Scott wanted to do another half marathon and I needed a training run. I decide that it would be a good idea to celebrate my birthday by running the Meadows Marathon while Scott runs the half. I'll pace him to a pb and then continue my training run. The entire course is just down the road and my sick head thinks that I'll probably enjoy running around in circles.
Pre-race - we had to walk to a grass area for our ‘warm up’. It was freezing cold and there were some numpty’s dancing on a stage. There are too many rich English students in dress-up. Gahh.
Lap 1 – we started right at the back as I needed to nip to the toilet. Had to jump around lions and tigers most of the lap. We go through a tiny bit slower than our set pace but I knew that would happen.
Lap 2 – at one point I exclaim that I can’t keep up as we are running too fast for me. Continuing to pass zoo animals. We make up the time from the first lap.
Lap 3 – we pass Carrie who is running the half marathon too. She wasn’t sure if she could run the full in four hours so opted for the half. She totally could have run it in time. We are still passing everyone.
Lap 4 – keeping an even pace throughout the lap it feels. Are maybe 20 seconds ahead of schedule. A zebra smacks Scott in the jaw whilst being a numpty for a camera. I’m starting to feel really good so I’ve finally warmed up.
Lap 5 – I can’t really remember as there were many laps but I think we carve another 20 seconds off the schedule. It starts to hail. This makes my legs hurt.
Lap 6 – the hail stops but we are still hard-core for running in it. We’re getting lapped by the leading men and women now. Some of the women look like they need a feed but unfortunately I’ve got no food to offer them.
Lap 7 – last lap for Scott!! Premature acceleration from some people around us but I know better. I pick up the pace in the second half of the lap and can feel Scott trailing. It was probably unfair as I had a touch of a gel the lap before and feel like I’m flying. I push Scott hard and he gets in under his aim of 1:38:30.
Lap 8 – I’ve not seen the splits but I fancy this lap as a fast one. At this point I can’t tell who is running the half and who is running the full but I know I’m running them all down. As you come to the end of the lap you run up a wee incline on the cobblestones and you can see people who are on the lap ahead of you. I guess that they are about two minutes ahead if you see them when you reach the top of the hill. So I see a lady who I am confident is running the full (otherwise she would have finished by now judging on her pace). She’d be about two minutes ahead of me.
Lap 9 – I’m really hungry but demolishing the crowd. I pass a girl who I’m pretty sure is running the full. There are still a few people who I am not sure whether they are running the half or the full. As I near the end of the lap I see the same woman as I did on the previous lap and I’ve gained a bit on her. I hear spectators comment as I pass them; ‘she’s going fast’ and then ‘yeah she was going speedy on the last lap too’. So I dig it in a bit more.
Lap 10 – I yell at Scott to buy me a banana. I’m hank marvin. I’m also a machine through the one amateur water station. I’m like an experienced Olympic runner going through them. I pass another girl running the full who is struggling but I am pretty sure was ahead of me. I gain a little bit more on the leading woman but doing so slowly.
Lap 11 – I eat some banana and this is the highlight of my day. My legs are really hurting but I don’t think I’m slowing down. There are barely any spectators left.
Lap 12 – I catch the woman I was chasing at the end of this lap. I really zoomed up on her so am thinking that she’s starting to struggle. We come through the end of the lap together and both get called for three laps to go. I’m pretty sure that we are leading the women’s race. I saw this woman out running the weekend before too. I eat some more banana and Scott squirts lucozade in my face.
Lap 13 – I’m contemplating just sitting behind the woman for the last few laps because three laps is still a long way to go and am nervous that if I make a go for it I won’t be able to hold the speed as my legs are really sore. But then I think that in long distance running you are supposed to jet away from your opponent so I put a burst in. I've left her in the dust but I don’t know it. I start lapping marathon runners. Some fat women are still walking the half.
Lap 14 – I don’t see the woman at the end of the last lap so I take that to mean she is less than 100 metres behind me. There’s a head wind on one stretch of the course and it really makes me struggle. The leading man laps me but that’s ok because I’m winning too. I don’t think anyone realises that yet though. Scott says he really saw me struggling on this lap. I personally felt like I was struggling for the last few but glad it wasn’t showing too bad. I know that if I can keep my pace I will finish just under 3:30.
Lap 15 – I haven’t seen the woman again so glance around about a quarter into the lap and can’t see her so I know I have a decent lead. I focus on my technique because my legs are on fire. I thank all the non-existent fans and a few marshals as I run past. They don’t even know I'm winning. I struggle up the last hill and finish with a wee burst. They have to check to see if I have won because they are numpty’s but of course I have. I chased that field down. I think the woman I keep mentioning comes third. I think that there are about five women in the race in total. The lovely second placed woman comes in witht he time of 3:35 and asks if I think I’ll do another marathon. Lady, I’m an ultra-runner.
The half-marathon was shorter than half-marathon distance and the full marathon was longer than full-marathon distance. Which totally means it was an ultra.