Sunday 28 November 2010

My Debut Marathon - La Rochelle

The big day has arrived! Up at 6.15am and feeling nervous and excited. Looked out the window and it looked like it was snowing but actually it was sleeting and thankfully no snow on the ground!

7.45 and an easy jog - felt slightly milder out than yesterday so changed my mind on wearing a t.shirt under my vest top.

5 mins before the race start and I'm at the start line - I'm in the elite women's start! Now feeling really happy and looking forward to running!

9am and the gun goes! I'm near the front and count 6 girls and 1 man in front of me (our start was all women and men over 50 with elite women and a few men at the front - there was a separate start line for all men under 50). I'm running alongside another girl and it feels like I'm jogging. After 1k I look at my watch - a touch quicker than I planned - oops! I keep at this pace with the other girl and at 2k look again - still too quick so I back off a bit. Any faster at this point will mean a lot of pain later! The other girl encourages me to stay with her but for all I know she might be aiming for around 2hrs 30 so I back off.

After 3 or 4k we join up with the men from the other start and I get into a nice group of about 15 men and this really helps to pull me along. My splits are still looking quicker than I planned by around 10-15s per km but it feels so easy! Around 10k it starts to rain a bit and the course took us down a road with quite a lot of puddles. About 1k later my thighs started to feel really cold. Just before halfway my thighs started to hurt. I've done a few half marathons before and never had this pain. I just decided that I can't expect to run a marathon and not feel any pain so I tried my best to ignore it. I went through half marathon in 1hr 20.30. This is around my half marathon pb! It felt so easy. My legs were hurting but everything else was feeling great. I wasn't tired, my breathing wasn't heavy and I was enjoying myself!!

Just after 21k the group of men sped up and I decided to run my own race and stay at the pace I was at which was still much faster than I'd planned.

At 28k my legs were killing me and I was aware that my splits were getting slower. I just kept pushing 1k at a time. I really badly wanted to stop and massage my legs to warm them up but knew that if I did this there was a good chance I might not be able to start running again.

For the last few kms quite a few men came past me - all with encouragement. I tried so hard to pick up the pace for the last km and was so relieved to finally see the towers and then the finish line. I was so happy to get there and really surprised as I looked up at the clock as I crossed the line and saw my time - 2 hrs 51.30. I really thought I'd faded to about 2hrs 58! As soon as I stopped my legs wanted to give way and 2 officials had to hold me up! I was looking everywhere for Dan, Dave and Cathy and finally saw them. I was so happy and by the looks of it so were they!

Later today as I write this blog so many thoughts are going through my head. I am really pleased with how I did today. My aim was for a sub 3hr and I have easily achieved this. My training has indicated that I would run just under 2hr 50 and if you look at my splits it will look like I started off too fast and died. I honestly think that if I had started of at 4mins per km pace as planned that I still would have lost 10 mins in the 2nd half due to cold legs cramping up and probably would have finished with a time just under 3hrs or even just over so I don't think I started off too fast. But I am now thinking that if I hadn't been so cold on my thighs I could have gone under 2hrs 45 which would have been amazing.

At the start of the race a girl went ahead of me wearing 3/4 length tights and I thought that was a bit silly but I now think that that is exactly what I should have been wearing! I'm sure my legs wouldn't have cramped up if I had been. Its all a learning experience and next time I will know to plan for all weather conditions!

Marathon de La Rochelle was a fantastic event - well organised, lots of support and flat!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

10 days to go!

The good news is I've so far managed to avoid Dan's illness and now he has gone away with work for a few days and hopefully he will be completely over it by the time he gets back!

The bad news is a funny tummy since the weekend and was actually sick yesterday! I'm thinking its either a dodgy Nandos that I ate on Saturday night or possibly too much vit C! I have overdone the vit C a bit in my paranoia to not catch Dan's flu. Anyway, after being sick I now feel a lot better. A few days training missed but doesn't matter now as all my hard work is done and I've started tapering now.

My training has all gone to plan and gone really well. Everything is on course and I should be able to achieve my goal of sub 3 hours. My training has been indicating that I can get under 2hrs 50 but I think with this being my first attempt I shouldn't get too carried away as there will be other races in the future to do this!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

3 weeks to go!

I have less than 3 weeks to go and Dan is now ill with serious man flu. I keep thinking if I get a cold now I can probably get rid of it in time but then how much will it take out of me for running a marathon? I could maybe get away with it for a 10k but not so sure about 26 miles! I'm dosing up on lots of vit C and echinacea. He has also been banished to the front room!

Why now? He never gets ill.