The alarm rudely woke me at 5.30 am,I didn’t feel like getting up as the weather forecast had promised me some pretty grim weather.
Can you even do a race without a flat lay first?
I had a solo drive over to York this time as my wife was double booked,this is the first time she hasnt come with me to a big race which is a miracle in itself with the amount of different races I do and my poor diary keeping skills !
The drive over was uneventful,coffee and naff early morning radio 1 kept me company.
There is no parking at the marathon event village and instead they operated a park and ride from the train station.
I met up with club mate Neal and his wife Amy while waiting in the bus queue. The buses were a nightmare ,not enough for the amount of runners and I heard stories of runners being late for the start!
We got to the event village in plenty of time fortunately but I just felt rushed,no idea why.I could of done with maybe using the loo one more time but the queues were massive so I took a gamble and hoped the rumble in my stomach was just nerves!
The rain while not as heavy as predicted was still coming down plenty and so I could keep my jacket on as long as possible Amy offered to look after my gear so I didn’t have to use bag drop.
9.15 we decided to head to the start and a rare bit of foresight meant I had brought two very fetching auto trader ponchos,they did the job and we looked super fashionable !
On the start line I told Neal my plans 6.28 min/mile and hold on as long as possible to try and hit 2.50 ,I knew this was very ambitious but sometimes you just have to roll the dice and go. I definitely was not going out faster than that ,no way no how.
Hand shakes,gun goes we are off!
First mile 6.08 – shit!
It took 10k or so to settle into a rhythm as the cold and rain kept my mind off my pacing!
The Yorkshire course is hillier than I expected ,I knew it was supposed to have a few bumps and while nothing major they did make a dent on effort levels.
First half went well and I went through in 1.23.42 ,about 2 mins up on my official half PB from 2016 !
I had been tucked in with a group of lads all aiming for 2.50 from about 4 miles in.The chit chat was the usual , how many miles in the build up ,how many 20 milers had been ran etc etc.
I felt like a fraud
Since Lakeland In July I have been a mix of conservative and lazy ,long runs had been scarce in fact since Lakeland I have done 1 x 20 with Dan Lawson on his jogle attempt a 15 miler hungover and a 16 miler ! I had no business being in this group , I was undertrained and running on stubbornness.
I fell off this group about 18 miles in ,I hope they finished well!
Just after falling off I spotted Neal coming back up the opposite side of the road ,he wasn’t lost it was a boring long out and back section! He looked super strong and we exchanged a quick shout before he disappeared into the distance.
By the 20 mile point I was really cold ,I hadn’t taken a drink from 16 miles as I couldn’t open the lids to get in them,this continued to the finish and I just decided to not bother getting a bottle from the remaining stations (not anyone’s fault, it can’t be easy making sure 1000s of bottle are open for precious runners who’s handies are cold !) .
Calf Cramp hit me around this point ,my right calf just seized up and no change of gait was easing it off. I knew to stop and stretch would of been game over as I would never of started up again!
I had opted to wear my new balance 1400 v5s ,I love this shoe but I think it was a little too light for full marathon distance ,mixed in with the bloody plantar fasciitis I’ve had for weeks ( I’ve tried everything to shift it ,ice ,massage ,stretching and voodoo! ) probably brought on the cramp.
The last six miles are a blur of cold ,cramp and demons. I had covered 20 miles quicker than I had ever before but all I wanted to do was stop ,I was no longer bothered about a PB. My normal mantra of counting up to four wasn’t working and my leg was not responded to my obscenities!
I had gone from wanting a 2.50 to not even being bothered if I hit sub 3! The only reason I continued on my shuffle was fear of getting even colder. The final two miles 7.08 and 7.24 ,almost a min slower than avg pace proved how far I had over stretched and the importance of long runs in training !
I came round to the final straight to cheers from Amy and Neal’s parents who had been kindly waiting for me to come in.I finished in 2.53.25 a massive 6 min PB and was absolutely over the moon,yes it wasn’t 2.50 but that goal doesn’t have to have a time limit and i know it is ripe for the taking.
I shoved some dry clothes on while Neal had a massage,I was in too much pain to even think about someone touching my calf.
A quick pint back in york with Neal and family to celebrate our PBs ( He was 9th in 2.38!). I had to then leave them to the celebrations and head on back home.
I arrived back to a victory bottle of whisky from my wife and a takeaway,the simple things in life are often the best.
So what’s next?
I’m going to chuck myself wholeheartedly into a hard XC season and of course the world famous Stockport 10