This will be my third marathon this month. 6th April – Brighton marathon completed in 5 hours 29 minutes. 13th April – London marathon completed in 5 hours 27 minutes.
Will I improve by a few minutes again? Will I even make it around the first lap? Why? What the hell am I doing? This is impossible! I’m never going to make it! Those were the thoughts rolling around my head Thursday night. That’s when I start digging in and somehow I’m organising my kit, checking the weather forecast and pushing those “impossible” thoughts into a corner to whimper away until I’m finished.
I’ve done the Enigma style marathon before at Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes. Seven and a half laps of the lake. Sounds nuts. Run in circles seven and a bit times up to 26.2 miles. Yep. You’re right. But here’s my view – every three and a bit miles you get cheered along and you have a water stop with jelly bears/jaffa cakes/home made cakes. Yes the scenery can get a bit monotonous by the seventh lap but I’ve found it’s given me a type of mental toughness that’s helped me get through some tough moments. Running and normal life.
So? How did I do? Well, it was good fun. The weather was just right, cool and sunny. My aim was just to finish. No pushing myself. No digging deep. Just jog on round until it’s over and enjoy the day. Like hell did that happen!! As usual we walked to the start as a group, waited for a couple minutes for everyone to get behind the line. Then David (the Fox) set us off. I felt very comfortable and I settled into a pretty good pace very early on. I chatted to a few people on the first and second lap and then we started spreading out. I was a little surprised that I still felt good. Lap three and I’m still going strong. Where the hell was this coming from. Lap four and five and six just rolled by. Still going strong. Plus I still felt good. Running past Karen on the last lap and I get the cow bell. I love that sound. I didn’t want to ruin the last lap so I kept to the same pace. Kept the same momentum and at each turn, bridge, hill, corner I would say – That’s the last time I pass you!! A few hundred yards to go and I’m digging deep for the finish. 4 hours 48 minutes. Well blimey!!! I wasn’t expecting that and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be that easy!! Third Marathon on the third weekend in April. Nice one. Plus my time was much faster than the first two.
This was also a celebration of 100 marathons completed by a lady called Heather McDonald Hamilton. The yellow and blue 100 marathon club t-shirt waiting for her at the finish along with a number of other items celebrating such an achievement. Seeing someone achieve this is just amazing and truly inspiring. There’s a real feeling of camaraderie at the finish of a 100th marathon. I hope to be there one day…… one day!!
So what’s next? Well I’m due for my rest part of training for the next couple weeks. I find this part of training tougher than putting in the miles. Strength exercises, stretches, short speed workouts and repeat. I’ve learnt the hard way that the rest periods in-between long mileage events can really pay off. I’ve grown much stronger and I’m finding each attempt at distance easier. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m stronger or if the negative voice in my head has just given up and gone for a cup of tea somewhere. Either way, I may be bonkers running these stupid distance events but I find them to be a deeply fulfilling challenge. Bring it on!!