London Marathon Training
Week 14, Day 3
Well that was a load of rubbish. A complete and utter waste of a day which has, in all probabilty, done more harm than good.
Today was the Titanic Quarter 10k, the third race in the Novosco Grand Prix series. I had previousy taken part in the second race, the Spar Craic 10k, and have provisionally identified a few others to enter but after that total disaster today this could well be my last.
Quite frankly, at the minute, I’ve had enough. I’m not sure I want to do this anymore. I know I have to go on but my confidence is at an all-time low. What is wrong with me? I’ve got two weeks to salvage something.
I was awful, almost right from the start. The first km was ok, pretty good actually, but after that it just all fell to pieces. I had nothing in my legs. I searched hard, I really did, and dug deep but the tank was empty, the burner just didn’t fire.
I thought as the race went on I’d do my usual and settle into it, that my legs would accept the fact that I wasn’t going to let them quit and therefore they’d stop protesting. But today my legs won. I was eight minutes slower – almost – than three weeks ago. That’s just not on.
Maybe the route didn’t help. It was a desolate course, the first half around car parks or industrial yards with no spectators bar the support of the occasional smattering of marshals. I was half expecting to be tripped up by a rogue bale of tumbleweed.
And it wasn’t any better once we got out onto the roads. It was just as bad. There was a lot of doubling back on the course, so that the slower runners (can I call myself a runner anymore?) like me were able to see the faster runners going down the other side.
I don’t like it. Yes, it happens. It happens in London for a stretch but today it seemed to be the case for around half the course. Usually when it does happen the two ‘lanes’ are kept well apart, not so today. It was extremely discouraging to be told to keep to the left to let the front runners go past.
Maybe it was the conditions. It was bloody hot at times, especially in the wide open expanses of the car parks which offered no shade, some of which weren’t even tarmaced, so you had to watch your footing on the loose stones.
But it was the same for everyone, so no excuses.
I was simply awful. As I was going up one lane I spotted a number of club runners going down the other and, to their credit, they shouted across encouragement to me. But I was embarrassed. Embarrassed to be so damn slow, embarrassed to be bringing shame upon the club shirt. If I could have taken it off I would.
I just wanted the race to end so, eventually, when the 9km post came into view I managed to dredge up some energy from somewhere to at least try to finish strongly.
This was where the organisation of the event was simply abysmal. The finish was on a little slip road and I knew I was near because I saw the barriers on the side of the road, obviously to keep the spectators back … except there weren’t any spectators apart from my daughter, just one or two people/race officials milling around.
There didn’t appear to be any obvious marking of the finish line either. No inflatable across the road, no clock, no kites, nothing apart from a black timing ‘bump’ on the road – not exactly the wisest choice of colour, black on black.
To make it worse, at every other race I’ve ever entered there have been people standing just beyond the finish line to give you your medal. Not today.
As I said there was almost no-one. So I stopped my watch at what I thought was the finish line – it turns out it was – but because I was so unsure I called around to anyone who would listen to ask if I had finished. I got no response so I started my watch and set off to run on again.
There was a little bend ahead so I guessed the finish was around that corner, but I stopped once my daughter shouted that I had indeed finished. So where was my medal? There was a table ahead and a couple of people standing, but they were handing out water and milk.
It turns out I had to walk to the race HQ to get it, some 200-300 yards away from the finish, across a four lane road and hidden behind a hotel. I went into the race HQ only to be redirected again to a bloody radio car, and beside that there were some people standing with medals.
I wasn’t the only one perplexed and pissed off by this. It was a total anti-climax. I was already annoyed by my performance, even more annoyed by the shambles at the finish line but this just put the tin hat on it. Why not have the medals at the finishing line? There was plenty of space.
But I mustn’t let that distract from just how terrible I was today. Maybe when I start to see logic I’ll remember that this happens every so often. Everyone has days when it just doesn’t go for them. Hopefully this will be my last for a while.
If you’ve enjoyed following my progress so far could I be so bold as to ask you if you’d consider making a donation to my chosen London Marathon charity this year – Asthma UK? No amount is too small, and all donations are received with such heartfelt thanks. My fundraising page can be found here. Thank-you so much.
London Marathon Training (241 miles – 46 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.7 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)
Week 6 – 18.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 7 – 20.3 miles (4 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)
Week 8 – 23.7 miles (4 runs; average 5.9 miles per run)
Week 9 – 18 miles (3 runs; average 6 miles per run)
Week 10 – 21.9 miles (3 runs; average 7.3 miles per run)
Week 11 – 24.6 miles (4 runs; average 6.2 miles per run)
Week 12 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 13 – 28.2 miles (3 runs; average 9.4 miles per run)
Week 14 – 11.7 miles (3 runs; average 3.9 miles per run)