I went into this race feeling fantastic – I felt strong, well trained, well rested and ready to get a PB. Unfortunately, the reality ended up being something completely different. Here’s why (I think)…
Mistake No 1
I didn’t take enough care of myself the day before. Throughout Saturday I scoffed crisps and chocolate in between doing housework and running errands instead of resting. Although I had a lovely Spag Bol at Alma’s (cooked by her hubby – it was delicious) the damage was already done. Then I sat up reading as I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, so ended up with about 5 hours sleep – my fault entirely.
Fix for London – Do bugger all the day before. Press gang hubby into role as skivvy and general dogsbody, eat lots of green stuff and fruit.
Mistake No 2
I only went to the loo once before the race, so I spent 6 miles needing to go. Unlike those lucky boys who can just run off somewhere and go (yes Madebyelves I’m talking about you) I had to queue for 4 minutes to use a portaloo at the start of mile 6, and because I didn’t want it t affect our time I sped up and mile 7 was completed in a very speedy 11.05m.
Fix for London – Squeeze lots out on the coach, then at the start get in the toilet qs and stay there until the off.
Mistake No 3
6 of my 1st 8 miles were under 11m 30 pace – this is a bit quick for me for a long run. Not only that but (despite when anyone else thinks) I found the undulating nature of miles 2 – 7 very draining on my legs. They weren’t obvious hills and to a seasoned runner they probably weren’t hills at all, but to me they were the worst kind – the sort of hill that you can’t power up and get over and done with because they go on too long.
Fix for London – Oh hell, I’m going to have to introduce a hill session into my week aren’t I? And work on my pacing…
Mistake No 4
I gave up on myself. Really, really gave up. At just after mile 9 I told Alma I was struggling and said she should go on – something in my voice must have struck home because thankfully she did and went on to get (what I think was) a PB of 2hr 29m. I forgot all of my mind tricks – the positive mantra, the happy feeling scenarios, reflecting on my past successes, and just went down into a very negative headspace. Just before mile 11 an apparition appeared before me in the form of Abradypus who had ‘popped over’ from Hove to cheer us on. I am embarrassed to say that I was walking when she saw me and I continued to walk for a good 2 or 3 minutes until she finally said, why don’t you just give it a go when you get to the 11m marker. So I did, and I could hear her clapping me all the way until I hit the main road again (thanks Louise x). My mum and her partner had come down from Essex to watch me and I knew they were somewhere around mile 12 so I carried on running as I didn’t want them to see me walking, seeing as they had travelled so far to support me. As it happened, they were only 100m from the end, so I ended up running the last 2 and a half miles, albeit slowly. I stopped for a Mum hug on the way (there is nothing quite like them even at 37), I really could have stopped right then and only her shouting at me to get on and finish it got me going again. At the finish line, I started sobbing (I was disappointed and very tired) and struggled to catch by breath for a few minutes. Alma stayed with me and was really great.
Fix for London – Reread all the mental training material in my guide. And make sure my Mum and Alma are within the last 100m at the Marathon.
So my adjusted chip time (after taking off the extra .32m the organisers kindly added to make this my longest run ever yippee!) was 2.37.32 and if you subtract the 4 minutes I spent in the toilet Q, it gives me a PB by 1 second. I know it’s not much but if I could have got a PB despite having what I thought was a terrible run, there is hope for me yet.
In summary, 13.5m long run done in 2hr 37m, training plan on track – whoop whoop!