In Which I (Painfully) Finish My Second Marathon
Saturday 19th October
I’d been following my carbing up plan quite well and felt good about how it had gone. Myself and Sarah went out for dinner with Sarahs mum and dad (Susan and Ironman Tony) and I had a chip sandwich.
Me and Sarah then went to Sports Direct to buy some last minute marathon things like a gel belt, running socks, energy bars and… well, these (not for the marathon)
Afterwards we got home and I packed my bag as I was staying in the Premier Inn in York so I could be ready for the run in the morning. Sarah was having to work on the Sunday so she was staying at home with the cats.
She dropped me at the train station just before 7pm and I got stuck behind a bloke who was using the ticket machine. The machine had a large sign on it saying ‘Credit/Debit cards only’ but that didn’t stop him trying to insert coins. Even though there was no coin slot, just the card slot. Aware of how close it was getting to the train arriving, I stepped in.
‘I think it only takes cards.’ I said.
‘No, it takes coins.’ He replied.
‘Pretty sure it’s just cards.’
‘No, it’d say if it only took cards.’
‘It does, on that sign.’
Anyway, after I bought my ticket (using a card) I had about two minutes to spare before the train came. I got on it just in time, and settled in for the hour journey to York.
When I arrived in York it was pouring down, not a good sign for the marathon. Luckily the hotel was only a few minutes walk from the station and check-in was nice and quick. I got to the room and noticed something… SUPER KING SIZED BED! Awesome.
I had a bath, then laid out my gear for the morning.
I got into my massive bed and watched The Hulk (wasn’t incredible) then tried to sleep.
Sunday 20th October
01:30 Woke up.
02:45 Woke up.
04:15 Woke up.
05:55 Woke up.
06:00 Alarm went off, but luckily I was already awake.
I forced myself to eat some porridge and had a coffee with lots of sugar. I then got ready in all my race kit and made sure I had everything.
I’d booked onto a transfer coach from York Train Station which said I could be on it anytime between 07:30 and 08:00. I checked out and wandered down to the station and got there about 07:10 so carried on walking and had a little wander down over the river to York Minster. I took a picture, but have made it into a motivational picture so it’s at the end of the blog entry. Down there *Down pointing arrow*
After walking back to the station, I got on a bus which was full of nervous looking people. I sat upstairs (because I’m cool) and an elderly bloke got on and sat next to me. I got chatting to him and it turns out he was 65 years old and he goes around the world, running on average A MARATHON A MONTH.
He had on a Boston Marathon finishers jacket from 1999 so I said that he must be fast. ‘Not really,’ he said ‘I didn’t get there through qualification. I know one of the Kennedy family.’
‘Kennedy family as in… the former President?’
‘That’s them.’ He said. Then followed it with:
‘Had a police escort from the airport and back too.’ AS THOUGH THIS WAS A NORMAL THING TO SAY!
Before too long we arrived at York University where the race was starting and ending and myself and the gentleman wished each other luck. We then both ended up walking in the same direction, the direction of the race (seeing as though that’s why we were there.)
We chatted a bit more then I said that I was going to the baggage drop so we wished each other good luck again and went our seperate ways. Except that when I’d dropped my baggage, I queued for the toilet and ended up stood next to the same bloke again. He was chatting to someone else though, so I didn’t have to make anymore conversation.
Until after I came out of the toilets and he noticed me, so I did what any polite Englishman would do and wished him luck.
I followed the signs to the start of the race and got into the correct section for my predicted time. For the past few days I’d been talking to people on Twitter about the race and told a few people that I’d keep an eye out for their race numbers. As I looked around I noticed a name and a number on a bloke, who as it turns out was Rob who I tweet with!
I approached him and introduced myself and we had a chat while we were waiting for the run to begin. It started pretty much bang on 09:30 and then we were off, I was running my 2nd ever marathon!
There was another bloke alongside myself and Rob (Dave, I think) that Rob had met that morning, and he had a Garmin watch so we stayed with him for a bit as he was updating us with pace. My immediate plan was to stay chatting with Rob for as long as I could, then work out another plan.
The first couple miles of the run took us towards the city centre where we ran passed a few pubs that I like going in, then around the Minster and away from York. The crowds so far were amazing, especially near the Minster where they were 2-3 deep.
I stuck with Rob until about mile 4 -5 where I had a call of nature and veered off. By the time I got back on the course, Rob was well away so my new-immediate plan became to keep running until the Energy Drink station at mile 6.
Mile 6 went by and then soon after the 10k clock was in view. My first 10k of the 42k was done in 59:13 (My 2nd quickest ever 10k!)
At around mile 7 (I think) I saw Ironman Tony, Susan and Hannah in the crowd cheering me on. I waved, and kept on running. It gave me a nice boost to see familiar faces. After that the sun came out and made it a very warm run.
The next boost I got was being high fived by a female vicar in full sunday vicar-dress outside a church.
Before too long I was into double figures for the millage, having gone passed the 10 mile point.
The next few miles went by, soaking up the cheers from the crowd lining the route, and I was very happy to see the 20k clock as it meant the halfway point wasn’t too far ahead.
2nd 10k done in 01:03:10
1/2 Marathon: 02:10:24
Had to give myself a bit of a talking to around mile 14 due to starting to get tired and negative thoughts coming into my head. I told myself that I can have 3 minutes of walking, then I have to zip up my man suit and get on with the marathon. Which is exactly what I did.
So far, so good. On target for finishing in under 04:30 too!
That was until I got to about mile 16 and a tosser tossed an empty bottle down at his feet instead of to the side, which meant that it went under my foot and caused me to slip slightly, but enough to twist my left knee.
I felt a jolt in my knee, but it didn’t feel too bad so on I ran. By now I’d got into a run/walk rhythm where I was running for 5 minutes then walking for 30 seconds.
Just after mile 18 I heard someone coming in the opposite direction shout ‘Marc! Marc Hemingway!’ and it turns out it was Rachael, also from Twitter. Plus I’d recognised Gemma from Twitter who said she was going to be cheering everyone on from the Mile 18 marker (and she was!) It’s little things like this that cheer you up when you feel rubbish.
I eventually reached the 30k clock and the third 10k was done in a time of 01:03:29, only a few seconds slower than my 2nd 10k section.
By the time I’d reached mile 20 my knee was hurting, and felt like it had a bit of swelling.
But still, I was in the last 10k of the marathon so was feeling good about myself. I couldn’t run nearly as much as I would’ve liked due to the throbbing in my knee so started running 100 paces and then walking 50.
I’d printed off a split-time race thing which I’d fastened onto my wrist and with each mile could see that the 04:30 finish was getting further and further away. Nothing to be done about that now though, so didn’t let it get to me.
I’d been taking on energy gels roughly ever 45 minutes so didn’t feel drained. There were water stations ever 3 miles and Energy drink stations every 6 so was nicely hydrated still.
The mile markers were passing slower than earlier, but still passing.
I reached mile 23 and told myself there was only 5k to go. The sun was beaming by this point, so made sure I kept sipping at my water bottle.
I reached mile 24.
Then mile 25.
On the corner just after Mile 25 I heard Ironman Tony shouting me from the side, so I smiled for a photo and then carried on for the last bit of the run. Then, at roughly mile 25 1/2, was a nice hill to run up. Bastards.
Pretty much walked all the way to the top and Mile marker 26, and a little further the end, was in sight. The crowd was cheering and shouting everyones names from their race numbers all the way to the end and I finally crossed, arms in the air, in a time of 04:48:19.
Slower than I wanted, but a new personal PB by almost 8 minutes.
I made my way through the finishers section where I picked up my T-Shirt and Medal, and then went and met up with the In-Laws. We went for a beer.
When I got home I recovered with a cold bath, followed by beer and chinese food. Sarah got home from work around 10:30 and had brought me a McFlurry (Mississippi Mud Pie flavour.)
After Blackpool Marathon it took about 6 weeks for my legs to get back to normal, but three days after York I’m almost back to normal already. Apart from a couple of little blisters, and a sore knee, I didn’t get any major problems.
After I finished the marathon I said that that’s it for running for a while and that I’m not going to sign up to anything longer than a 10K for ages.
EDIT: I’m now pre-registered for York Marathon 2014.