Thursday, 17 October 2013

Leicester Marathon

A several months back I was hoping I might do a PB here but due to various niggles and feeling really tired over the summer I ditched the speed work in favour of steady miles since tooting 24 hour race was my A race.

Skechers Gorun2
I like my marathons to have a purpose rather than for them to be just another number. The purpose of this had now moved to running hard (for some or all the race depending on how I was feeling) for some much needed speed training for a PB attempt later this year.  A second purpose was to test out my Gorun2 shoes.  I have been running in them for a while and really like them, they are light (170g size 6.5) yet very comfy.

Earlier in the week I picked up a cold which had developed into a nasty cough at night so I hadn't had a great deal of sleep and the terrible forecast of rain all day meant that I went to bed not feeling up for it.

Got parked at 8am about 10 min from the start and opted to wait in the car for a while as there is nowhere warm to wait at the start and it was raining. Eventually went to the start as I needed the toilet for a no2 needed to allow time to queue.  I have never seen a queue like it. Half an hour later it was 8 min to race start and I was nowhere near the front. I was still dressed in tracky bottoms and several tops and needed to hand my bag so had to have a quick wee behind a tent, take some Imodium then hope for the best.

Ran to the pen and ended up around people who didn't look very fast so edged my way forward as much as I could. Before I knew it we were off. I was muttering and swearing under my breath for the first mile at the people going at 10 +mm who started too far forward - why do people do that, it causes congestion and is just selfish.  I was just getting into a decent pace without having to dodge the slow people  when my shoelace came undone in the second mile grrrrrrrr. My hands were quite cold so it took ages to do up properly.  Now I had to get back past people.

After about 10 miles I was nicely settled into a rhythm, pace varying depending on the undulations but averaging 7.20s. Legs feeling good, breathing quite hard but that is usually the case.  A few spectators were shouting ' ...... Lady' ;unfortunately I couldn't hear the .... because  it was quite windy but figured I must be fairly high up for them to still be counting. Eventually someone shouted loud enough 3rd lady. I could see 2nd ahead, I had seen her a while and was v slowly closing in. So although a PB was off the race now became for the podium :-). :-)

I soon caught and passed 2nd lady. :-) then had to stop for a train at12.5 miles - I might have sworn 😲 although they write down your  number and adjust the time that is no good if I am wanting a position as that will be based on 123 over the line.  Whilst waiting 3rd was catching up and 1st getting away so I was not happy.  Took the opportunity to take my first gel.  ( caffeine)

Got to halfway with an average pace of 7.23mm, think my average was 7.33 last year. I was feeling strong and fairly confident that I could hold the pace a while longer before fading so hoped I could beat last year. A few miles later there was another train stop. I saw the barrier coming down so slowed down which meant I ended up only stopping for a matter of seconds as the barrier came up quickly. 

The support on the course from Marshall's and spectators was great, lots telling me I was 2nd and making it look easy, looking strong etc. No one was telling me how far ahead 1 was which was what I really wanted to know.  At 19 miles someone from running club had a bottle of water for me, he told me 1 was about 5 min ahead. I thought there was no way I was going to catch unless she hit a massive wall.

Took a 2nd gel at 21 miles, still feeling good, wondering if this could possibly last until the end??? Was regularly passing men ( only one passed me in the last hour or so) and continued to get lots of crowd support but no one saying - 1st lady is flagging you can catch her or anything like that so I continued to run strong but didn't push myself. I had another gear I could use if 3rd caught me up but since a PB was not going to happen and a course best was more or less guaranteed there was no real need.

With a couple of miles to go I took half a gel as I knew the last mile was a nasty uphill and thought a bit of a boost would help. Didn't want a whole one as it hadn't been long since the last one and was a bit worried about my bowels. The last couple of miles involve a lot of twisting and turning and uphill through the shopping centre. I found underfoot was quite slippy with the wet so eased off a bit for fear of falling over. I remember the last mile being a horrid uphill all the way but it didn't seen too bad this time, maybe because I wasn't as spent as in previous years??

Managed to finish with a sprint, not just in my mind but my Garmin tells me it was too!
3.15.46 2nd lady.  Made if it into the Leicester mercury (above). Got a bottle of something which I am sure Phil will enjoy, a trophy and a cheque is in the post 😃

Am very happy with the way I ran the race, I felt fairly comfortable throughout. Pacing was quite good -At halfway average was 7.23mm at the end 7.25mm so just a 1 min positive split which is OK considering the first few miles are down and the last few up.

The shoes were great, despite starting with damp feet and finishing soaked I had no blisters.  I think these will continue to be my marathon shoe although for ultras I will need more cushioning.  May stretch these to 50km.

I suppose I am a little disappointed that I didn't get a PB as many months ago that was my goal although it was probably a bit much to ask considering my lack of speed work.

On a positive note I feel fairly confident of a PB next month on the track - it will be totally flat; I will not have shoe lace or train problems and will be a bit more tapered ( taper for Leicester was one rest day but extra miles on Tuesday accidentally).

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