London, United Kingdom
And so the marathon happened. With a week gone I think I can talk it through. Short version, a bad day, and I’m blaming the three missed long runs, and my settling in to plodding slowly and gradually slowing through my long runs at altitude. That seemed to train me to do exactly that in a long run, so I slowed from mile 18 or so, before having a walk or two during the 20s.
Arguably I’d also gone off too quickly, though I felt as though I was following last year’s plan of running to how I felt. Doing so from the good for age start made for a much quicker first mile than 2012, which may not have helped. Miles 1-3 were okay, but mile 4 slowed to over 7 minutes for the same effort and at that point I knew I should have felt stronger. I’m sure I had another tower bridge surge, but it was short lived, as at mile 14 I pulled off for a wee and thoroughly enjoyed standing still in the cubicle. So went my mental focus, and everything from there was a struggle.
Halfway in 1:33, 4 mins slower than 2012, and slowing within a few miles made for a big positive split, redeemed only by the crowds, music and the end. I’d seen the 2:59 and 3:15 pacers slide off, and the 3:30 came past with a km to go. I let them go for a few hundred metres, then finally had a talk to myself. Right. 800m to go, can I get under 3:30? I was on for 3:32 or more at that point, but found I had legs that were happy to go and I raced the final half mile in 3:30 or so. Which suggests I had more if I’d knuckled down, but what the hoo.
Meeting in the Red Lion afterwards was a pleasure, as was my usual two meal special in Wetherspoons later. My time (from last year) allows me entry via the good for age start again next year, and London now feels like unfinished business. A year with plenty of hard track sessions would make a big difference, though whether I’ll get them in is debatable. But I expect to be back next year.