Abingdon Marathon – why the f***

Hot on the heels of my last race post (and I still haven’t got round to Berlin Marathon yet) here’s a very quick review of my Abingdon marathon last weekend.

The Monday after A100 I was in a bit of trouble. Ankles were a bit tender but worse was my left knee and the soles of my feet. I’d only picked up one blister, and it wasn’t a bad one, on my toe but walking was pretty painful. I was sure I wouldn’t be ready for Abingdon in 6 days time.

But the body is an amazing thing and by Tuesday my legs were feeling pretty good and on  Wednesday I went out for a gentle 3 miler.

On race day I met up with fellow club runners Charmain and Helen, and Mike our former coach and unwavering supporter.

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I’d spent the morning taping and re-taping my feet but aside from still tingling soles I didn’t feel too bad.

My plan was to run around 4.30 though I would try 9.30 minute miles and see what happened.

I was looking forward to running with no pressure for a change. Chairman and Helen were both going for pb’s so we wished each other luck and set off.

The first few miles were OK but by mile 4 I was feeling a bit tired. By 7 I was really tired and by 10 not having a great time.

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The bottom half is run twice so you can see the mile markers for the second time round. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but it just constantly reminded me how far I had left to run. Eventually I made it all the way round and onto the second loop. Psychologically this was a huge boost and those dead miles between 15 and 20 went by ok. I had a few spasms in my left hamstring so daren’t really go too fast and in fact slowed a bit between these miles. I really didn’t want to pull anything for no real gain.

I’d been averaging about 9.15’s and at 20 miles realised if I pushed just a tiny bit I could come in a fraction under 4 hours. There wasn’t any need for it, no extra medal or kudos to be gained but it gave me a bit of focus and something to think about. My maths isn’t great at the best of times but 20 miles into a marathon it takes a long time to compute.

My legs started to perk up and the fatigue left as I had something to occupy my brain. The last few miles were really enjoyable and I passed quite a few runners in the last couple of miles.

The final 300m were back on the running track. I could see the clock was at 3.59 something as I went to pass the girl in front of me. I shouted at her to keep up as I thought we could both get under 4 hours. She responded and we had a great sprint at the end with me shouting encouragement (hopefully not in a patronising way!) on the way to the finish. We both made it over the line with the clock showing 3.59:58

However we had both started quite far to the back so my chip time was 3.59:06 and she had started even further back beating me by 7 seconds.

It was a great end to a race that had been a bit of a chore for the first 18 or so miles. I’m really glad I decided to run it, and very pleased my legs held up OK.

Both Charmain and Helen got pb’s and Mike had walked 14 miles around the course giving us all a bit of a lift as we went past! So we were a pretty happy bunch at the end.

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