Yesterday morning we made it to Milton Keynes, we even finally made it into the marathon VIP parking lot after sitting in the traffic jam at its entrance for half an hour. I went to the bathroom, put on sunblock, went to the bathroom again, said good bye to the grumpy husband (see above re traffic jam) and went to the starting area.
Ten minutes later we were off. Right after Paris marathon 4 weeks ago I thought I wasn’t going to wear my Garmin for this marathon (that was right after I thought that I wasn’t going to run it at all) but I did. Running totally naked (i.e. without a gadget) is too hard to do.
I didn’t, however, look at it all the time and just went with how I was feeling. The first 5km were good, I kept running at the pace of 5:22 – 5:36 and in fact when the 3 mile marker came I was totally surprised that 5km had passed already.
Kms 5-10 were good as well, I kept up the pace and was already calculating my finishing time. Big mistake of course as a marathon is one.freaking.long.run.and.then.some.
Kms 10-15 were still good, the sun was shining but I kept drinking from my Camelbak and wasn’t feeling off at all. At around 15km mark the half marathoners kept going while the full marathoners turned around and started a long loop in the ‘countryside’. The path was narrow but the crowd had thinned out so running was nice. The support along the route was great, plenty of kids to high five, lots of jelly babies and water and oranges (none of which I took but I’m sure many found them very helpful). My left upper arm had started to chafe (the problem with having solid arms 🙂 but thankfully a guy was standing at the side of the path with an open tub of Vaseline – I dipped my finger in and was good to go 😀
The route was very scenic but with lots of little hills going over bridges and underpasses. My pace as slowing but not too much, I kept thinking that the main thing was to keep enjoying the thing and not push the pace so much that I’d start thinking black thoughts. No matter what, I did not want to repeat Paris where I hated every step of it.
After 22kms the 4 hour pacer passed me with the large crowd that was following him. I thought for a second that I should keep up with him but after a few kms I let him go. This was not going to be a sub-4 marathon, this was going to be a ‘fun’ one.
And it actually was quite fun. Until 30kms.
Then the heat got to me and I started feeling nauseous. And my legs were saying they really did not appreciate running another marathon just 4 weeks since the last. My pace slowed even more and I was now running slower than 6 min kms.
Twice I walked up hills. And guess what – the world didn’t end. I walked because my aim was not to hate this marathon and not having a time goal meant I did not struggle mentally with the idea of talking walk breaks.
At 35km the marshal said “This is the last hill guys.”
At 36km the marshal there said “Last hill now, it’s all downhill from here.”
From 37kms I ran all the way to the end and even picked up my speed a bit. The finish line was inside a big stadium and we had to run almost all the way around to get to it. That was the best bit of the run of course – the huge stadium, the cheering and the finish line in sight.
I crossed it, turned off my Garmin, smiled, found the Mr and said “Done. Never again.”
Never might not mean never EVER but it definitely means no more marathons for me in 2014 or 2015. I’m not loving that distance – it’s too long to run regularly and be able to test out a strategy, it’s too long to not be affected a lot by whatever the weather is on that day.
I get the same amount of buzz and endorphins from running 10kms or even doing 10min workouts at Crossfit, so after 3 marathons I’m happily taking a break from long distances.
P.S. Official time: 4:10:04