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It’s a marathon, not a sprint

I completed the 2011 London Marathon in 4h 28m 51s.  That’s about three minutes faster than the last one (and the course was more congested this year, it was really hot, I was wearing a large nylon wig etc etc).

My target throughout training was 4h 20m (just under ten-minute miles), and I was more or less bang on for it up until 18 miles.  I gave the 10-minute-miling pacers a two minute head-start, caught them up by around mile five, and stuck with them until we left Canary Wharf at around 19 miles.  Here my thighs started to cramp and get really tight, which shortened my stride and slowed me down.  For the next four or five miles I just about kept the pacers in sight , so I’d have been looking at around 4:22 and still have been really pleased.  At 25 miles, on the Embankment, I was still running (even though I was being overtaken by the faster walkers!).

Then something suddenly popped in my left inside thigh and all I could do was hobble along.  The crowd was fantastic and hundreds of people shouted me on – after half a mile I’d stretched whatever had happened in my leg out enough to jog again, and after the last corner I managed to cross the finish line running and smiling.

So I don’t know if my body’s trying to tell me I’m a four-and-half-hour marathon man and that’s it, or that if I’d done one or two more long training runs I could have knocked over ten minutes off my previous best.  There’s only one way to find out, and I’m not planning on doing that again.  Well – for now!

Thank you again to everyone who donated (cash or cakes) to help me meet my fundraising target – I raised £2,038 for the Spinal Injuries Association.  And thank you Pip for baby-sitting for hours every Saturday since Christmas, more or less, while I was out enjoying myself on 15 mile runs in the rain.

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