Thursday 28 November 2013

Marathon De La Rochelle 2013

Arrived in La Rochelle on Friday evening after almost not making it!  First of all a train crashes into the barriers at Chester Station the day before (luckily no one hurt) and I was worried this would affect our London bound train but luckily the service was running as normal.  Then as we arrive at Milton Keynes it is announced that due to a fatality on the line we will be delayed but they don't know how long for.  A quick decision needed - stay on the train or jump off and try our luck with getting a cab into St Pancras to catch the  Eurostar.  Decided that waiting wasn't an option!  We hit luck as we were finding a taxi someone advised us that the best thing to do would be getting to Bedford station (30 mins away) then a train from there straight to St Pancras.  In the end we got to the Eurostar with just 10 mins to spare!  It turns out that our train got sent back to Chester!

A relaxed night and following day at the hotel courtesy of the race organisers (a big thank you). Met up with my coach and his wife for some dinner then an early night before the big day.

Race morning and its cold, dark and quite windy out!  Windy weather is always what I dread when going for a time in a race as I always feel this affects time the most.  Nothing I can do about it and just hope I can tuck in behind some men when I hit the windy bits.  

I'm feeling relaxed (well as relaxed as I can get which is still quite tense).  The nerve feeling I had in my leg disappeared by Wednesday.  Possibly from lots of physio and also a good massage from Peer on Tuesday.  I'm still nervous about getting injured but I guess this is normal after what happened at London.

As the race starts I find myself with the 3 Ethiopian girls.  We are running so slow though so I'm not worried I've started off too fast.  Hit the first 1k spot on.  Stay with them for another 1k which is just a few secs quicker then they seem to gradually start picking it up so I leave them to it!  A girl from Slovakia seemed to go with them so I find myself in 5th which I'm happy with.  At 3k we join up with the men and I get into a small group.  A guy starts to chat to me about what time I'm aiming for at half way which is fine but I start to worry that I'm wasting energy so try to drop back a bit.  

Half way in 82 mins.  I had hoped for about 81 but I'm happy with this as I'm feeling really comfortable and no pains anywhere.  I get to 27km and all good and feeling happy as this is where it all went wrong in London.  

At about 30km there is a group of about 5 guys 10m ahead not pulling away so I make a decision to put a little effort in to get on the back of them.  I was starting to feel it a bit but when I got amongst them my running started feeling easier.  I was really comfortable and keeping a check on my km splits and it was all looking good.  I stayed with them but by 35k the pace was starting to get a bit quicker.  I'm now going about 5-6s per km quicker than my target and I started to worry that it was too soon and I might die a death and lose several minutes if I mess this up.  I was feeling good though but know that I've died in the last 5-10km in the past.  This was the only mistake I made in the race.  Shortly after I let them go we turned a corner and it was straight into the wind for about 5k!  

I can't actually believe how strong I felt in the last few kms of the race.  Turning the final corner with about 50m to go I saw the clock and it said 2hr 44.58.  Gutted!  I really was aiming for a sub 2hr 45.  I finished in 2hr 45.11 and although I'm really pleased as it was a pb by over 4 mins I was cursing those 12 seconds!!  I'd held onto my 5th place though and it turned out I was only 2 mins 30 behind 4th with first being about 7 mins ahead!  

This puts me at 20th on the Power of 10 rankings which is ok but I really wanted to be in the top 15.  I think on a better day with less or no wind it would have made a 2 min difference.  But hey ho nothing you can do about the weather!  A nice break now with a holiday then a big focus towards London where there could be a sub 2hr 40!!

Big thanks yous to Gary at Pro Physio for sorting my foot out from my London injury then putting up with my panics in the 2 weeks before.  Thanks to Peer for my regular massages and thanks to the organisers for a great event.  

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