As you should know by know my plan for the year was to run four marathons, one in each of Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland for MND Scotland.
The start of October saw the English leg with the Chester marathon.
The start and finish were hosted in the Chester racecourse, easy to find, loads of parking, lots of facilities and close enough to the town centre for Elaine and Connor to simply wander over there without having to worry about public transport or moving the car.
The race started with a lap of the racecourse and then proceeded to run around the Chester town centre, passing through the historic town walls. The day prior to the event the area was very scenic. The day of the race, the cobbles were a killer, however it’s an effective way to force you to slow down!
For the first 10 miles or so I tucked in with some ladies from Ware Joggers who kept me entertained with their chat – I’m still not used to talking when running! It was at this point I got my first niggle, my toes started to throb – not something I had experienced before so I stopped, whipped my shoes off to re-arrange my socks. The problem was; wet socks! At the start, in the racecourse it is of course grass – wet grass. My feet had got wet – I knew this but there was nothing I could do – I had not brought a spare pair of socks, lesson learned for the next time!
With a blister on a toe on each foot I slipped my shoes on and restarted. I had lost my pacers by this point and I slowed down a little. I got to the half way mark in 2:30, spot on where I wanted to be but the heat was starting to build. By this point we were in the very scenic countryside and the hedgerows were keeping off the gentle breeze. I stopped and ditched by T-Shirt, running the rest of the race in my MND Scotland vest. At this point I inadvertently lost my padded fabric plasters which resulted in my other race day injury (see the coming photo for clarification).
My lack of real distance training was starting to be felt now and I resorted to a run/walk strategy for a bit. I had also crossed the border into Wales (does this count as an English AND a Welsh marathon?) I got a nice phone call from my better half around mile 19 and although welcome, the change from run walk to walk on the phone did my legs in! Everything cramped up. When I stretched, somewhere else cramped! I resorted to a couple of minutes of jogging backwards – what do you know it actually DOES work. I was glad though that by this point I was pretty much running own my own rather than having to explain what I was doing. The run/walk continued for another few miles until mile 23. At this point I hit my wall, I ended up walking for pretty much the whole mile before my brain kicked in – It’s “only” a parkrun to go – get a move on.
By this point we were coming back into Chester and there were road cones to separate the runners from the traffic. Run for 5 cones, walk for 2; then 6 and 2; then 7 and 2; it was not too long before I was running slowly again with no walking.
Just another very scenic but cobbled section along the river, under the bridge before heading back into the racecourse for a nice soft gallop to the finish line. I grabbed a quick chat with Bryan Burnett who was commentating before meeting up with Elaine and Connor for photos.
The location, the venue, the people, the support on the route, the organisation, they print your name on your race number (why does no one else do this?), live twitter/facebook updates as you cross a timing mat.
My lack of training, getting my feet wet at the start, the cold showers at the end. (Although getting a shower is unusual, the lack of hot water was probably due to my finishing time).
As I am doing Dublin marathon at the end of October I was “taking it easy” with this one but I was gutted when my time came in, 5:44; 27 seconds off my personal best ARGHHH!
If you would like to sponsor me for my final marathon then you can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/mndscotland
If you are interested in the stats:
1) – 1.61km – 10:33(6:34/km) – 196cal
2) – 1.61km – 10:27(6:30/km) – 201cal
3) – 1.61km – 10:24(6:28/km) – 199cal
4) – 1.61km – 10:35(6:35/km) – 200cal
5) – 1.61km – 10:39(6:37/km) – 201cal
6) – 1.61km – 10:30(6:31/km) – 200cal
7) – 1.61km – 10:57(6:48/km) – 200cal
8) – 1.61km – 10:57(6:48/km) – 205cal
9) – 1.61km – 10:54(6:47/km) – 203cal
10) – 1.61km – 12:18(7:39/km) – 196cal
11) – 1.61km – 12:21(7:41/km) – 182cal
12) – 1.61km – 12:10(7:34/km) – 189cal
13) – 1.61km – 15:05(9:22/km) – 163cal
14) – 1.61km – 13:51(8:36/km) – 176cal
15) – 1.61km – 12:54(8:01/km) – 180cal
16) – 1.61km – 15:10(9:26/km) – 154cal
17) – 1.61km – 15:22(9:33/km) – 162cal
18) – 1.61km – 15:58(9:55/km) – 148cal
19) – 1.61km – 15:29(9:37/km) – 158cal
20) – 1.61km – 14:01(8:43/km) – 165cal
21) – 1.61km – 14:55(9:16/km) – 158cal
22) – 1.61km – 14:28(8:59/km) – 160cal
23) – 1.61km – 19:19(12:00/km) – 136cal
24) – 1.61km – 14:12(8:50/km) – 159cal
25) – 1.61km – 13:48(8:34/km) – 170cal
26) – 1.61km – 13:50(8:36/km) – 162cal
27) – 0.51km – 5:58(11:41/km) – 58cal