Last weeks total mileage was 83 and off the back of a full training marathon week last Sunday.
Goal for race was to simply test marathon pace and make a call whether Harry Green’s 2.38.16 is on the cards.
Short Answer = Yes it is
Drove over with fellow Turbo and sub 10 Ironman Ryan Tomlinson. Bit my lip on the drive over making a point of not making any excuses. Wanted positivity all the way although had a bunch of things in my head.
So we parked close up to the start which is always a bonus given the lack of car parking round Ruislip. Race HQ was a classic village hall affair and it wasn’t half sweaty and hot in there. Bet the scenes weren’t a million miles away from the original 1930s Finchley 20. Simple curtain for mens changing. Suppose the presence of compression wear would be the only different. Same fart smells and tightly packed skinny bodies.
“Start is delayed 5 mins”
Get in. A little more stretching time. Then the hall starts to empty pretty rapidly so me and Ryan make our way 200m down to the start. Only to fecking see 750 runners heading towards us as the gun goes. Slight panic hits as we make the decision to do the honourable thing and sprint for the start line. In short we lost around 15-20s. I was beginning to wonder if my number (666) was going to bite back. I’ve never missed a race start before but I guess there’s always a first time for everything.
So the first few hundred metres had my carefully controlled Garmin 310XT race buddy 6.02s average thing right out of the window. In fact in the scramble I’d not even had chance to get a satelite lock down so wasn’t getting a signal.
The competitive soul in me was fuming. I was mad that my rivals had stolen a good 150m on me and was determined to plonk myself back into the mix. So elbowed and bullied my way through the crowds back up to the top 20 ish. Would imagine I was 5 mins per mile at this stage which isn’t ideal at the start of a 20 mile race. 0.4 of a mile in (I worked this out at the 1 mile point) the Garmin was on so I pressed the start button. At least I’d get an accurate average min mile pace from that point (And it wasn’t going to be faster than that first 0.4 miles right?).
I was now progressing round the first lap and learning what the course had in store. It was a 4 lap 5 mile loop. Was in about 20th and now making slow progress ticking off people. Then it started to pour down with rain.
Then I discovered that “undulating” wasn’t even Norfolk hills. There were some drags and even some steep sections. In fact on reflection……hardly any of it was what you could call flat. Also had some Ealing style sections through housing estates.
Lap 1 done in a shade under 30 mins, Lap 2 and 10 miles went by in a shade over 1 hour and onto Lap 3 the rain was still coming down. I was in a very small group of 3 and we were working nicely. Then I noticed them starting to fade so i pushed on alone. Perceived effort was that 6 mins per mile is pushing….but somehow it’s a comfortable push. I was dropping a gel every 25 mins and managed 4 in total (2 with caffeine). Energy wise I was fine.
Final lap and totally solo effort. Was glad to see the finish and imagined how another 6.2 miles would feel. I was fine energy wise and with a finish time of 2.01.02 (or 2.00.47) I was there or there abouts for my target average of 6.02s (Harry Greens record).
I was shocked to get a bronze medal thrust round my neck as 3rd in Middlesex Champs. Chuffed about that actually. Middlesex is a famous running county. I was 15th overall and glad to see that Ben Fish (Blackburn Harriers) showed the Southern Wufter Phil Wicks (2.15 marathoner) a clean pair of heels. Also spent a very enjoyable evening last night reading all about Bill Adcocks.
So what does all this mean?
1) I can run long and fast while not rested AND crucially on a much tougher course than London
2) I can go for 6 mins per mile at London knowing even a 44 min last 10k would bring me under the magic 2.45
3) I’m capable of breaking a 100 year old old World Record
4) I’ll be honest. I raced the last 10 miles yesterday. But somehow having not raced the first 10 miles it was alright……interesting