Tuesday, 10 July 2012

It's the end of the road (as we know it)

The book that started it all!

Born to Run - Chris Mcdougall

What I won't go into is an in-depth review of the book. I have to admit I loved it and could have carried on reading it as I didn't want it to end.

As I've already said, one of the main reasons for buying the book was that I was interested in swapping road running for off-road long distance as I was growing more frustrated with endless tarmac and min/mile targets and clock watching.

I'd spent almost every day for 4 months training for London Marathon and went through the pain that most of us go through i.e. early starts for morning runs, snow and the physical pain of the miles building. I was spending the same amount of time and money as I do every year on new anti-pronation footwear, insoles and physio.

Well I got to the start of London feeling great and set about joining the Runners World Magazine sub 4 hr group. Well the conditions were a little warm but not bad and till about 10 miles I was feeling ok but then the wheels fell off big time! By the halfway point I'd dropped back from the pacing group and I felt like I'd already hit the wall as I noticed a real lack of energy exactly as I did in last years race.

I'd had a bout of stomach flu a couple of weeks before and I don't think I was 100% over it as I started getting painful cramps that slowed me down to a walking pace from 17 miles. Well I dragged myself around to finish in 4.30 and even though it was the first marathon that I'd run the whole way round, I was done, game over.

I decided then NEVER to run another marathon as this was my 3rd London and I have to admit I hated it. The crowds were huge and I couldn't move in the first half of the race getting hit from all sides and I always find the second half of the race hard and visually dull.

When I spoke to some friends at the finish, many said the same thing and we all decided that off-road might be the way forward for all of us? Well I got home and....... YES you guessed it, I entered London again next year! I just can't help myself :( I have decided though to treat it like a training run and maybe even don some fancy dress IF I get in.

What I also did was stick to my guns on committing to off-road races and entered the 3 Forts South Downs Marathon (nick-named "the tough one") which was a couple of weeks away and Beachy Head Marathon in October. 3 Forts was actually a 27 miler and I turned up near Brighton on the day with a plan to enjoy the views and not look at the watch in the race.

I found the first 20 miles quite easy but started to feel it for the last 7 miles. I had no idea of the time I'd taken and thought it was slow as the weather was poor and the ground very boggy at times BUT when I raced to the finish and looked at the clock I was pleased to see 5 hrs 13 mins.... not bad and I loved it!

It's all downhill from here!

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