Southampton marathon: The race

My training had gone really well discounting my taper issues. I knew I hadn’t given it as much as I should have to get my real A goal but I had done what I could and felt that I would be able to get close to a PB at the very least. 

At the race I put some strides in as part of my warm up and went through my mobility/ dynamic warm up to get ready. I made my way to the pen ready to try and stay at a steady pace to go through half way at about 1:37 pace while being steady up the hills and pushing slightly down the hills by opening my legs up with minimum effort. 

As it started I got into my rhythm and found some people to tag on to to control my pace and HR as I was going to be keeping an eye on this to check my pace was possible. We went through the park and I was holding a good speed and as we approached the first hill at mile 4 ish, I was feeling okay but I slowed and went steady. Getting to the top I caught a couple of club runners, who I soon gathered were on for 3hr or 3:05 paced based on their chat about speed and splits. Unlike them, I’m not capable of holding a consistent pace all the way through so I knew would move away from them on the downhills, knowing full well they would probably get my by the end. I’m are I helped their motivation as someone to target but I had my own race plan. 

After this I really began to enjoy myself and felt really comfortable. Getting to Itchen bridge it was a tough climb but I felt I managed it well. I also got some strides in on the way down too on the out and the back leg of the bridge. As I came off I soon paired up with a runner called Tim. The crowd seemed to love shouting ‘go Tom… And Tim’. He helped me get to the half way point ahead of schedule and we soon met the 10k crowd. We tried follow each other through the crowds but the dodging really took a bit more out of me in the long term. As we split off onto the marathon route, he left me for another runner who was looking much stronger than I was. 

I plodded around on my own for quite a lot of the second lap but being able to overtake half marathon runners was a weirdly nice motivator. I also enjoyed seeing the efforts of all those at that end of a race which we don’t always see. I have massive respect for all runners out there giving it a go and taking it on. 

The hill climb was tougher the second time and the bridge was really hard. Like really hard as o was struggling. My quads seemed to go stiffer on the second leg and wouldn’t loosen up. My legs really slowed in the second lap and I was really struggling to keep my legs moving. The heat was beginning to take its toll it felt and I tried to gulp down water when I could along with my gels that I took. 

Once I was off the bridge the second time I knew I could make a PB and get back. I was determined this race not to walk and try to run it all but about a mile or two from the end I was really on the edge so had to walk. At one point I felt quite dizzy and was just trying to keep moving. 

Entering the finish straight I remember feeling lightheaded and closing my eyes to try and relax to get to the end. I soon opened them and tried to embrace the end of the race. There was no sprint finish as I would gain nothing from it. As I crossed the line I found the nearest barrier for a lean and moment to get my act together. But I was tired. And probably really dehydrated! 

I got myself a PB and I was really chuffed but it whet my appetite to go back harder and improve it further in the autumn. 

There are already some ideas on what I need to do in my training to make improvements and make me stronger. 

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