4 hours 20 mins
My marathon did not go as the planned sub 4 hours. The first 20 miles where bang on target at 3 hours exactly and I ran an average of 8:41 for the first 17 miles or so. I maybe tapered a bit too much and skipped a few runs and I took my 16 years old girl out as she signed up for a 5km in June giving herself less than 4 weeks. I am not making excuses here but rather getting down all my thoughts about it. For my very first marathon at age 43 with only 3 year running at any consistency this was a successful run.
First off I've managed to avoid almost all the bugs and colds that have swept my family over the last few months. Except for the gastric bug they had the week before the marathon. They all had the runs and lots of wind, but this got me the 2 days before the marathon with a pain in my lower guts and no wind or the runs. I was bloated and constipated and could not really eat at all. In fact the day before the marathon I only had lunch and couldn't eat breakfast or any dinner. This is not like me as all.
So the day before the marathon I was concentrating on feeling ill and not getting excited or working out my plans or studying routes or maps for pacing. I was very unsure that I'd be running on the day and told the wife if this was a training run then I would skip it. I decided to run much against my own better advice as I thought it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.
Race day and my guts still felt like a solid lump and I couldn't tell if I needed a pee or not as nothing was coming out even if I tried. If you are reading this sorry. My big black bin bag was useful as the weather was horrid when I left the hotel as it was raining hard and very windy and the cold rain stung your face. Not pleasant at all in my delicate state. I did my last preps drunk some SIS and waited for the start. If I had to stop I would have to stop and would DNF (Did Not Finish); not the best mind set on the start line, but I was there and trying and that really mattered to me.
The run was good, my guts felt solid for the first 7 or so miles and I stopped for a pee and I lost few pints. I felt better and was trying to run at a consistent 8:45 or any under 9:00 was good. I got a bit of a high at 14 miles and really felt great. The weather was dull cloudy moving to windy hard cold rain moving to no wind and sun and then back round again. I stopped for another pee around the mile 17 and nothing came out. I was in a little less discomfort but still couldn't tell if I needed to go or not.
On the way round I noticed a few things; Hats: three or more about every mile, Gels: a lost gel every 300 yards and an eclectic mix of abandoned tops, jumpers and jackets throughout the course. You could have run the course and just picked up gels on the way round, the runners behind you might not have been too happy though at your sudden stops.
Things started to fall apart at mile 18 where I had a "micro rest" where I took a gel and some liquid. By mile 20 I was starting to really feel it and thought "I'm never doing this again" which I said in my first 10K, my first half marathon and now my first marathon. At mile 19 you leave a small forest which was dry and warm and you go straight back head first in to the wind and rain. I struggled on and got more and more exhausted, but mile 26 I was walking completely.
Lots of people shouted encouragement and I really thank them for it; but this has no influence on me at all and I'm out there for me and no one else. This is in my mind set and I see no other way to run any distance unless you want it yourself and need to prove it to yourself or it will just hurt more. I was hurting and I thought at one point in the last mile I was going to feint or be sick (I saw a lot of people being sick along the way) and a few people sitting with that horrid haunted look you see in the complete exhausted.
I ran the last few hundred yards and stumbled onto the very large queue to exit. I tried another pee and lost about 100ml of the brightest orange pee I've ever seen (orange gels?). Put on my free teeshirt, drunk my juice and munched the jelly beans from the pack.
Would I have run better had I not been ill?; maybe or maybe not. Next time I will know what to expect and I will have to carry more gels and less liquid; weight for weight I think the gels are better as there is water stations on the way round. The bus back to the start and centre of Edinburgh was about a 100 miles away, ok more like a half mile but it felt much longer. Getting off the bus was not pleasant and half the bus hobbled off.
Back at the hotel I lay in a hot bath drank some vimto and ate some sweets.
Thankfully the wife dragged me to the pool in the Hotel which was bliss as I was pain free and managed to float without any pressure on my joints and muscles. After that we went out for a big feed of home cooked lamb shank pie and a few pints.
Next day and I was good, really stiff in the morning and my guts were starting to feel better and I managed a huge breakfast.
Anyway there is always next year I've already pre-registered. So much for never doing another one!!