Marathon number 5 is done!
It wasn’t pretty & it certainly wasn’t easy. In fact, it was very painful; it took everything I had & the encouragement of my best friend Lida for me not to quit the race. Thank you so much Lida!
We started really well, going strong in search of a new PB. The first 16km flew by & we were on course to run the half marathon in around 2:12ish. It was also quite hot by now – temperatures would eventually go up to 25C.
I had some reservations about wearing my new trainers – they just felt a smidge tight & I had also changed the short Asics laces with even shorter elastic laces. I also stupidly wore thick running socks, making it all just that little bit tighter.
By 16km, my feet had started to swell & pain was developing across the top of my right foot. I was unwillingly slowing down. I knew that my goal for as close to 4:30 was now impossible.
By 18km, the pain had spread to my arch, flaring up my dormant plantar fasciitis. I obviously had to loosen the laces. I slowed down & lost 30seconds that km compared to previous kms & 1 minute through 19km.
Wanting to run a strong half I picked up the pace from 20km to finish the first half in 2:15:33. That’s a new PB for half marathon in a marathon but we could have ran it faster. Also, it’s my 4th fastest half marathon race time ever. So pretty pleased with that!
As soon as we crossed the half way line, I uttered the words “I wish I could quit; my feet hurt so much”. Lida looked at me & firmly said “no way”. I had no choice but to carry on.
I undid both sets of laces & loosened them as much as possible & struggled on. 25-35km was the hardest part, using a mixture of running & walking to get me through. The pain was radiating across both feet into the ankles. Lida continued to encourage me & even threatened to drag me over the finish line!
It took me 42mins to run each 5km between 25 & 35km – whereas I had been running 5km in about 31-32 minutes up until the half way point. I lost a good 16 minutes there as I probably would’ve slowed down slightly anyway.
We were running towards the 36km mark by the inner section of Seville’s beautiful Cathedral, I wanted desperately to stop. But the view was magnificent & people everywhere cheering me on, so I kept on going. It was the crowd & the hope that I could still beat my last marathon time 5:18, when I took the second half super easy for fear of injury (~3hours), that spurred me on.
The last 5km was a bit of a blur as I picked up the pace towards the finish line. By this point, I desperately wanted sub 5:10 – I had started the race wanting as close to 4:30 as possible & as I went on I had been constantly reevaluating my goal, doing sums in my head!
The crowds were amazing on the entire route but in the centre of town & towards the finish they were incredible. It was a great sensation passing other runners who were walking or going much slower.
The last 1500m the adrenaline had kicked in; we must have passed about a hundred runners, including 30 on the stadium track towards the finish. I was spent but I had it in me for a sprint finish, like every race!
All that sprint training had paid off & I clocked 5:05:43 real time.
My trainers came off immediately, relieving the pressure & they stayed off. I had a few sharp cramps in my left foot after the race but overall I’m suffering from normal post marathon pain now.
We spent some time assessing & analysing my performance that evening & the next day.
This is what we thought:
1) My fitness has improved significantly since last June when I ran Liverpool marathon in 4:52:10. Despite the pain & walking/stopping, my performance was only 13 minutes slower & the half marathon time was 4 minutes faster.
2) The triathlon training seems to be helping – I’m only running 3 times a week at most & I had 10 days of enforced rest. My strength training appears to be helping me deal with all the extra workouts – shout out to my PT Levi.
3) This year I should be able to get close to my half marathon PB of 2:10:58 from Bristol in 2010. I finished last season with St Albans half (hilly course) in 2:15:05 but in Seville managed 2:15:33 for a flatter course, in a lot of pain & with another 21km to run.
3) I need to continue with consistent speed training; it’s clearly paying off. I should also continue with one longish run per week to help with endurance & maintaining consistent pacing, even outside of proper marathon training.
4) I have DOMS across my shoulder blades & upper back – I think this is from poor running form & posture. Needs improvement.
5) Every marathon is hard work & it doesn’t get easier. I need to be proud of finishing each marathon, regardless of whether I meet my targets or not.
6) It’s good to reassess goals as you go along. I’ve decided that I’m going to take Paris marathon in 6 weeks time “easy” & aim for a new PB in Berlin in September. A ~4:30 hour marathon is a difficult & stretching goal but I believe I can do it or at least get v close.
Now for a bit of well earned rest!
Next race is in 4 weeks time – the 2nd edition of my local half marathon: the Vitality North London Half on 20 March.