London Marathon Training
Week 5, Day 4
I suppose the best place to start when recounting my London Winter Run experiences would be at the beginning, the very beginning.
Arriving at approx. 8:30am with Dawn – some two hours before my start time – there was nothing else for it but to take the obligatory pics of the start line, not forgetting the penguins and on a podium holding a speech bubble! I didn’t take part in the mass warm up, I have two left feet at the best of times without taking a wrong turn in some routine or t’other and taking out a row of people!
At 9:45am, after leaving Dawn at the barriers close to the start, I made my way to the starting funnel expecting to see some sort of designated area for people in my wave to wait until they were called. However, there wasn’t, so I found myself swept along with the crowds and placed in a wave much, much earlier than I should have been. I eventually crossed the line at 10:10am, not the 10:34 I was allocated. Ah well.
When the race started I set off at a fair old pace and, indeed, went even faster in the second kilometre. Not ideal and definitely not the ‘start slow, go slower’ advice that’s often given. Realising I’d probably blow up if I kept this up I made a conscious effort to slow in right down before the halfway point, even stopping a one point to take a selfie with a ‘penguin’!
My legs weren’t feeling 100%, even at the start, and this continued all the way round. They weren’t awful, just not as fresh as I’d have liked.
Anyway, moving onto the second half of the race I began to slowly quicken things up again although this did mean not really paying attention to my surroundings. I recall St. Paul’s and the bells sounding, thinking how loud they were, but not really that much else.
The crowds were quite sparse in places, but this was more than made up with by the camaraderie amongst the other runners, plus a ‘rock’ choir, a brass band and a woman blowing into some big Swiss horn contraption of a thing.
As we neared the end the crowds did thicken up again, and as I spied Nelson’s Column in the distance it started to have the feel of the marathon itself, a factor that really spurred me on. I tried to increase my pace again, but with tiredness kicking in I had to dig deep before eventually finding another gear and putting in a final kilometre that was actually quicker than my first!
There was a moment of despair as I turned the final corner into Whitehall. I was expecting the finish line to be a lot further up the road but as I went round that final bend it was right down almost at Downing Street a lot further away than I thought!
However, with the crowds quite deep at this point and knowing Dawn was standing somewhere to take a picture there’s no way I was going to slow down or take a breather, so I kept chugging on trying to dredge something up from somewhere …… I was so, so grateful to see that finish line, I had absolutely nothing left to give.
Timewise it was outside a PB, but faster than I had done the distance a week earlier – and it would have been faster if I hadn’t stopped for a drink or that aforementioned selfie. I was still happy with my time, though, and it’s good to know what I’m capable of.
London Marathon Training (72.6 miles – 18 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 14.9 miles (4 runs; average 3.7 miles per run)