….and it’s done!
Bournemouth Marathon Festival is a great event; on Saturday I visited the race village and managed to see Swindon runner Gary O’Brien finish 2nd in the Supersonic 10k, before the Supernova 5k started – something that the Clayton family hope to participate in next year. The following morning, the half marathon was off at 8am before the marathoners took to the start line for 10am. The marathon route was great – coming from a landlocked town, there is always going to something special about a coastal run. There a few long out and back segments, which allow you to see the elite guys coming back the other way (at the start!), which I like, and I enjoyed the layout of the course; it is described as flat, but there are hills, however there are always going to be over that distance and I think they actually work really well. The ‘main’ hills are at miles 11 and 17, and I found them ok, having ran plenty of hills in training. Hills aside, the race itself didn’t go exactly as planned for me, but I really enjoyed the experience. I’m not commenting on whether or not I will do another one…
So, things that I have learnt, or that have been reaffirmed:
There is no substitute for time on feet. Emphasis on time, not mileage. If (MASSIVE “if”) I were to do this again, I would definitely do more runs of over 2 hours in duration. Looking at the process as a whole, in my lifetime I have ran for longer than 2 hours less than 10 times. In my lifetime. To run for almost double 2 hours with that background was always going to be tough.
A marathon is not simply two half marathons. I mean, technically it is…… but for me it is so much more. Many a wise man has said that a marathon is a race of 2 parts; a 20 miler and a 6 miler, and for lots of runners, the race “starts” at mile 20. For me, it was a race of 16 and 10. To break it into two half marathons, I ran a positive split (a slower second 13 miles) of 17 minutes. Oops.
You can’t control the elements. Pretty obvious, in reality. I’m not one to look for excuses (ha!), but the weather was warmer than forecast (to which my wife’s sunburnt nose will attest 😉 ), and this did throw out my fuelling a little. Expect the unexpected; Failure to prepare… etc etc
The crowd really does help. Support is so, so important. I had my DC Injury Clinic T-shirt on (standard!) and had lots and lots of shouts of “c’mon DC”, which was really lovely. Also, seeing lots of Swindon faces in the crowd, hearing their support, really meant a lot and at time when you are physically and emotionally drained it is a great pick me up. Also, seeing friends, my incredibly supportive wife, my two little girls (who were far more interested in the sand than daddy running!) and my parents was amazing. I thank you all. Marathon running is a team event.
Its a psychological battle. At mile 16.5, I was done. Finite. Show me the way to go home. I suffered from cramp in both of my calves, something I had never suffered from previously, and my head literally said “you can not do this” – see the pictures below, courtesy of Greg Wells, and witness a heart breaking.
If I am proud of anything from Sunday, it is that after giving myself a few stern talking to’s, I picked myself up and carried on.
When I was 17, I was told that I should stop playing football, and that I was to never run on roads as I had “shin splints”. It took me a while, but on Sunday 2nd October, 2016, I ran a marathon. It didn’t go 100% to plan, but that doesn’t matter. I ran not for a “time”, but for no other reason than I can. Because I get to. Because it is a privilege not afforded to everyone, which is something I see day-in day-out.
And do you know what? I’ll probably do it again.
Song; Chvrches – Make It Gold
N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldn’t be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.