There are some days that are just Great days! Today was one of those days. I PB'd at the Stratford Marathon, offical time of 3:37:41 and 249th position out of 1077 finishers. Man Utd did the business beating Chelsea 2-1 and moving within a point of the title, had a beautiful curry with my beautiful wife and the cherry on the top was Arsenal getting beaten 3-1 by Stoke.
The race weekend in Stratford with Lauren and Jan was fantastic start to finish. Got there Friday night, had a quick pint and some McDonald's for me and then booked in at the Premier Inn. Woke up to it chucking down with rain, but managed to get myself outside for 4 miles, ran along side the river and saw the finish for the race and got to run a little bit of the route. Made it back to the hotel looking like a drowned rat. A bit of shopping and lunch was followed by a 3 hour performance of Macbeth, which I enjoyed much more than my previous Stratford thearte expierence. Then it was off to see Rom, Danni, Hannah, Chris and Lilly all relatives of Lauren's. Had a very pleasant evening at theirs before getting back to the hotel a bit before Midnight.
Woke up fearing the worst weather wise. The ground was still wet from the weekends rain, but it held off and was very kind to us throughout the day. Had some breakie with Lauren at the hotel then headed for the start line. Jan met us there and a few snaps and hugs later I went to the start pen whilst they headed for mile two to catch a glimpse of me.
I set off what felt gently, a couple of mile loop round the town before we headed out to the country lanes around Stratford. Saw Lauren and Jan after a couple of miles just before tackling the first incline of the day. I went through the first 3 miles at 7:40 pace, much quicker than even my most ambitious target pace and I knew it wasn't sustainable. I took the foot off the gas, and the next 6 miles bar one mile all hovered close to the 8 min mile mark.
At mile 10 I lost 30 seconds as I nipped into the loo for my one stop of the day. I then saw Lauren and Jan around the 12 mile mark when the race splits with the Half Marathon runners heading for the finish, as I and my fellow Marathon runners headed out for a second lap.
The middle section of the race was taken nice and steady and I just ran on feel. 8:15 miling seemed to be what my body wanted and I felt strong. This slowed to more like 08:30 miles as I counted down to the 20 mile marker. I was waiting for the wheels to fall off, as my prep had been far from ideal, with a longest run of just 15 miles and just general low mileage particuarly for the two weeks in SA. There wasn't any good reason for this, no injuries, just good old fashioned laziness.
But it didn't seem to be affecting my performance, as I went through the 20 mile mark and onto the Greenway feeling great, my last gel had kicked in and the surface was nice offroad gravel like the bridle track which I love. The splits of 8:18,8;22 and 8:33 don't really do that part of the race justice as I felt great and was moving through the field nicely at this stage.
It was at 24 miles with just 2.2 miles to go that the pain set, I was shattered and had nothing left, I was just trying to keep moving. It was at this stage that I felt beating Lara's PB was out of reach, and 3hrs 30 was long gone and so motivation was low. I knew I was going to PB it was just a matter of by how much. I was starting to lose a place or two on the run in, but just kept putting one foot in front of the other. There was now only 1/2 mile to go and it was the stretch I had ran on Saturday so I knew I was nearly there. I saw Lauren & Jan on the run in and managed one last smile for the camera before crossing the line in just under 3:38 on the gun time. The chip time came in at 3:37:41 a PB of nearly 13 minutes. I was really pleased with this result, and my Garmin tells me there were 999m of ascent (in hindsight this looks bigtime wrong) which sounds pretty hilly to me. I'm exhausted and ready for bed, I think the cycle in to work tommorow is probably off the cards!
Below are my splits for the race and my training for Stratford and for previous Marathon PB at Rutland.
The race splits looked liked this
Miles 0-6 - 46:56 (7:49 per Mile)
Miles 7-12 - 49:32 (8:15 per Mile)
Miles 13-18 - 49:34 (8:16 per Mile)
Miles 19-24 - 51:10 (8:32 per Mile)
Miles 25-26.2 - 20:29 (9:18 per Mile)
Mileage in 90 days leading up to Stratford - 233 miles (longest run of 15 miles)
Mileage in 90 days leading up to Rutland - 252 miles (longest run of 20 miles)