I had been thinking I could be on for a sub 3 hour for a while as during my training I was running at sub 3 hour pace on my long runs. The last long run I did was 22.2 miles and that was ran at just under 3 hour pace and with hills, running solo and no support, so I thought with the flat course, running in a group and the whole marathon experience I thought I could may be pick up some time and manage it.
On Sunday though I soon realised I had messed up a bit on the starting pens and was in the 3hr to 3.30 pen and as I was a little latter arriving than planned I had to join towards the back of my pen. So the start of the race was really congested on the narrow streets so I spent the first 4 miles or so running far slower than I had planned. Looking at the results the first 5km were my slowest which is very unusual for me. Also I wasted a fair bit of energy weaving in and out and around people trying to speed up.
So after 4 miles I knew I was behind schedule for the sub 3 hours so was a little worried but picked out someone up ahead who was running at a good pace and tacked onto the back of them. We then joined up in a bit of a group with some others who were all running at around the same pace which helped.
But by now I was starting to get a pain at the front of my right ankle but just thought my socks had ruffled up and was causing rubbing on the tongue of my trainer, so I decided to stop as it was getting painful and could do with spending a penny, unfortunately it wasn't the socks causing the pain and just a bit of an injury that progressively hurt more as the race went on. But tbh I didn't notice it after the 18 mile mark or so as I was just pushing on concentrating on the few meters of road in front of me.
Anyway, having caught back up with the group I was running with after stopping to check my ankle and spend a penny I was making up time and getting back on track for the sub 3 hours.
The drinks stations threw a bit of a spanner in the works though as I was expecting it to be small bottles of energy drink and water that you can drink whilst running but they were doing cups which meant I had to slow to a walk each time I wanted to take fluids on as otherwise it just spilt everywhere. I think I lost a good 90 seconds to 2 minutes over the course of the race due to it being cups.
The first group I was running with began to slow down a little so I broke off from them and picked out my next target up ahead and then ran just off him for a good bit. I was thinking then as we came up to half way I was in with a good chance as I was inside the target time and actually making up time on the Gun time. He started slowing so I picked out a Spanish guy who was going well but then he took on a Gel which seemed to turn on the boosters for him and he broke away though within a mile I was back with him. At about 18 miles I thought I stood a slim chance of actually making up the time I had lost on the Gun time and getting a sub 3hour Gun time as I was within 10 seconds of it.
Anyway the Spanish guy started to slow and I had spotted a Woman running up ahead that was going well and running past people (and was good to look at
) so I ran with her for about 4 miles and then noticed that we were slowing down so at about 22 miles I kicked on as I could see I was still on for a sub 3 hour if I could keep my pace up but I didn't have too much time on my side to drop the pace by much and knew a tougher section was coming up.
Basically from that point I was just focusing on the road a few metres in front of me and keeping an eye on my watch and my timing strap so as to make sure I wasn't losing time.
Then at about the 1 km mark as you approached the Olympic Stadium I got a wiff of a burger van and promptly threw up!
Then at 500m as you turned into the stadium and onto the running track I panicked a little that I was just going to miss out on the sub 3 hour as the finish line looked a lot further away than it was. So I managed to go for a 'sprint' finish (it felt like it but I don't think Usain Bolt has much to worry about) on the running track and passed a few people and coming up to the 100m to go mark looked at the watch and realised I was going to do it which gave me a big
Not sure exactly what the next target is going to be but I plan on joining my local running club and trying to work on my speed a bit and working to a proper training plan as I think I can knock 5 minutes off the time if not more at some point in the future so next big target for my marathon will be a sub 2.45 race - perhaps wishful thinking though if you don't try you never know
Was thinking of running the Marrakesh marathon on January 29th 2012 but not looking for a good time, more for the experience and also my brother is desperate to run a marathon after missing Amsterdam's following an injury set back which meant he could only run the half.
Think Berlin Entries open this week so will be getting my name down for that as well after missing it last year!
If anyone else is doing any runs it would be good to hear about them!