Argh! A 6 week break disappeared in no time! Lacking super long distance runs once again but a nice full body massage as a treat after the last one seem to do the trick! That’s definitely going on my marathon training tips list! I was anxious to see if I still had a marathon in me still!
What with work stresses and other pressures I’d not had time to think about a marathon which in a sense is a good thing as there was limited time to panic. My routine was down to a fine art I no longer have to seriously think about my kit, it all gets thrown in the kit brick the day before! Simples.
As the run was down in Deal I’d once again booked an overnight stay in the now ever so familiar Premier Inn. My food I picked up from Asda on the way through; cold pasta for dinner along with some savoury snacks and a Belgium waffle for breakfast with orange juice. I’d even remembered on this occasion a flask for hot water so I had a nice warm tea for when I finished. It was certainly set to be a cold one so something warm at the end would certainly be welcomed.
Arriving in my room I whacked the heating up, laid my kit out for the morning, put a hundred and one things onto charge, relaxed for a hour before finally setting the alarm and drifting off to sleep.
The morning of number 11 was as chilly one as expected so layering up was uber important. It was surreal to think I’d come full circle, now wrapping up again as I’d done in my training this time last year. Warm hat, warm buff and gloves were on. The normal toilet routine and I was pinning my number on. It was great to see familiar faces with Lisa, Jonathan and Kat. The latter two were on more of a challenge that I being there 2nd of 10 marathons in a row! One day maybe… one day!
Setting out with Lisa on the first lap my pace was definitely quicker than planned but I made a conscious effort to slow it down. Keeping in mind I had another 23 miles to go. I knew I could keep at 12 minute miles and come in under the hard 6 hour cut off. But what was strange on this occasion was that slowing down was an effort. Slowing to 10 minute miles to 11 was proving difficult.
Come lap 3 the little warmth of the sun that was out had disappeared behind the clouds. Luckily the head wind is experienced on St George’s day was practically non existent albeit a side wind on the way out which made the return journey a tad more bearable. I must admit at the end of lap 3 I was feeling it. Stocking up at the aid station helped but I made sure I didn’t hang around too long, conscious of getting cold and as always the pressure of time that i manage to put in myself. Keep moving was my motto. And keeping running regardless of pace I knew that it would be quicker than running!
I was still struggling to slow my pace. With each glance I had to slow, 10.30 minute miles was going to knacker me. I had words with myself on several occasions.
Come the 5th lap I was in a better place. It always is with the final lap as I keep reminding myself it’s the last time I’ll pass each landmark so mentally it’s a lot easier. Physically it’s a slightly different story of course. I’d been calculating the time to complete each lap and it dawned on me that if I just kept going I’d break the magic 5 hour mark. So I did. I dug in and mustered every last ounce of energy I had left, granted I wasn’t going super fast but I just had to continue with a steady momentum.
I always prefer the last lap, who wouldn’t? It the last time of passing every marker along the route. The final slog of the home straight seemed to go on for an exceedingly long length of time. But as i made the very last corner, I could make out the small crowd at the end. Glancing at my watch one final time, it was as clear as day that I’d break 5 hours by more than several minutes. As I crossed the line I was truly elated. I flung my hands in the air, “I’ve pd’d, wahoo”! With the best congratulations hug from Traviss and Rachel I was presented with marathon medal number 11!
11 down and 1 to go! Who’d have thought I’d get this far. The end is in sight!
Also published on Medium.