So I entered the North Dorset Villages marathon last November and I have been training with that in mind since.
I look back on my experience at North Dorset Villages Marathon,
a bit like a Liverpool Supporter look’s at their season.
My training has been nearly perfect, 686 miles so far this year, across 85 sessions. I had two days off after Reading half and other than that I hadn’t missed two consecutives days of running since November through until the middle of April. A 22 mile run along with another of 21 miles, 2 x20 miles and 4 others over 17 miles. New PB’s at 5K, 10k and Half Marathon. I have been thoroughly enjoying my running, feeling great. Two week before the marathon I had a fast finish long run, which went really well, I felt ready.
Two Week before the end of the season Liverpool played Man City and beat them 3-2, they went top of the table 7 points clear of Man City. “Liverpool took a huge step towards winning the Premier League title by beating Manchester City as Anfield marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.”
“Chelsea blew open the race for the Premier League title by ending leaders Liverpool's 11-game winning streak with a deserved victory at Anfield.
Demba Ba gave the Blues the lead at the end of the first half after Steven Gerrard's slip”
Over the next couple of days I felt considerably better and there wasn’t any doubt that I was going to run.
Rich drove down to Sturminister Newton and we arrived at the school where there was bacon already being cooked by the scouts and a really well organized event in full swing at 7am in the morning. You could even give the organizer two drinks, which they then handed to you on course. This is better than Mo had to deal with at London Marathon, no grabbing a bottle off a table, your drinks were handed to you!
The marshalls were great all the way round which is no mean feet, with open roads on a 26 mile course.
We made our way down to the start and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. I think this was helped no end by the 4 person marathon relay event taking place at the same time, as the relay runners were obviously not nervous with what lay ahead.
My plan was to run at 8:35 minutes miles, which would produce a time of 3:45 in theory. I knew I should ease into this pace, with a few very easy 9 minute miles.
We got under way and the normal charge commenced and I let people go, but over the next half mile I caught up with a couple of people and settled in alongside Kev Rowe. The first mile was a nice and easy 8:48, I then put in an 8:19 and 8:09, we continued along chatting over the next few miles. I was running on effort and slowing a little on the ascents and catching up again on the descents. Kevin dropped me around 8 miles on another hill and I continued along at 8:35 pace, pretty much through until 16 miles. Each of the relay points gave a big lift with the support from the relay teams and other supporters.
In Liverpool's penultimate game they stormed into a 3 nil lead against Crystal Palace, the dream was back alive.
“Liverpool squandered a three-goal lead in the final 11 minutes at Crystal Palace to see their Premier League title hopes suffer a severe blow”
Yes, it is a fantastic event whether you are running in the relay or marathon. It is small with only 300 finishers, it is undulating but far from hilly, 170 meters of climbing in total and only 1 ‘proper’ hill.
Will I be doing another marathon?
After this run as I said, no chance, I had resigned myself to the fact that long distance events are just not for me. The day after I starting to come round to the idea and I fleetingly considered doing another one in a few weeks (but that is just silly talk).
What went wrong?
I went off too fast for my fitness on the day, plane and simple. I had not really planned how I was going to run the race, particularly considering I hadn’t been very well. I just looked at my training and based my pace off of that, which in hindsight was absolutely ridiculous. Even on a good day, I still went off too fast, everybody knows you need to pace yourself, but I didn’t do it.
What have I learnt?
I can certainly see why people say ‘never again’ after doing a marathon, the wall is not a pleasant experience and I have no intention of hitting it again, if I run another one. Start slower than you think you can run and be realistic about your fitness on the day.
Liverpool season in review:
“Exceeded expectations with an improbable title challenge. Brendan Rodgers has redesigned Liverpool in to a vibrant, attacking force. They evidently are not the finished article, but that makes the promise of what may follow even more exciting..”
My marathon journey review was a thoroughly enjoyable 4 months of training and racing with a collection of PB’s and many new friends made. The final run didn’t live up to expectations, but there is always Abingdon in October to look forward to now.