Sunday, April 09, 2017

Brighton Marathon 2017

Brighton, England. Sunday 09-April-2017.

I thought "How hard can it be to run a marathon. Tens of thousands of people do it every year. I could do that!" Mary wisely counselled to try running a half marathon and see how that goes. Last year's Royal Parks Half Marathon was a training run for this full marathon. I couldn't get into the London Marathon so Brighton was plan B.

Well I crossed the finish line. Ran 22 miles. Ran out of steam. Had a 50 min rest until St John's Ambulance finally got back to me to give me the all clear. Walked the last 4.2 miles with a final jog over the finish line. Time immaterial, I finished.

My splits were consistent. I was with the pace runner up to 30km. Not sure was caused the problem but being hottest day of the year didn't help - much hotter than predicted even that morning. To say I'm disappointed doesn't cover it. But not *bitterly* disappointed. I did the training - 35 runs, 416km (256 miles). I had a plan. Just didn't go to plan. Thank you to everyone who sponsored me so generously. Running total: £1,391.00 Total raised incl. Gift Aid:£1,727.50

So when the final Brighton Marathon results came out I was 6888 out of 7757 male runners; 116 out of 145 in the 60-64 category. Total time 5:45:39 made up of 3:45 running, 0:50 sitting and 1:10 walking.

I have learned that I have a real problem accepting praise which I don't feel I deserve but I have to ask myself, "Did I give it my best shot?" The answer has to be "Yes". I did the training. I ran till I was spent. I was literally staggering all over the track with exhaustion or dehydration.

The full story...

Training for the half I got bored running round and round and round Wandsworth Common so I used the Wandle Trail, out-and-back, as my training route getting longer and longer each run. My longest run in training was 30km which took me all the way to Beddington Park and back.

The optimistic prediction for crossing the finish line was twice my half marathon time, so 4:30. I followed the training plan pretty much: a total of 35 training runs totalling 416 km. Plotted in Excel, best fit graph, and revised my expected time upwards to 4:40. Vectored in on that time using three different calculations I was feeling confident it was achievable.

The plan was simple:

  • Pasta meal the night before
  • Go with the 4:30 pace runner
  • Drink water little and often
  • Fade a little towards the end and hit 4:40

Found the 4:30 pace runner:

At the Half Marathon mark it was all on track, here is me in the blue baseball cap just a few metres behind Mr 4:30.

Then it all went pear-shaped. What I hadn't counted on was:
  • it was the hottest day of the year - much hotter than predicted
  • I found it impossible to drink from paper cups whilst running - and I didn't want to stop otherwise I'd lose sight of the pace runner
  • I should have carried my own water supply
As a result I didn't take on enough water and at the 22 mile mark my body had had enough. Apparently I was staggering all over the track. Two fellow runners asked if I was OK, the second of them steered me into the arms of the St John's Ambulance volunteers.

After being checked over, I had to sit for nearly an hour till they gave me the all clear to carry on. It shouldn't have taken so long but the heat had taken out so many other runners whose needs were greater that I was triaged to the bottom of the queue. Eventually I set off at a gentle walk but determined to cross the finish line.

On the walk section, every now and then, I tried to run, took three steps and just couldn't do it. The tank was empty. You can see the second heart rate spike as I jogged over the line.

I was stationary so long the Garmin auto-paused and finished the activity so I know how long the run part was.

As an aside I had a DNA test recently which, amongst other findings, informed me that I have the genes of a world-class endurance athlete.

Shame I don't have the body to go with it!

No comments: