So the London Marathon has been and gone for another year and to say I had high hopes for myself this year is an understatement.
The six weeks building up to London allowed for some good long runs and I had posted some consistently fast half marathons around the 90 min mark so I was hopeful for a huge marathon PB, ideally around 3:15.
From the start I was in pen 1 so I crossed the start line within 3 minutes and I managed to catch the 3:15 pacer after a few miles and my plan was to simply stick with him and roll through halfway before I made a call on going any faster.
I started strong.
At 6 miles in I had been posting 7:10 per mile and a couple of 7:30’s once I caught the pacer. I grabbed some water and almost instantly after that I had to ease off to try and regain some energy in the heat. It was all just too much.
While I did manage to cross 10k at my target time I started to slow up and ended up 10 minutes behind my intended pace by 13 miles. I had completely underestimated the weather and thought I could just carry on as planned.
From there on I struggled… really struggled.
At that point it was nothing specific, just all over fatigue and exhaustion. Maybe the heat? Maybe overtraining running a half race 2 weeks before? Maybe an underlying virus or lack of rest in the build up? I wasn’t sure, I just didn’t feel good!
So I made the decision to not chase my watch time for 13 miles, I just wanted to soak up the vibes, forget time and cheer people on when I could.
My race was over, but the run wasn’t.
My knee started really hurting and I was concerned I might make it a longer term issue so decided on a hobble/walk/Run strategy for the last 8 miles.
As I went back past the 20 mile mark and I saw all the people at mile 13 (on the other side of the road) struggling and my heart sank for them a little! There I was feeling a little sorry for myself and they were in a far worse position, with much further to go in the heat. So I cheered and shouted and egged others on, raising a few smile… but most people just looked at me with envy being so much further on than them!
If I am honest I really enjoyed it for a few miles. Hitting mile 21 was epic as Run Dem Crew lit up everybody’s faces with beaming smiles! All the crew love out there was mad this year! Adidas runners, Midnight runners, goodgym, advent runners, and everyone else!
It was intense and immense in equal measure!
For the last 3 miles I was caught up by a Jo, a friend who was also running for the Pro:Direct Run Club team. She spurred me on… I spurred her on. I managed to get a few slightly better miles in for the last 5k, but was conscious of a burning left knee. (Thanks Jo!)
I crossed the line in 4 hours and 5 minutes, my worst time ever over 26.2 but my favourite experience in terms of feeling inspired and a part of something that is bigger than just my race.
3 times running the London Marathon and there’s something about it that just beats me up. I have unfinished business here!
Lessons learned from London Marathon 2018
It’s what you take away from races like this that matters. It’s not a failure, just a dip in the road that has made me a more experienced runner.
So my goals haven’t changed. I will get that 3:15 another day because I know it’s easily in me.
I was refreshed to lean after the race that a lot of people ended up at least 15-30 minutes behind their target too, during the race I thought it was just me struggling!
Sometimes you have to just accept the weather and adjust your race accordingly. Perhaps I should have started out at 8 min miles and sped up as the race went on.
For now I will work on my half time and take on my biggest challenge yet with the upcoming 50 mile ultra in July.
Check out the route on strava!