Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Big Day

This is what my preparation looked like....

I was quite worried about the weather prospects for the day of the race as all week I have had concerned people saying it was looking like it would be sunny and warm for race day. I tried to avoid any hint of a forecast myself as there would be no difference in preparation and only risk of increased nerves. As it turned out, the morning of the race was grey and reasonably cool and there was some rain for 20 minutes or so before the start. Thanks to my trusty bin bag I managed to stay reasonably dry and warm and lined up in Pen 4 in time for the start. I seemed to be much closer to the big gates in the park than in previous years and there did not appear to the same sense of excitement amongst the runners. I took only a couple of minutes to cross the line and was very soon into easy running. The roads were a little slick with rain but it did not cause too many problems.

Sadly, most of the race is just one big blur of crowd and noise. I remember turning round to look back up the one big hill in the race (somewhere in the first few miles) and seeing thousands of runners poring down the roads. There was the customary booing as the three starts merged into one race. I saw a few characters on the way round. For a mile or two i was running next to a chap dressed in his university cap and gown and a little later ran for 30 minutes or so next to Superman and a man dressed as a baby. I was conscious that I was running ahead of schedule (around 8 minute miles rather than 8.10) but I think the very flat course had me simply bowling along at my usual pace but without being hindered by hills. I reached Tower Bridge in around 1.44 and was a little worried I was pushing too much. I began to feel the running in my legs at around 16 miles, which seemed to early but I managed to talk myself through it and got to 20 miles still feeling OK, but trying to steady myself pace-wise as I did not want to blow up. As it turned out, I was to run (almost) my quickest mile at mile 19 and probably began to pay for that by starting to run out of steam. Some of the pace in that lap was no doubt caused by looking for the Dogs Trust team by the roadside and sprinting towards them screaming my head off and trying to get them shouting encouragement. The miles seemed, however, to flow past and the race was going incredibly quickly. Mile 23 seemed to be on me before I knew it and I began to really work hard mentally to keep going. I began to tire considerably at mile 24 and the wheels really started to come loose at 25 miles, but by this time I was so excited about my time that I knew I just had to keep rolling along at 10 mins per mile and I would smash my PB. Somhow, the adrenalin and excitement must have really kicked in and a few deep breaths saw me clock 7.17 for that mile. I can obnly assume that the speed of it was what made me feel so bad, but also incredibly proud to have that time for mile 25. I really began to choke up as I approached The Mall and could not summon a sprint for the line.

I had a dizzy spell and acute shortness of breath at the finish and had to stop and steady myself. I was also getting signs of cramp in my calves. A couple of chewy sweets and some stretching sorted that out and I managed to get dressed and find my way out of the finishing area. I was just looking at the daunting set of steps out to Pall Mall when I saw Lynne and Will waiting to meet me. We walked the few hundred yards to the IOD and up to the Dogs Trust room where I was amazed to see that I was the first of their runners home. As it turned out, I had the second fastest time as the first chap had simply taken longer to make his way up from the finish. A very welcome, but painful, massage sorted out my cramping legs and after an hour of chat we headed for home and a day of rest.

For the record, the race went as follows:

Mile 1: 8.28
Mile 2: 7.55
Mile 3: 7.51
Mile 4: 7.52
Mile 5: 8.21 (not sure why that was slow, possibly crowds round Cutty Sark)
Mile 6: 8.00
Mile 7: 8.05
Mile 8: 7.55
Mile 9: 8.04
Mile 10: 8.05
Mile 11: 7.59
Mile 12: 7.57
Mile 13: 7.57
Mile 14: 8.00
Mile 15: 8.02
Mile 16: 7.43
Mile 17: 8.19 (again, crowds if i remember correctly)
Mile 18: 8.11
Mile 19: 7.18 (I don't remember having a fast mile here but it could simply have been a downhill stretch)
Mile 20: 8.18
Mile 21: 8.47
Mile 22: 9.00
Mile 23: 9.09
Mile 24: 9.23
Mile 25: 7.17
Mile 26: 9.19
Final bit: 1.53

Thank god that's over. 3 hours 35 minutes 20 seconds.

And this is what it was all for....

....and, of course, the fundraising...I promised I would donate £1 to Dogs Trust for every "Come on Matt" i heard on the way round and now owe them £171! It's all worth it and my fundraising total now stands at £2337 this morning. Another PB!


A final loose slow 6 miles home from work to complete the training. I may run on Friday or I may not.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Final preparation

Friday: just a gentle 5 miles on the treadmill. Slow and easy.

Sunday: Well, after a walk and 40 minutes of swimming in the afternoon (just fun) I decided to go for 7 miles and ended up running it strongly as I felt so comfortable with my running and had not had a blast for several weeks. Ended up doing it in 52 minutes at 7.25 per mile. It felt tough but good after weeks of running at 8.10 per mile. Probably not the best tapering I have ever done but it just felt good for the mind to be doing something useful.

Monday: an interval session of only 45 minutes. Just gentle jogging and the registration process to go now.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Two weeks to go

There are now only two weeks to go until the big day. This means "tapering" i reducing the amount of training in order to rest and conserve energy for the big day.

Monday: a weights session. A great way to cheat.

Wedensday: 16 miles in four laps of Hyde Park. I simply could not resist the opportuntiy to get in a final long run. I have always felt that too few long runs have cost me time and energy in my other marathons. I chose to do this in the park as its pretty much the flattest running I do. I did not intend to run quickly and took my iPod as this is usually guaranteed to take my mid off pace and slow me down. In the end, I ran 16.22 miles at an average of 8.10 per mile and kept a fairly even pace. Only the last mile was a little slower than the rest and this was partly a deliberate slackening off.

Another rest day tomorrow.

Monday, 12 April 2010

8 - 11 April

Thursday: 10.5 miles home from work in 8.24 per mile. Unpleasantly warm for a change and felt slighlty tried and out of sorts. This is what I get for talking about feeling great last week.

Friday: 8 miles in Hyde PArk at 7.45 per mile. A sort of nothing run just to get some miles in. Not feeling brilliant but not as bad as last night.

Sunday: 13 miles in a shicking 1hr 48 mins. Fely awaful all the way round, I think as a result of some indigestion after a big lunch. A very uncormfortable run, but I was deliberately holding back and really lost focus in the last couple of miles. I don't think this is a sign of problems, just a bad day at the office.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

6/7 April

Tuesday: a one-hour weights session after a rest day. Feels like cheating these days.

Wednesday: interval session - 15 minutes pulling tyres, 30 minutes treadmill intervals, 15 minutes boxing. Hard and enjoyable.

Sunday, 4 April 2010


Monday: a rest day

Tuesday: weights in the gym

Wednesday: interval session. 15 minutes boxing, 15 minutes pushing the big rubber tyres and 30 minutes on the treadmill. A better session than usual.

Thursday: 8 miles at lunchtime round Hyde Park in around 7.45 pace (data lost)

Sunday: 20 miles in 2.44.14 or 8.12 per mile. This was a really pleasing long run. I ate and drank well on Saturday and Sunday morning and also did two 10-mile loops so as to be able to npick up more fluid at half way. It really helped and the run remained strong right through to the end. I even made a sub 8-min mile at mile 16, the fastest of the whole thing. The only slower miles were for the 2 miles of hills which finished each loop. I am now full of confidence for the race and hope to be able to find 3.40 and maybe even below. That would be a dream.