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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Job done

and's over.

Where to start? I suppose I'll start with the result - 3hrs 12minutes odd. Thats probably a bit faster than most thought I'd do. I secretly attempted a 2.59 on the day only to be shot down by the man with the hammer at 17 miles like so many others. I didn't blow completely, just a gradual painfull slowdown to 8min miles rather than the 6.51's until the last couple when i struggled not to walk.
My conservative estimation was 3.20 ish so overall .... I'm very very happy!

Dan also had a good one, our training definately paying off as he surprised himself too with a cool 3.18. We were together until 5 or 6 miles when he thought better of my suicidal pace and went into his own pace zone. Another two miles and he would have caught me. My last mile was a ten minuter!!

Lessons learnt - train longer! Our long runs were mostly 10-16 miles, which were great if you were running, 10 to 16 mile races i suppose!

The day started well. Well, almost. We caught the DLR to Woolwich and then the overground to Blackheath. The train was full and Dan spotted an empty seat. It soon became apparent as to why the seat was was next to the only non athlete on the train, a middle aged gent who was probably on his seventh can of Stella that morning (it was 8am after all).

The next 10 minutes was spent trying not to breathe in as he explained repeatedly that the ban on alcohol in snooker & darts was a farce as the players simply topped up whilst the cameras weren't pointed their way.

I nodded and smiled and Dan smirked probably due to the fact that he had the window seat. Thanks for that one Dan ;-)

The park in Greenwich was buzzing, and it was fairly cool with a slight morning haze - perfect conditions! We made our first beginners error by placing our finish bags in the lorry straight away whilst everyone else held onto theirs so that they could sit on the plastic so as to avoid a wet bum. Doh!

Time then stood still as it seemed like hours to wait until the start. Toilet visit after toilet visit and the nerves piled up. We entered the start zones, Dan in zone 3 and me in zone 2 due to the different estimations that we applied with. Not to worry, I headed to the back of zone 2 and Dan to the head of zone 3. The zones merged in any case as we walked towards the actual start area and we were united once again.

The race got underway and the expected slow down of pace due to the shear numbers didn't materialise too badly, probably as we started so far up the grip. The first mile was a 7.17 so not too bad at all.

The crowds continued to build, something I'll never forget. It seemed like a crowd from the mountains of the Tour de France, but it continued for 26.2 miles! In some places it even got emotional! The heat did unfortunately build aswell, culminating in a rather hot day and so it was a bottle of water every two miles without fail from 4 miles onwards!

The first 17 miles were perfect. No pain, feeling better than any run, ever. All the niggles gone, hydration - perfect, energy - perfect, pace - not a problem, breathing - fine. Every mile ticked off in precision at 6.40 - 7 min miling.

Only when I got back to Westferry did I start to realise the hamstrings were tightening. Not only them, but the thighs also. I ignored it at first but it became increasingly harder to maintain pace and so by 18 miles i was falling behind. I even saw Carwyn from Sarn Helen walking! Even the realisation that this may be my only ever chance to beat the mighty Sarn Helen runner could not prevent my slowdown!

This was not a pain I am used to. The only other time its happened has been Rhayader 20, so I suppose its an endurance muscular thing. In any case, 7 miles to run with this was impossible at the pace i needed. Maybe 2 or three would have been possible, but not 7 and so I surrendered and went into damage limitation mode. This worked a treat as I was still able to knock out some 8 (ish) min miles and although a horrendous last 10k where i didn't enjoy the crowds or the Mall one bit, i was still able to come home with a satisfactory time. A last minute look to check i was in a Burgess free zone set off a panic attack as the lad outsprinting me bore a resemblence to Dan, even down to the blue vest!

Like I said, his tactics almost paid off as he would have past me had there been another couple of km's in it.

The last few months have been fun. I can't confirm nor deny that Dan has burnt his trainers, but hopefully we'll see sense in a few days and plan to use this for more running adventures later in the year :-)

Monday, 11 April 2011

A New Hope / Hop

Going into the final week and it's neck and neck between the two Aber AC lads for bragging rights.  I had a fantastic 10 miler during the week when everything went well for once. It was a joy to be running and the zone was definately entered as I stomped round in 1.09 without feeling it too badly at all.

Fast forward to Saturday and Burgess turned on the reserve power he's been storing and left me for dead on the cycle path in true sub 7 min mile style.....

Now its all about getting the logistics right, making sure we actually remember all the nitty gritty things that you only need to remember for London. The usual local race attitude must be left behind. No turning up by doing doughnuts around the bends of Cwm Elan to make the 5k with 3 minutes to spare, sign on and pin your number as the starters gun goes off. We need military planning and the ability to catch trains and the like at silly o'clock in the morning. It's gonna be tough. The running will be the easier part!

Where will Olwen watch? Her sense of direction is worse than mine. Do we attempt to plan her some multi vantage points knowing full well that this will probably mean she'll miss the entire event due to being stuck somewhere near the Thames barrier? Shall I pack my phone in with my competitors finish bag?? All questions that we'll  need to nail down over the next few days.

I had been worried about how i was reacting to all the traning, but that one run, which i admittedly did after a few easy days, did show that I'm more efficient and fitter than before. If I feel like that on the day, then I should have a good chance of turning in a good performance.

Next weeks report will be the final one in the saga. No matter how it goes, it will be a good one to read as I try to make sense of this crazy event and how we all got on.

Monday, 4 April 2011

2 weeks to go

It's the start of the official taper period now, although actually I started tapering last week due to an extreme post Rhayader / boredom / worn out knees comedown which resulted in only 18 miles last week!!

Time to pick it up a bit this week and try to get out every day for at least a few miles, but nowt too crazy.

The Cambrian News got wind of Aber AC's marathoners and photos were taken of the four ladies, plus myself and Dan at last weeks training session. The shoot lasted as long as the training session and was a lesson in stamina itself. Suffice to say the headbands were in full view although come race day, if its a hot one down there, we'll have to have a re-think. Maybe we'll get someone to hand them to us with a mile to go for the money shot. Whether we'll have the strength to put them on is another matter.

Donations have been coming in well on my Just Giving site (, and I've raised close to £750 so far which is much more than I anticipated. Dan has now got his site up - and I beleive it's
He's raising for Beacon of Hope.

My vanilla flavoured 'Nocte' nightime recovery super drink has arrived to replace the Crohns inducing chocolate flavour, and I'm already feeling the benefits. My workmates say that Nocte is rumoured to be the cure for all man-flu like illneses and possibly far worse conditions. I'll reserve judgment for a while but it's doing the trick by getting me out of bed in the mornings despite my severe & prolongued jet-lag symptoms due to the change to British summer time last week.....