Better late than never it’s time to relive how it all went on the Dorset coast three weeks ago. I did have a draft post written, but wasn’t happy with it and ended up consigning it to the digital dustbin.
As you might recall if you read my last post things had gone somewhat amiss during my taper, and I came into the race having accepted that I probably wouldn’t go sub-4 as I’d hoped and planned. I actually felt better on race weekend than I had since I’d first picked up my cold/cough three weeks previously, so I decided to set out at what felt like a comfortable pace and see how it developed.
As it turns out what initially felt comfortable was actually my target sub-4 pace, and for 10 miles I rolled along quite nicely in the sunshine enjoying the conditions and the lovely views across the bay, but with a sense of inevitability once I was through 10 miles I just began to feel things getting a little harder than they had been.
I went through halfway in around 1:58, but I knew I didn’t have it in me sustain the pace I had been running at for much longer, so I took a conscious decision to try and slow down to around a 9:30 pace for a few miles and see how that felt. It worked out OK for the stretch up and down the promenade where you run up and down both piers, but once I hit the one big climb on the course at 17 miles it became a real struggle. I got up it OK, albeit slowly, and I was dropping down to 10 minute miles over the top and around the next section of the course.
As we hit the promenade for the final out and back section to Sandbanks I pretty much felt like there was nothing left in the tank and as we hit 21 miles I went into run-walk mode. What also wasn’t helping was the unwelcome reappearance of my old nemesis the upset stomach. It’s been a common theme when the temperature gets warm, and whilst conditions were really nice for running the promenade did act as a suntrap and I could feel my stomach starting to play up from around the 15 mile mark and I felt increasingly nauseous. I couldn’t eat anything else and even drinking water was a struggle.
The last 5 miles weren’t great fun to be honest and I just wanted it to be over. I was still holding out hope I could go sub 4:20, but despite trying to pick it up a little towards the end I ended up crossing the line in 4:22. Slightly more concerning was that I was feeling some pins and needles in my hands which I thought was a sign of dehydration, and then when I tried to drink some water in the finish area afterwards I was almost immediately sick, but fortunately I was able to at least sip some water after that and keep it down.
I felt really disappointed in the immediate aftermath of finishing. I’d known going into the race sub-4 probably wouldn’t happen, but I had hoped that I could at least run the whole thing, and even that didn’t happen. It was frustrating that it all seemed to fall apart right at the end of my training, but after a couple of hours or so I’d gotten over the initial disappointment. Friends on social media rightly pointed out that I’d still finished a marathon, and in a time that a lot of people would still be proud of, so that picked me up, and I ended up belatedly enjoying the beers I’d hoped to have at the finish along with a good meal at the hotel later that evening.
Since then as I’d planned I’ve not done a whole lot of running. I took a complete week off straight after the race, then did a week with three easy 5ks followed by a Parkrun where I picked up the pace a little towards the end, and the legs felt good. I followed that up with a great club run last Wednesday where I pushed the pace with a group who are usually a little faster than me, and did a steady 6 miles yesterday morning.
I won’t do too much this week either, but I am looking forward to our first cross country race of the season on Sunday in Sevenoaks, and then next week I’ll get back into training properly with the aim of getting in a solid block of training in the run-up to Christmas. The after that it’s something like 14 weeks to the Brighton Marathon, and it all begins again!
I didn’t get a place in London, but I still have a chance through our draw for club places, and I’ve just entered the 2019 Great South Run, so my race diary for the next 12 months is already starting to fill up, although I haven’t decided yet how it will look post-Brighton. In the meantime I need to plan out my training up to Christmas, so watch this space.