. To my surprise my legs are now at one with the rest of me and I break into a jog. The jog becomes a run and the run becomes a full on sprint finish (these terms are relative). Lesson 3 - the human body really is truly amazing.
So whilst 4:29:35 may be my slowest marathon (so far) is it a PW? No - I have probably learnt more from this one than any of the five previous. We shall see!
Completed Abingdon in 4:16:39
I've been looking for suitable words of wisdom to describe my feelings after this run but first, in time honoured tradition, I guess I should give an insight into the course, the conditions and the run.
The course is as flat as any run I've ever done and the weather was just about perfect.
Ipods and their ilk are banned due to it not being run on totally closed roads which wasn't an appealling prospect. However, because nobody had them it meant there was a much better atmosphere between the runners. People actually talk to each other when you remove reasons not to! And, the fact it is basically two laps became a plus point. The crowds and marshalls see you twice and if you make an effort then you get so much more back.
The previous week I was a had a dietary disaster and so I took my own porridge, Pot Noodle and bananas to make sure I didnt go short. However, I was staying in an accommodating guest house that actually served whatever you wanted for breakfast. So unlike the previous week I managed to fuel up on porridge, toast, bananas and coffee. Only issue was it was a bit out of town so for my meal the night before I had porridge, Pot Noodle, bananas and coffee. (I think the dullness of that paragraph is wholly appropriate!)
I'd also fixed my Garmin so come the start the sunset was of no concern to me. So true to form the first half marathon took 1hr56, two mins slower than Chester but a whole lot more comfortable and no 'silly miles'.
And then I had a pee! Now I'd have thought being a kilogram lighter would have meant I should have run faster but not the case. On resumption I was now running a minute a mile slower and starting to feel the cumulative effects of two and half marathons.
Mile 20 and fatigue turned to a dull pain. My body started to argue with my mind regarding a realistic goal for the day. As 4hrs was no longer achievable a few minutes walk followed.
Its amazing how a few minutes walk can buy you another three miles of running but inevitably the previously dull pain started to become somewhat more severe. I knew this wasn't the wall of the previous week though and took the view if I stopped running, however slowly, that might be the end. So two miles of runners purgatory. No sprint finish, no raised arms, not even relief. For what followed was worse. Purgatory became hell. I don't suffer from asthma but had all the symptoms after stopping. Not out of breath but wheezing and actually having to suck air in. Seriously frightening for a minute or so but it did abate. This was followed by my legs "just hurting". Difficult to describe they "just hurt". Its like a pack of hyenas savaging you and there is nothing you can do to stop it. I know I should keep moving so walked back to the guest house for forty minutes. And then as quickly as it comes, the pain goes.
Three down, two to go but this was far and away the most painful and the thought of putting myself through it next week really isnt attractive.
Words of wisdom. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Thanks wise person!