Sunday, April 26, 2009

London Marathon 2:41:21

Woke up at around 6am and went back to my original hotel room to gather my gear. I woke up my Dad who was unaware I had moved rooms for the night...

Breakfast was a cup of coffee, a banana, some rice pudding. Delicious.

We were leaving at 8am to get to the start. I met up with the rest of the CoNAC runners in the hotel lobby and we had a short walk before catching 2 trains and the light railway to Greenwich.

I made my way to the blue start and started to get a bit nervous. The enormity of this event was starting to hit me. There were runners and supporters everywhere.

I headed over the Championship start area. We had our own section to get changed, drop off bags, go to the toilet, warm-up, etc. Again, the organisation was first class. At about 9:30 I dropped off my bag, had my first energy gel, had a quick toilet break, and started to line up with the other Championship runners. I was fired up and ready to go. The quads were still a little sore pre marathon bashing but I was confident the knee was going to be okay.

We were slowly edging up towards the start line. Once we arrived at the start, the elite runners were then called in front of us. I would estimate I was 3-4 rows from the start right behind Marty Dent. It was showtime.

The gun went off and we were racing. The actual race itself was a bit of a blur. I knew straight away that the knee felt good. The first thing you notice is the crowd support. Absolutely incredible. In some places it is simply a wall of sound. I had written my name on my singlet and that was one of the best decisions I made. People cheering you on as if they are your best mates. I was in awe of this.

The pace I started out at was too quick. It was difficult not to get carried away, the adrenaline was pumping. I went through 5km in 17:40 and 10km in 35:32. I felt good and my instructions were to go out hard if feeling this way. The first half of the race was over in a flash and I remember seeing the clock at the half marathon point, 1:16:20. That's only a second outside my half PB, surely I was going to pay for this.

Sure enough, the mile splits were getting slower and slower and by 16miles, the goose was cooked. I was going to have to hang on the last 10 miles. That's a long time. The legs were feeling very heavy and I could feel the elbow impressions from the massage on Friday. That said, the knee was giving me no problems.

So the sub 6 minute miles were creeping up to 6:30's. By the time I reached 20 miles in just under 2hours I knew it would be a huge effort to get the sub 2hr40. It was a case of concentrating on the next mile and when that felt like a long way, breaking it down into even smaller units of distance or time.

I was struggling and despite getting overtaken by numerous runners, some of them women, I knew that my actual running was okay. Not quick but I was not grinding away on my axles. Slowly but surely I got to 40km in 2hr32 and knew that I had no chance of running the last 2.2km in under 8 minutes. So I put the head down, gritted the teeth, and went through each long slow minute. The final section up the Embankment seemed like an eternity. A mate of mine in the crowd started running beside me, the other side of the crowd barriers. I was so exhausted that at first I hardly recognised him but when I did that certainly gave me a lift. The final turn and I could see the finishing clock. A bit of show-boating later I had crossed the line in 2:41:21 finishing 207th overall.

So am I happy? Absolutely. Okay I missed my goal time of sub 2hr 40 but to still run a 2min 34 second PB was great. It just means that I'll have to run another marathon to reach my goal time...!

Here are my mile splits:

1 0:05:44 0:05:44
2 0:05:45 0:11:29
3 0:05:34 0:17:03
4 0:05:43 0:22:46
5 0:05:44 0:28:30
6 0:05:45 0:34:15
7 0:05:52 0:40:07
8 0:05:48 0:45:55
9 0:05:55 0:51:50
10 0:05:52 0:57:42
11 0:05:57 1:03:39
12 0:05:56 1:09:35
13 0:06:04 1:15:39
14 0:06:02 1:21:41
15 0:06:11 1:27:52
16 0:06:11 1:34:03
17 0:06:30 1:40:33
18 0:06:10 1:46:43
19 0:06:30 1:53:13
20 0:06:30 1:59:43
21 0:06:35 2:06:18
22 0:06:41 2:12:59
23 0:06:31 2:19:30
24 0:06:32 2:26:02
25 0:07:06 2:33:08
26 0:06:45 2:39:53
Total 0:01:28 2:41:21

Here are the weekly kms in training for the 15 weeks up to and including the marathon:

1 76.5 kms
2 82.5 kms
3 92.9 kms
4 80.2 kms
5 94.5 kms
6 100.8 kms
7 92.0 kms
8 80.2 kms
9 105.0 kms
10 90.0 kms
11 67.2 kms
12 69.7 kms
13 91.7 kms
14 64.6 kms
15 66.2 kms

Total 1254.0 kms
Average 83.6 kms

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Travel to London

We left Norwich at 10am and headed for London. We were staying just outside London in Barking, Essex. We had the sat-nav programmed so all was good. As we approached the hotel we had a few dramas with missing turn-offs, doubling back on ourselves, and Saturday football traffic. It must have taken well over 1 hour to get the final few kms to the hotel. Anyway, we arrived safely and checked into the hotel.

We decided to head straight to the expo to pick up my race number. We got a taxi there (1o quid), and then quickly picked up my race number and chip. All very well organised. As my Dad said, he had never seen so many thin people in one place. Lots of stands to see at but we didn't spend too long looking round as I wanted to stay off my feet. We hopped into a cab back to Barking and encountered the same traffic again as we had done earlier. 30 quid later we were back at the hotel....

Another mate of mine was at the hotel and my Dad and him planned to go into town to watch the Spurs play Man Utd in the afternoon. I decided to stay put, have some food in the hotel restaurant then head to bed for an early night. The start of this all went to plan. I had plenty of carbs, but Spurs got hammered in the football, so the 2 drinkers were soon back at the hotel making themselves very familiar with the bar. I stayed up with them a while but at about 9pm I decided to head to bed. My Dad who I was sharing a room with soon joined me and quickly fell asleep in the bed next to me. Little did I know that he was the loudest snorer in the northern hemisphere. I gave this about an hour before I made the decision to move to a new hotel room. Not what I need the night before a marathon!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Managed to stay up until 9pm the previous day which was a good effort. Woke up this morning at 6am, not a bad first day post travel.

Tried another light run and still very painful in the left knee dept. Action was required. I phoned a local sports clinic and manage to get a sports massage at 11am on the Friday. That's cutting it fine but I have to keep trying to get the knee fixed as to run the marathon in this state would be slow torture.

The next day I had the massage and made sure he went in deep. He concentrated on the inside of my left quad and all along the ITB. Very painful (as is the norm), though he wasn't as brutal as in Sydney. Elbows in the quads would fix the problem was my mantra. Anyway, he told me to do a light run in the evening and then I would rest up until the marathon on Sunday.

Despite the massaged areas being very sore, the test run in the evening went very well. Knee pain had virtually disappeared. This was a huge relief. The quads were still mighty sore but I still had a day and a half to recover. This gave me a huge lift. Thanks to James - if I'm ever back in Norwich I will definitely be back for more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Didn't get a chance to squeeze in a run on the Monday - too much to do. My knee was getting worse so I made another dash for a massage in the evening. I'm not sure if it did any good but I at least had to give it a go.

On Tuesday I went to work in the morning and then headed to the airport in the afternoon. The flight was at 4pm so I checked in (no extra legroom available...), and soon I was on the flight. The actual flights were not too bad. I drank a few glasses of red wine to help me relax (5 to be exact). Good company on the plane which made the time go quicker. The amount of room you get on the flight is criminal but survived and a day later I was in Heathrow where my Dad was waiting to meet me. All good so far but the knee was still a big concern.

Drove back to Norwich where the plan was to keep a low profile until post marathon. So no going out, just plenty of rest and try to get over the jetlag as quickly as possible. In the afternoon (Wednesday), I went out for a light 40 minute jog and the knee was very sore. I kept telling myself it would be better the next day....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One week to go

I ran a very easy 1hr30 whilst watching the Canberra Marathon. Knee still far from great but seemed to settle down about 30 minutes into the run. I'll put this down as 18km as I was not running quickly.

Good to watch the marathon, it has certainly got me fired up for next week. Great performance from Dave. He just goes from strength to strength.

Incey ran a 3:20 (PB), Worky 3:48 (PW) and Clare 4:07 (mara)/4:57 (50km). I dare say they had a very big drink in the afternoon.

I drove back to Sydney in the afternoon and was absolutely shattered. In bed by 9pm.

All up 64.7km for the week.

A very easy week next week. I might try and squeeze in an easy 45 mins on Monday or Tuesday. Then a couple of light runs later in the week. Watch this space.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canberra 10km

I drove down to Canberra at arrived at about 2pm. The knee was still not great, especially sore at the back of the knee where I had the massage the day before.

I started warming up at 3:30pm (30 minutes before the race) and was having second thoughts about racing. The knee was smarting every foot strike. I decided I needed to toughen up and so I lined up at the start....

The race itself was a real struggle. I was 10:10 at 3km but from then on I was hanging on. I was 17:17 at 5km and just managed to get in under 35 with a time of 34:53 finishing 9th overall (and being out-sprinted by a 16 year old at the finish).

So the knee was obviously a factor. Plus the legs didn't feel great. I think there was still some of Tuesday's 5km in them. I'll put this down as a bad run and move on. So no sub 34 to get the confidence up. A great run Tuesday and now a disappointing last hit-out.

All up about 14km with warm-up/down. My main priority now is to rest as much as possible and try to get the knee back in reasonable shape for London. More massage required...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Rest

Woke up this morning with a very sore left knee. I must have aggravated it at track the previous day.

No run planned today but decided to get an emergency massage in. I was only there 5 minutes. Lots of pulling around at the back of the knee that seemed to help. Not good at this stage. I thought I was over the worst of this injury...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday on track

Ran the usual Hansen's Road warm-up.

Then on the track for 6 x 400's on 1 minute recovery. Target times were 75 seconds and although I missed the first one running 76 seconds, I then followed up with: 73/72/72/72/70.

Felt pretty good. Ran a couple of kms warm-down. All up 10.5km.

So that's my last track session for a month I'd say. All my training buddies wished me well for London. Baz gave me a mystery envelope to be opened just before the marathon...

Good to see Matt back tonight. He seems to be in good nick.

Rest day tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Elbow time

Started the day with a 7am massage. Left hip flexor was tight so warranted some 2 on 1 action. Straight in with the full force of an elbow at various angles. Worked wonders. A happy ending of sorts. Knee felt much better straight away. The rest of my leg muscle groups were not left out. Abductors, quads, hammies, calves, the full shooting match.

Decided to run after work so headed to Chittaway point. Ran at a very slow pace, say 5 mins per km and all up covered about 9km in 46 minutes. Nice to run with no goal, just to turn the legs over. As it happened both legs were quite sore (track from yesterday and massage). Hopefully I'll be fighting fit tomorrow ready for an easy track session.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

5km Time Trial

I ran Hansen's Road as a warm-up then changed into my spikes ready for the 5km.

The instructions were to run 16 anything at even pace. Well there is a big difference between 16 flat and 16:59 so decided that 16:30 would be a fair target. That's 79 second laps. I wasn't to run it flat out, just comfortably hard. I decided not to run with a watch as we had a lap counter. I say "we" as Mark was also doing this and his aim was to try and break 15 minutes. Yep, that's a different gravy. So I thought that if I could avoid being lapped I'd be doing well.

I did some run throughs and headed over to the start. And we were ready to go. Mark quickly opened up a gap on me but decided to run to my plan. I went through the first km in 3:14 and that felt good. From then on I was trying to keep the lap times 79 seconds or under and I seemed to be doing that by a second or two. With 2km to go I was still running strong, trying to maintain my pace. Then a final push and with a strong last lap (72 secs) I crossed the line in 16:05 (3:13/km). And I didn't get lapped!

A lot surprised by the time as I hadn't intended going that quick and although I was running hard, it wasn't an eyeballs out type affair. It leaves me wondering what I could do if I raced this distance properly. The good news is that's a PB! Not many of them to boost about recently. I'll take it. Could I be peaking at the right time? Oh I do hope so. For the record Mark ran 15:10 and was a little disappointed.

So that's another session to tick off the schedule. The last biggie is the 10km race on Saturday. If today is anything to go by then I should be in sub 34 shape. That would be a nice confidence booster.

Lots of people at track commented on how strong I looked tonight. Watch out Geoff Capes. I'll need every ounce of that strength in 12 sleeps time...

With a 2km warm-down I ran 13.1km all up. Massage in the morning...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another rest day

Did some study and then went on a shopping spree. Bought some clothes for my upcoming trip to old Blighty. It ain't long now....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two hours plus

I was back to the Bay. I started at the bubbler and ran the Bridges run. Felt pretty comfortable and ran this is 1:45:50 (quickest this year - 4:36/km), then a 5km tempo run at the Bay in 19:27 (3:53's), then a couple of slow kms to finish with.

All up 30km in 2:14:42 (4:29's).

The knee was the same as yesterday. Not getting any worse.

The weekly tally comes in at 91.7km. The last 4 days have been tough running 71km in 3 sessions. But that's just about it now volume wise. Next week I am at the track for some sharpening up. A 5km time trail on Tuesday (not planning on running this flat out), then some 400's on Thursday, and the 10km race in Canberra on Saturday (last hit-out).

Glad that I now have a rest until Tuesday night. A big sleep in planned tomorrow.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hour and a half with some tempo

Decided to run at the Bay. I was planning 3 laps with the 1st and 3rd easy and the 2nd at marathon pace.

The first lap was run in 30:22. Then the tempo lap of 26:21. Then the final lap of 30:47. All up 1:27:30 for 21km. Averaged 4:10's.

Knee not great again. I need another massage but due to the long weekend it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Tomorrow is the last long run. And then it's only 2 weeks until showtime.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Struggle

Hungover all day long. No exercise planned. Sat watching TV feeling very sorry for myself. Managed a bit of study in the afternoon but it wasn't really registering. Tomorrow can only get better....

Thursday, April 09, 2009

State Forest

Last visit to the forest for a while. I was 13:04 at the top of the first hill, 30:22 at the roundabout and 47:05 at the T. Then turned for home and finished in 1:29:04. A slight PB.

I was deliberately holding back on this run. I could have pushed it a bit more but made the decision to keep a lid on it. A very good sign. Just one of those runs that felt very easy. I suppose the cooler weather helps a lot.

All up 20km. Rushed back to Sydney for what was touted as a few beers. It turned into a 4am special. When will I learn?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easy 10km

Lunchtime 10km course. Out in 21:40, back in 21:40. Total 43:20. How's that for consistent pacing!

Pretty cruisy effort. Knee still not too bad. One more killer massage will fix it once and for all I hope.

Last visit to the forest tomorrow for a while...then a few beers to start the weekend off in style.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Race Night

The pressure was on to run a quick time tonight...

I ran an easy lap of Hansen's as a warm-up with Barry. Then changed into my spikes and before I knew it the race was underway. I went through the first km in 3:01 which was a bit disappointing. The second km was run in 3:05 and I managed to quicken slightly running the last km in 3:03. All up 9:09.

Felt pretty strong throughout and pleased with the time which is my best 3000m at Mingara. I finished 3rd overall with Mark winning and Cale running second. I'm confident of breaking the 9 minute barrier later in the year with focus on speedwork on the track.

I ran 1.6km as a warm-down so all up 10.7km. Knee behaved also which hasn't been the norm lately...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday Nowt

Scheduled rest day.

Tried stretching the hip flexor as much as possible but I fear it's tightening up again. Another visit to the torture chamber looms.

This week is my last big week. Track Tuesday for a 3km race, easy 10km on Wednesday, the final Ourimbah on Thursday and long runs both Saturday and Sunday. Might touch 90km this week then wind it right back in the final 2 weeks.

I dread the 3km race nights. Seven and a half laps of pain....

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday is for running

Headed out to the Bay for 3 easy laps. Legs felt okay from the race the previous day but the knee was a little sore (bloody hip flexor).

This run felt very easy. I ended up running the 3 laps in 1:30:20 and felt very comfortable. All up 21kms averaging 4:17/km. Each lap got progressively quicker.

Another week over and the marathon is now only 3 weeks away. Starting to get a little edgy...

Weekly total 69.7km.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Striders 10km

The rain held off and the conditions were pretty good for this morning's race. I did a 2.5km warm-up and the knee felt much better. Soon we were off and I ran a quick first km and settled in to the race. Scribblies was tough as was the big climb to the turnaround. Felt good on the way back and crossed the line in 35:05 finishing in 8th position. I pretty much ran the whole race by myself which was a bit if a shame.

A bit disappointed to miss out on the sub 35 but a good run nonetheless. I seem to have recovered okay from last week's half.

I ran 2.5km warm-down with Bob. All up 15km.

Knee still feels good. I'll keep doing some hip flexor stretches in the hope that it doesn't tighten up again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dodgy Hip Flexor

A scheduled rest day today so no training. But I did have the small matter of a massage to get through.

As I suspected my left hip flexor had locked up. It was very stubborn (and painful) and after 30 minutes of continued elbow and thumb work some movement had returned. I won't miss these massages when the training is over. As a result the knee has immediately improved. I dare say it will tighten up again after tomorrow's race....

So the race plan is to beat my last time at Lane Cove from 2 months ago (35:59). Sub 35:30 would be good and sub 35 would be exceptional. I need to run a half decent time to get some confidence back so no pressure...I think my course PB of 34:32 is very safe which I ran just before last year's City to Surf. Cooler weather will help as last time it was very muggy.

A big rest planned for tonight. Lots of sleep and no beer.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Track Session

Ran the Hansen's Rd loop as a warm-up (6.1km) then changed into my spikes ready for a track session.

The plan was to run 8 x 400's with 400 jog recovery. Efforts were to be in the 72-75 second region. Actual times were:


Pretty pleased with that. The knee was ordinary throughout so I'm hoping the massage will help tomorrow.

I ran 1.6km as a warm-down. All up 13.7km.

I've now got my plan for the remaining 3 weeks. Another big week next week then things become a little more manageable.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lane Cove

I dropped Marion and Conor off at the airport and now have 3 weeks home alone.

Decided to run the Striders 10km course at Lane Cove in the pouring rain. Again I took it easy finishing in 45:08.

Left knee getting worse. Massage booked for Friday morning.

And went to see Elbow last night at the Metro. A very enjoyable evening but it was a late night and I had too much to drink....