Ran this with my twin brother Jeff. Weather wet and cool. We adopted a run/walk pattern to maximise the chances of Jeff completing it with recent recovery from Achilles trouble. It was a good call, helped us both at times, and our finish time was the best we could reasonably have expected.
The weather really was horrible and the slight breeze chilled my hands badly. Good job I’d layered up well. Noted the need for an unusual number of pit stops.
As usual we smiled our way around, and got a good shout out from the finish line announcer – “TWIIIINS!!”
Distance: official 26.2 miles; Tom Tom 26.3 miles
Time: official 4:38:35; Tom Tom 4:38:36
Avg pace: 10:28 min/mile
Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10
A foggy, cold start for this race. Stayed in York for the weekend, so we had a comfortable walk to the start line. Apart from feeling the usual stress and aggression from the taper I didn’t feel particularly well prepared physically. A slight Achilles niggle was bound to come on at some point, and I felt strong but not bouncing with energy.
Of course, I ran with Jeff, my twin brother. We were interviewed by a reporter at the start. Better start line music this year, not opera like 2013. Set off at a steady pace, around 5:40 min/km for the first part. A cameraman on a motorbike filmed us at 9km, and at 19km he passed us again and asked us to talk to camera for a minute. Wonder if we will survive the editor’s cut this year?
Felt reasonable at halfway, but I knew two out-and-back sections were coming up that would test mental strength. Another chap started running with us, and this distracted me and passed a good few miles. Jeff went through a quiet patch of internal focus, but said later the chat had helped him through. Leaving the out-and-back section at about 18 miles I thought I was going to finish OK as long as I could keep the rhythm I’d settled in to. Our running friend from Northallerton stopped to stretch at 22 miles, we carried on.
One part of the race I recall a bunch of runners following quite closely behind, like we were a pacing team. For fun I started chanting 1-2-3-4 marine yomping style. Afterwards someone said they had followed us for a bit and we’d helped them through a tough patch.
The last six miles were tough and a from a long way out I was wishing for the left turn up the hill to the university. The crowds and stewards throughout were great, the support really helping when it got tough. Two miles out my left foot began to feel quite sore. After miles and miles waiting for the left turn I was surprised when it was actually there, a bit nearer than I’d expected on that stretch of road. And the hill, though steep, wasn’t as bad as I remembered from last year. I didn’t have much left for the last part downhill to the finish so couldn’t sprint. Just paced it to the end, smiled for the cameras, and felt relief at getting round running it all and not destroyed.
Walking round the finishers area I started to feel stiffening around my right hip (adductors?) which made me walk oddly, dragging my right leg a bit. Otherwise just tired and hungry. Drank water at every water station, just a gulp of sports drink, and had gels at the start, 8km, 17km, 25km, and 33km. Think I managed hydration and energy levels quite well, stopping for pit stop 3 times and not suffering a big energy fade. Because of that, while I had tough spells noticing aches and pains, I avoided the severe internal focus I had for the last six miles at London. I also avoided emotional extremes like the end part of Berlin, Manchester #1 and to a lesser extent London.
So pleased we both survived and finished together. We had set out to just enjoy this race (like we always do) but it also resulted in a PB for me – 4:14:34. My best marathon previously was 4:25 and last year at Yorkshire my time was 4:40. The conditions helped – cool, no wind, bit of moisture. Actually got a bit of sunburn on shoulders, arms, back of knees and solar panel, from the last hour when the weak sun broke through. The fog also meant we could only see a limited way up the road, hiding the long stretches of road which can be demotivating. Overall, I think we paced this race well, easing off slightly where necessary. Also, we avoided weaving in and out of slower runners. Experience counts. Now I need to decide which race to do next Spring….
Official distance: 42.2km
Official time: 4:14:34
Garmin distance: 42.45km
Garmin time: 4:14:33
Avg HR: 153bpm
Avg pace: 6:00 min/km
Was surprised to see Jeff in running gear ready to attempt the race today, in spite of sore ribs from a bad bike fall. But I was very grateful for the company. The start seemed to be delayed, but I’d just misread the programme as 09:00 start instead of 09:30. That gave more time for painfully loud singing from a classical singer, from her new album. I won’t be adding it to my Christmas wish list, and feared they might put a copy in the race goody bags.
We got going after a light rain shower, and the weather was mostly sunny and warm, with a strong wind on the exposed parts of the route. I wasn’t sure if Jeff would pull out early on because of rib pain, but we carefully managed the pace and kept going. I’d had a small porridge at home 5 hours before the start and planned to stick to my gels and water, to avoid stomach problems. It worked.
About halfway I felt my left hip/adductor and over the next few miles this affected my gait and my left knee and eventually my foot hurt quite a lot. Running in step with Jeff kept me going, or I’d have quit or walked at that point. My pace slowed a lot and we kept going through to mile 23. Then I had to walk, but we were probably walking just as fast as my slowest run anyway.
There were lots and lots of stewards/marshalls throughout the route, all giving loud encouragement. Many parts of the course had big crowds, also supportive, but there were some quiet parts too. Nice and frequent water stops kept us hydrated. I wonder if the clip filmed from the TV camera motorcycle will be edited into the highlights programme?
The course wasn’t flat. In fact Jacqui even overheard the elite runners complaining about the hills, especially the last mile. Perhaps my lack of energy was partly due to the hills, and partly due to the heat. I also need to get a bit leaner if/when I do another marathon. Discussed with Jeff the Fink book on marathoning for over 40s, a different training approach.
The goody bag did not include that awful CD. It did include some strawberry jam and a couple of chewy bars. And a bundle of leaflets that closely resembled junk mail.
Injuries include a blister on middle toe right foot, a bit of chafing at the top of my legs and under the HR strap elastic, and sore adductors (I think that’s what they are). Not bad, and the low energy was swiftly replaced.
A good, tough run, and I’m surprised and pleased that Jeff got all the way round with me. Our medals and finishers shirts have been well earned!
Official distance: 42.2km
Official (chip) time: 4:40:23
Garmin distance: 42.28km
Garmin time: 4:40:24
Avg HR: 147bpm
Avg pace: 6:38 min/km