In short: my slowest marathon at 4:11:55 (with a 24 second loo break). I apparently hit that wall thingy. And then I cried. And then someone walloped me in the eye with their elbow while I was phoning N, and broke my sunglasses, and then N ran with me for a bit, and then I overtook the great galluphing oaf with the elbow (honestly, he was head and shoulders taller than the rest of the pack) in the final 20 yards and yelled that he may have broken my sunglasses, but I was going to beat him.
The problem was – it was warm. And sunny. There was no shade on the course, and, somewhere around 15 miles in, I overheated. In retrospect, I should have paused, removed layers (despite the faff that would have involved, what with the camelbak) and picked up again. I should have dressed for 15 degrees, not the predicted 11. I really, really should get some disposable sleeves, as I think that would have made the difference in my clothing choices. I could have dropped those en route.
I knew I was struggling at 16/17 miles – there’d been no shade for about 3 miles solid, and very little for the previous two miles, and I was getting water from the water stations just to pour over my head. Round about 17 miles, I was starting to cry, realising that I just couldn’t manage it, but determined to keep going. Used the inhaler, pulled myself together a bit. Felt very warm.
And, at 22 miles, as I dropped behind the 4 hour pacemaker, I couldn’t manage to maintain my pace any longer, and burst into messy tears. Then phoned N. Who was wonderful, and I got going again, a bit, and gradually pulled myself back together, and he found me, and ran alongside me until he had to peel off, ‘cos he’s an unofficial race angel. And I finished. In style. Naturally.
But, looking at those splits – I was doing so well. I was bang on for the half (and, let’s not forget, I did a half at 8:20 min/mile not so long ago, and felt pretty fresh and good at the end of that!), if not a little ahead, to give a little leeway. Had it been cooler, I reckon I could have sustained. Sucks to be out of practice at warm weather running!
Apparently it’s my best estimated 30KM effort – Berlin marathon was 9 minutes faster overall (heck, Rome was 2 minutes faster…but I didn’t walk any of that).
So, I’m actually quite happy with what I achieved. I only paused for a pee break, I finished the damn thing despite the tears. But I’m doing it again for my 40th birthday in 3 years time. I need a little time out from marathon training first. Yes, it was supposed to be my last, but it was also supposed to go a bit better than that!
The best thing about the weekend was visiting the Blue Peter garden and having my photo taken next to Petra’s statue, and removing some rubbish from the fish pond, and standing in Simon Groom’s footprints saying “And what a beautiful pair of knockers they are.” Closely followed by the rather wonderful steak we had at Marco’s in the hotel (and seeing Virginia McKenna a few tables away).