London was initially my key race for the first half of the year. Ultras scheduled in after, sure, but this was to be a focus, my best prepared for marathon ever. Long chain of high mileage weeks, quality work, all focused.
So anyway that wasn’t happening.
But at least I was back in shape to not just jog around, but have a steady run. Objective: just go sub-3 and recover well for the Cateran 3 weeks later.
The day before the London Marathon and I was staying in Croydon. The local parkrun was an ideal Saturday morning objective for 14k round trip. And a great run it was.
This was the first parkrun I’ve done entirely on grass/dirt so rather a new experience. Two laps of the outside of the park, through some woods (or rather scattered trees), with various turns as it follows the perimeter - and one noticeable hill up and down.
Set off and as nobody quick seemed to be around, decided I’d see what the lead group came to. A group of 3 quickly became me following around behind 1 other runner. Occasionally I would drift alongside and consider passing, but some upcoming turn or constriction would lead me to realise that it was too much effort given the pace was decent, and I’d stick behind.
This happened for a lap, then half way around the 2nd lap I moved past, and made a move forward on the hill, and stretched out a little coming down hill round to the finish. Felt good, running strong and hard but not all out. My slowest 1st place parkrun yet :)
So after a 16 mile 3-hr pace the Sunday before, a decent 20k-ish on the Thursday, hard enough parkrun the day before, 3 hours would be easy? Or maybe hard.
The Championship Start experience was a good thing to have, though I didn’t have the nerves I’d expect if I was out for a fast time. I’ve felt a bit guilty of taking up the place then going out with a non-competitive intention on the day but meeting everyone from my club and chatting before the start, certainly felt right.
Don’t particularly feel like writing a report now, but in summary, I’ve never run an easy 3 hour marathon no matter how many times I say it, I felt like I didn’t have the distance in my legs towards the end, and not sure I could have gone more than a few minutes quicker. Great experience running with familiar faces, but not sure I like the hustle and bustle of London (at least around the 3 hour mark, maybe I should try being quicker…). And if you do run a marathon in shoes bought at the expo, try not to get a size too small, my nails still don’t forgive me 2.5 weeks later.