Tuesday, 24 April 2012

London Marathon

Results | My Splits
Sore legs after my 26 mile jog and 385 yard sprint
My preparations for this year's London Marathon had been slightly unorthodox.

With the arrival of Benjamin in January, I'd done almost no running in Jan and Feb; then crammed in 8 half marathons the month before London; but didn't manage a single road run longer than 13.1 miles. So I knew for sure I would fade in the 2nd half.

Without any long run training, I knew there was no point in taking the race too seriously, so instead I treated it as an easy-osy potter around the streets of London, and put up no resistance as runners drifted past for the first 25 miles.

To avoid calculating the difference between my chip and gun time, I decided to lead the charge off the Red Start, and was only beaten in the initial sprint by somebody dressed as Superman. Once underway, I backed right off and went through the first mile in 6:03, which was no doubt too fast, but it didn't feel quick since I hadn't run all week.

I then maintained an incredibly even pace until Mile 14, going though halfway in 1:24:18, before suddenly getting a stupid stitch which meant I couldn't breathe or run properly for a couple of miles. Eventually the stitch must have gone away, but by that time I'd slowed right down, and couldn't really get back onto the pace, so I just plodded along, still thinking I would run around 2:55.

Anyhow, I must have been too complacent and slowed down more than I'd realised since when I was approaching Mile 25, it suddenly dawned on me that I was in danger of tripping over the 3 hours. I got a nice shout from Amy Pitch just before Parliament Square which galvinised me into making one final push up Birdcage Walk. Since at no point so far had I actually been forcing the pace, I realised I could speed up fairly easily and found myself passing crowds of folk, which suddenly became quite fun.

I didn't want to overcook it and cramp my legs or anything, but when the "400 metres to go" sign came into view I realised my watch said 2:57-something. This felt far too close for comfort, so I chucked away the bag of jelly babies I'd been carrying and gutted myself around the corner, only to remember that there is another corner before you see the finishing gates on The Mall. As I came to this final final corner I could hear the BBC annoucer bellowing something about James Cracknell, but then I saw Superman who had out-sprinted me off the startline, so I nipped past him and put in by far my fastest 200 metres of the race to dive under the gate in 2:58:59.

Mightily relieved.

Mile Splits
You can see from the mile splits that I was pretty comfortable until 14 miles, but then got a stupid stitch in mile 15 that clobbered my pace, and I never really got into it again after that, until pulling out all the stops for the final 400 metres.

3 times before I've averaged 6:40 pace or better, so I still think that in future I can run a 2:50 marathon (average pace needed is 6:30 per mile).

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