Sunday, 26 April 2015

So Near and Yet so Far

This is my race report for the Shakespeare Marathon. My 10th stand alone marathon since I began running back in 2009. My 10 efforts to date are varied as you can see below:

1) Brighton 2010 - 4:02:26
2) Rutland 2010 - 3:50:10
3) Shakespeare 2011 - 3:37:41
4) Chester 2011 - 3:34:28
5) Edinburgh 2012 - 4:39:43
6) Berlin 2012 - 4:07:26
7) Brighton 2013 - 3:55:42
8) Manchester 2014 - 4:25:43
9) Marine Corp Marathon 2014 - 4:40:24
10)Shakespeare 2015 - 3:40:48

My goal before the race was to run somewhere between 3:30 and 3:34. I was really keen to get a PB and had worked hard in the 6 months since the injury hit and slowest of all my Marathons at the Marine Corp Marathon last October.

I took a week off post Washington and in the 25 subsequent weeks I have run 778 miles at an average of 31 miles per week and an average of 4 runs a week. In each of those months I have run the most mileage compared to the same month in previous years. So lots of positive signs. The one big thing lacking in my prep were those runs in excess of 18 miles. In the 6 months since Washington I have run a HM or longer 13 times as follows:

5 - HM ( 1 race - 1:35:18)
2 - 15 Miles
2 - 16 Miles
3 - 17 Miles
1 - 20M ( 1 Race 2:38:51)

Also out of these, in Feb and March there were just the 15 mile training run, the 20 Mile and HM races and 2 HM distance training runs. It was this lack of long runs that came and bit me in the butt at the end of today's Marathon.

Overall the weekend was fantastic, Lauren and I went up Saturday afternoon and met my Mother In Law. We had a nice afternoon in Stratford before going for a pleasant dinner, pasta for me as usual and then on to see Death of a Salesman in the evening, a play I knew nothing about but it was a fantastic performance. Then back to the hotel ready for the main event.

Woke up at 7am and went and sorted out topping up the car parking to see us through the afternoon then got ourselves checked out. Time got away from us and it was probably a little tighter than I would have liked, but Stratford is small and so I still made it to the start with a little under half an hour to go. Said my goodbyes to Lauren and headed for the start line after the mandatory portaloo stop, hardly had to wait, so kudos to the race organisers for that.

There was no seeding and the Half Marathon and Marathon both set off together with the red numbers being for the full and white for the half. This lead to me setting off too fast even though people were streaming past me and I was trying to hold myself back. Took my first gel at 5 miles and dropped one of my four gels, gutted!

1) 1m - 7:33 (7:52 PB split)
2) 1m - 7:46 (7:34)
3) 1m - 7:41 (7:48)
4) 1m - 7:54 (7:53)
5) 1m - 7:56 (7:49)

6 seconds ahead of PB at Chester Marathon.

Nothing too remarkable about the next 5 miles, nipped into a portaloo in the 10th mile and felt much more comfortable after that.

6) 1m - 7:51 (7:54)
7) 1m - 7:58 (7:55)
8) 1m - 8:05 (7:57)
9) 1m - 7:48 (7:47)
10) 1m - 8:22 (7:57)

34 seconds behind in this 5 miles and 28 seconds over the first 10 miles. There 20 seconds or so lost on a loo stop in the 10th mile, so pretty even through 10 miles.

Onto the Greenway after the loo and I really enjoy running this section, very similar to the bridle track and I sped up through this section, swept along by the excitement of the Half Marathoners approaching their finish. They went right around 12 miles and the Marathoners took a left heading out for their second extended loop. Saw Jan and Lauren soon after 12 miles and was all smiles and waves. Didn't feel fantastic at this point which was a concern but also struggled with the much reduced field as it was just the hardcore Marathoners left. Took my second get at 12 miles. Passed my orange gel on the floor as we looped that way again, opted not to pick it up.

11) 1m - 7:50(7:54)
12) 1m - 7:53(7:59)
13) 1m - 8:05(8:06)
14) 1m - 7:57(7:56)
15) 1m - 8:02(7:53)

1 second ahead in this section and cutting the deficit to 27 seconds.

Working hard now, took the last of my gels at 18 miles, a little group of us seemed to be forming, all hoping for sub 3:30 at this point. The hill in mile 19 meant a big slowing in pace and people were walking up it, I kept trucking but it took far more out of me than I would have wanted. The steep downhill afterwards was ok but I would have preferred a longer gentler descent to the bottom.

16) 1m - 8:02 (7:59)
17) 1m - 8:01 (8:15)
18) 1m - 8:13 (8:38)
19) 1m - 8:43 (8:20)
20) 1m - 8:18 (8:10)

5 seconds ahead and reducing the overall deficit to 22 seconds.

Onto the Greenway, so long, so straight, just trudging along trying to get this thing done. 8:30's to the finish and we get a precious PB.

21) 1m - 8:20 (8:26)
22) 1m - 8:27 (8:48)
23) 1m - 8:32 (8:53)

48 seconds ahead in this section, 26 seconds up on PB and in the PB I faded, just hold it together man!

I didn't hold it together. I exploded quite spectacularly. Run, walk, repeat for half an hour.

24) 1m - 10:33 (8:42)
25) 1m - 11:21 (8:54)
26) 1m - 10:56 (8:37)
27) 0.32m - 2:40(2:37)

6 minutes 40 seconds lost and a 26 second advantage turns into a 6 minute 14 second loss + rounding comes to 6 minutes 20 seconds short of my PB from Chester in 2011.

Main feeling is one of disappointment, I know I had neglected my long runs but I nearly pulled it off. This is still considerably faster than my 5 previous marathons and my fastest for 3 and half years as well as the 3rd fastest of my 10 Marathons. I have a really good base now and I can see plenty of room for improvement in my training. There are different types of 3:40 marathons and I think this one is more encouraging than an even paced one because I know I am capable of so much more. I know I will achieve so much more in the Bristol Bath Marathon in October once I get past that little thing called the Ironman!

Sorry for wittering on, just wanted to get all my analysis and thoughts written down before they disappeared. Thanks for reading.

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