Sunday, April 22, 2012

Virgin Money London Marathon 2012

After running 3hrs 14mins at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2010, I gained an automatic “Good for Age” place for 2012 London Marathon. This would be my 10th Marathon but my first ever London Marathon. I was stoked!

When training for my previous marathon races, I never followed a structured training programme before. I’ve normally fitted my runs into my daily routines, deciding on the day how far to run and they normally always ended up as tempo runs. So I decided that this would be a good time to follow a training plan to see what difference it makes on race day.

I found a suitable training plan that involved running 6 days per week and included the whole spectrum of training runs including intervals, hills, fartlek, tempo and long runs. Much more mileage than ever before. I committed to following this plan no matter what!

After 15 weeks of hard training, I was in great shape and hopeful for a time under 3hrs 10mins, beating my current PB of 3hrs 12mins. Then a few days before the race I managed to catch a bug. I spent 3 days and nights with flu like symptoms: feverish, aching and headaches. However, with 3 days to go before the race, I recovered and felt good enough to run. Fingers crossed!

Race Expo with Zoe
Lining up on the green start line in near perfect race conditions, I was feeling pretty good. The atmosphere was electric and then we were off. I noticed pretty quickly that my legs weren’t feeling very lively but put this down to my lack of running in the week leading up to the race. They would feel better after a few miles I thought. However, by mile 10 my legs were still lifeless and heavy. I was starting to struggle. I crossed the halfway mark in 1hr 37mins, slightly down on my target but I could pull it back in the second half if only my legs finally let me run!

I soon started to slow, my energy draining away. Any chance of a PB was gone and now it was all about trying to enjoy the atmosphere and just getting to the finish . The support out on the course was simply amazing and I thank all those wonderful people that encouraged me to keep going when it was obvious I was struggling.

By mile 19 I had nothing left and ended up walking, running, walking, and running. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be, having run over 500 miles in training. Guess that’s marathon running. You win some, you lose some! I had lost big time! The last 7 miles of the race were not much fun but I got to the finish in 3hrs 38mins. 30 minutes slower than I was hoping for.

Note to self, buy a surgical mask to wear when flying on an aircraft a week before a big race. I will have to do this one again next year as I want to enjoy such a fantastic race event without feeling like pants the whole way round. London Marathon...... I’ll be back!

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