Thursday 1 December 2011

Marathon de la Rochelle 2011

I've returned to La Rochelle to run my second marathon (not including the attempt at London last year)!! Luckily the weather is better - around 12 degrees as opposed to last year being 1 or 2 degrees with sleet and rain during the race!

I have different feelings leading up to the race this year. Last year it was always an unknown and felt very exciting whereas this year I know how it is likely to feel and although I still feel excited there is also more pressure that I'm putting on myself to achieve the time I feel I should be running.

10 mins before the start and I line up at the front with the other elite female runners. The gun goes and although the start feels slow I know from last year that it will be faster than it feels. 3 Ethiopians and French girl are in front and I don't let myself get carried away with them and stick to my own plan. My first km was a touch fast but where I expected it to be. I settle into my pace and the next km is spot on. At 3.3k we join up with the men and I looked for a good group to pull me round. Unfortunately it was really strung out. Last year there were several big groups of men but this year its very different.

All in all the race went quite well. I hit a bad patch around 25k but managed to get my head together. My splits were more even paced than last year although I did lose some time in the 2nd half but not as much as last year. I finished in the same time as last year - 2hr 51 but with an improvement from 8th up to 5th place. I was really happy with my finish position but did feel disappointed with my time. I was really aiming to run sub 2hr 45 but it just wasn't the race for it. Its hard enough if you run a 10k race on your own but doing a marathon on your own is incredibly tough on your head!

My coach, Dave, and his wife, Cathy, were there supporting me and both said I looked loads better in my running than last year but knew after 10k that it wasn't going to be a race to get a time and that there was nothing I could do about that.

The presentation was fantastic. The top 5 finishers for both the men's and women's race were called up on the stage to be presented to. I was more nervous waiting to be called onto the stage than I was before the race!

I do love racing in France and will have to make more of an effort to learn to speak the language better if I'm going to race there again!

Thanks to Dave and Cathy for all your support for the days before and after and thanks to Xena (their cat) for warming my thighs in the days after the race!

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