Most would have said the weather was good, I beg to differ it was waaay too hot!
On the plus side I’m sure that helped bring out more spectators who really helped spur me on and yes the garden hoses and sprinklers WERE appreciated!
The golden rule is to have practiced everything and have no new kit on race day.
Due to the heat in the days leading up and the forecast I decided to treat myself to a new belt with a bottle holder built in. Unfortunately this was not really up to the job and my bottle jumped out the holder in the first few yards after crossing the start line.
Due to the excitement of the start I even forgot to start the timer on my watch so it was a few minutes after crossing the start line before my watch started. My watch gave me a time of 6:23:24 and my official time was 6:34:05. I had also made sure that my watch had a new battery but I had not double checked the settings and I ended up having to fiddle with it during the run to get it set properly. My Garmin FR50 was complaining over the last few miles of low memory, I’ll either have to buy a new watch or speed up: I’m “cheap” so I’ll have to keep up the training !
No real injuries to speak of, the plasters on my nipples fell off so I had to get some emergency vaseline from the first aiders at mile 8. I finished with a small blister on each heel, but this was due to the fact I did more walking than running in the latter stages.
Obviously I’m stiff and sore today but I’m keeping moving to prevent complete seizure.
The web site has the following timings.
10k – 01:13:11
Half – 00:00:00
30k – 04:21:43
Finish – 06:34:05
The time from my watch for the half was ~2:45 which was exactly the pace I was aiming to maintain.
Unfortunately it was just after mile 14, just before 13:00 that the heat really started to hit home: I started to take dizzy spells, tunnel vision and felt nausious. I gave myself a good long walking break and doubled up on the water: one for drinking and one over my head and down the back of my neck.
This really was the beginning of the end, I started to get twinges in my legs due to walking and any time I started to jog my calf screamed almost as loud as my head. I was still determined to finish even if I had to walk.
My mind “broke” at mile 17, just prior to the furthest point when two chaps towing car tires behind them jogged past. I almost wept. I resigned myself to not finishing. This point in the course really is in the middle of nowhere so I decided I had to walk the course until I got back onto the main road. Even though this was the hottest point of the course I decided to just go one more mile. I was the one with my head down, blinded by sweat and factor 50 staggering all over the road. Somehow I managed two miles in this state until I got to mile 20.
At mile twenty I realised that it’s against the rules to drop out once you get to mile 20 as it’s only 10k from the end and 10k is “easy”. My mind trick worked and I picked up the pace from a stagger to a brisk walk, even managing to break back into a jog for the final part of the finishing straight.
Angus (10k: 00:49:49, Half: 01:46:09, 30k: 02:35:11, Marathon: 03:42:32) for motivation and Paul for getting me to the race on time!
Thanks to all the supporters and volunteers on the day for enduring the heat, cheering us on and providing the cool showers from garden hoses and copius bottles of water!
Sophie Wells from Parkrun, it was your cheering on the finish straight that spurred me back into a jog!
Moira and John (driving the sweepbus), also from Parkrun, pleased to have seen you when passing the racecourse but more pleased to have NOT seen you again.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who was so kind and generous in leaving a donation or kind words of support at http://www.justgiving.com/26miles4chas. The page will be staying active as Paul intends to run 26 competitive miles over the coming year, he was injured so could not compete in the marathon.