Thursday, 19 March 2015

Groundhog track marathon and Wrexham marathon

It's been just over 2 years since I did 2 marathons on the same weekend although I have done quite a few training weekends lately of 20+ miles both Saturday and Sunday.  In the past I have tended to run easy if doing two but this time was different as Saturday was a track marathon so I wanted to run that quite hard.

I didn't taper for this but I did have a rest day on Friday and cut caffeine for a week which is what I tend to do for races which are a bit more than training runs.   If they are serious full out effort races then I will have a bit more of a taper and would not run a 38 mile ultra the previous weekend!

I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday as I have taken some time to recovery from last years 24 hour race and my pace on speed sessions has been off so I was just going to go by effort rather than worry about pace but I hoped to come in under 3.30.

I had woken several times in the night (normal before a marathon) feeling sick (not normal).  When I woke in the morning I had to dash to the bathroom a couple of times - cue request on face book for some emergency immodium - thanks Jo!

I set off at what felt fairly comfortable and about right.  I was pretty sure that I would not hold this though as it was at the fast end of where I thought I was and in the back of my mind I knew I had another marathon to run tomorrow so was not going to be digging really deep at the end to hold the pace (although had I been on for a PB - which I wasn't - that would have been a different matter).

I love track races as the are so much more sociable and you get to see people you wouldn't normally see because they are either way ahead or behind.  I also like that you don't need to carry anything and are never far from water/food/toilets.

So the first 5 or so miles were nice and consistent then my shoe lace came undone!!! After that I gradually slowed.  Not sure if this was a coincidence or I got out of my stride.  A similar thing has happened at other races recently where I have stopped at a check point then once I got going again was slower.    On the track the garmin always measures a bit long so I knew I needed to allow for that.  As my pace was slowing I just tried to focus on keeping the garmin pace below 8mm until halfway as then I might have a chance of sub 3.30 if I didn't fade too much.   Mile 14 was 7.59mm then after that everything else was 8+!

The marathon is 105.5 laps.  We were occasionally being told how many we had done.  I was told at 50 so counted up to half way to see what my time was and also the garmin distance.  I cant remember what it was but remember thinking that 3.30 was maybe still on and that my new garmin was not measuring as long as my old one.   Anyway, it turned out that they were telling us the laps in a different way to normal - 50 meant 49.5 not 50.5 - I worked this out when someone was told they had done 100 laps and had 6 to go!

Not long after halfway I knew from my lap times that I had dropped off a lot and was not going to get sub 3.30 so think I gave up trying a bit and settled into a comfortably hard pace rather than pushing it pace.  I had not taken my first gel until 14 miles as my stomach has been feeling a bit off so that may have hindered me a little. The wind had also picked up a lot which made it much harder going. 

Finished in 3.34.01.   1st lady - won a nice salomon belt.

I have not been using my HRM long so it was interesting to see that I did run quite well to effort - my HR stayed pretty much the same throughout.  Av was 169.

Showered then stayed around for a while to see others finish before driving an hour to Wrexham ready for Sundays marathon.  This was a new event sponsored by 9bar so it would have been rude not to take part! I was not sure what to expect after running quite hard the day before but luckily when I woke up my legs felt OK although I fully expected them to feel tired/heavy once I started running.

There were about 200 running the marathon and I think 800 doing the half which started 1.30 hours later. The two joined at around 17 miles.  I had decided to just set off and see how I feel with no real time targets in mind although I did hope to sneak under 4 hours! My normal marathon shoes are gorun3.  I thought I probably ought to have more cushioning on day 2 so was going to wear my rides instead but then went back to the gorun3 as I feel faster in those and that makes a difference!

I was a bit surprised by the pace of the first mile but more surprised by the fact that my legs felt normal and that my quads did not hurt on the downhill.  I put the fast first mile down to it being a net downhill.  However the following miles were all hovering around 8mm which was somewhat surprising.  Another runner said he had looked at the course profile and it was mainly downhill for the first 17 miles.  I find it hard to work out on hilly courses whether I have had more up or down at any point in time so I just figured there must have been a lot more down.

I spent the first 4-5 miles expecting my legs to say no and suddenly slow down at any moment.  I realised that what my head was saying was probably not going to help so I decided that I needed to forget about yesterday and just run today as if it were a stand alone marathon without worrying about the consequences of what might or might not happen in a few miles!

It had started drizzling early on and it was quite windy I places.  By about mile 16 I was quite cold and was finding it hard to move forward as fast as I wanted to as I was so cold.  My pace dropped off a fair bit here, maybe the cold, maybe it would have done anyway. 

At around mile 17 I started overtaking the back of the half marathon.  Whilst it was nice that there were more people around now it made it quite tricky as in places we were running on the pavement.   A lot of the half runners were running two abreast or wearing headphones (which were banned) and were running significantly slower than me so I kept getting held up and frustrated especially by those I said 'excuse me' to but they didn't hear due to headphones.

With a couple of miles to go I was feeling low on energy and wanted fuel.  I tried to get some coconut mushrooms out the front pocket of my belt but couldn't get hold of them and thought other things would end up on the road.  Then I tried to get a gel from the back pocket but all I could get hold of was a powerbar which was no good with 2 miles to go as I needed the sugar in my system now.  My phone was in the same pocket as my gel so I didn't want to mess around fumbling too long as I didn't want that falling out! This has never been a problem before but my hands were so cold.  In the end I just had to make do with high5!

Was very pleased to finish in 3.35.47 5th lady 1st V40  so won a nice technical t shirt (which was the same as the cotton one we got on finishing) and a box of 9bars.  Despite  the course being hilly and harder than Saturday my HR was lower at 163 which is a bit odd!!

The course was OK, nothing soecial.  There were quite a few out and backs or little loops where you could see the people ahead/behind you.  I like that as you can look out for friends.  I would probably do it again but would hope that for next year they adjust the starting time of the half marathon so there is less congestion. 

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