Saturday 5 December 2015

La Rochelle Marathon

I arrived in La Rochelle on Thursday morning so a couple of days to relax before the big race on Sunday.  Weather was quite mild and hardly any wind but a quick look at the forecast and it looked like the wind would be picking up on Saturday and Sunday.  Not what I want at all.  Rain or even snow I can cope with but strong winds and the prospects of running a fast time are not likely.

Race day morning comes around quickly and I awake early and its still dark out!  I head out for a very slow warm up jog at 8am and it is quite windy!  I meet up with my coach before the race and along with Dan he gives me some reassurance that I'm in good shape and to run a tactical race due to the weather.

I'm quite nervous (although apparently I seemed relaxed)!  The main reason I'm nervous is that my achilles is still not 100% right.  It flared up about 5 weeks ago but luckily settled quickly although I'm always aware of it niggling at me.  More than anything I don't want to be dropping out of this race with an injury.  

The race starts and I haven't started right on the line.  There are several girls ahead of me but I use this to my advantage.  2 Ethiopian girls go off and then I gradually overtake the other girls in the first kilometre.  I think I'm in 3rd place but not 100% sure.  At 3.3k we join up with the men from the other start line.  I luckily find myself in quite a big group which is just what I was hoping for.  I'm feeling good and at the moment time checking every kilometre just to make sure and all is good!  We get to 10k slightly ahead of my target (but only but about 10s) and I'm still with the group.  I see Dan here who shouts out that I am in 3rd.  I can't quite believe it because if I can hold this position this will be my best ever finish here - there's along way to go though so mustn't get ahead of myself.

I get to half way with the same group of men but we've slightly lost some time.  Now I'm slightly over my target time by about 20s.  This is fine though.  I think the wind was probably taking its toll on the guys leading the group.  By the time we got to 30k the wind had picked up quite a lot and then we had a short downfall of torrential rain - luckily not for long though.  By now the group had started to disintegrate.  I was running with a couple of guys but had no group to hide behind now.  

I got to around 34k when a spectator shouted out that I was catching up to 2nd place!  This came as a big surprise to me!  At this point I then had a young lad running with me (I think he was probably running the 2nd leg of the duo) and he saw her and pointed and got me to run behind him and lead me to catch her up.  I caught her at 35k and was on such a high.  I took my final gel at 36k and then picked the pace up.  I dropped my helper (which was disappointing) and just spent the last 6k running with a big smile on my face.  

It was such a good feeling turning that final bend into the straight being in 2nd place.  I'm so happy with where I finished and it was beyond my dreams to finish in 2nd here.  I am disappointed with my time as it was 50s slower than my pb when I was hoping to knock several minutes off my pb.  Finishing 2nd was a good consolation though.  

I spent the next day thinking over about how I might have run it better but I honestly can't think of how I could have.  Apparently, the group I was with was the best place to be as further ahead there were just 1s and 2s of people.  Tactically I ran it right and there is nothing more I could have done so I'm happy with that!

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