Monday, April 27, 2009

Flora London Marathon 09

I arrived into London on Friday evening and shortly after booking into my hotel I started my carbo loading routine with a Pasta & Pizza meal before having an early night.  Remembering how busy the Marathon expo was last year I decided it best to head out to collect my race number and timing chip early on Saturday rather than rushing later on in the day.  Met up with Steven Seaton at the Runner's World stand and chatted for a bit before I did my numerous laps checking out all the stands at least twice which is one of my favourite things about Marathon running.

After an hour or so at the expo I headed back to my hotel via Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory where at last I finally had my chance to stand on the Prime Meridian.  This has been one of my things to do since I stood at the geographic North Pole and the point where all the earths lines of longitude meet so that's another job done.

Race Day can be quite busy and because the Pacing team were meeting quite early my day started at 6am to allow for breakfast in my room, a quick shower and time to check out of the hotel before heading for the first train to Greenwich at 7am.  Met as planned with the Pacing team at 8:30am and following a quick chat we were assigned to our starting areas and I then made my way over to the Blue Start and Pen 3 at Blackheath.  

With this pace and distance I can manage with a minimum amount of fluid and my pre race plan was to drink only a mouthful of Lucozade at each aid station spaced 5K apart to keep my carbohydrate stores topped up and not bother with the water at the 1 mile intervals but that plan was based on the original weather forecast which mentioned clouds and showers.  The day couldn't have been more different and as I made my way to the start line I was thinking on my feet and the original plan changed.

The day was a lot hotter than I expected and this is when experience pays off as I knew in advance how much fluid I would need based on the air temperature and after meeting a few of the runners that would be using my services I assigned one to supply me with Lucozade Sport at every aid station and another to get my water if required. 

The first mile was to be our slowest at 8:33 min pace and over the next 5-6 miles I made up the lost seconds by running at times of between 7:50 - 8min with the occasional slower mile of no more than 10 seconds over.  After the half way mark we had established a good steady pace following the race line and i was drinking at every aid station and sweating it out as quickly.  Some of the group were starting to suffer but at mile 20 there were still a few familiar faces and a few more runners that we had passed decided to join up with us.  We talked our way up to mile 23 and then dug in for the final push.

The support all along the course has to be seen to be believed but on the approach to mile 25 the crowds seemed to get bigger and louder and although I've done this race a few times I was still distracted by the crowd and I missed the 26 mile mark.  I was looking around and double checking my watch and then I heard the BBC announcer calling for a big cheer to welcome in the Runner's World Pacer and I then crossed the line in 3hr 29min 30sec which overall was 29 seconds ahead of time.  My average Pace for the race was 7min 59 seconds and you won't get much closer than that..

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