Well where do I start with this one..........at the beginning I guess .
At the beginning of December it was the running Club`s trip abroad – we were off to Benidorm for their half & full marathon. There was 9 of us in the end, which I didn`t think was too bad. We all met up on Friday at Gatwick and all managed to catch the flight (!!!) which added to the fun. Whilst we booked the flights separately we had booked the trip through `Running Crazy` and was met at the airport by Malcolm and his team and went to the hotel (nice hotel - Hotel Poseidon – great location for Benidorm & the very close to the start / finish areas but looking back, maybe we should have gone B&B rather than half board. Impressed with the numbers of runners who also went with `Running Crazy`- great fun to be part of a larger group but still your own group.
The half marathon was on Saturday night. I personally think it worked but it will be interesting to find out if they hold it separately in years to come. We had gain a runner overnight so eight Covies were doing the half now with Alan & myself in support. The weather report was not looking good – it fact at 6.00pm when the runners made their way to start it was chucking it down - I don`t mean slightly raining, I mean a heavy downpour without any sign of easing up – it didn`t ease. I was praying it would stop for the marathon in the morning.
Despite the heavy ran it was fascinating to watch – the leader broke away very quickly and soon it turned into who would come in 2nd & 3rd. The great thing about the course there was a number of loops & switch back, which meant you could almost stay where you were & see and support the runners going past 2 or 3 times. I did think the cut off was a little tight - 2hrs 30mins. All the runners did really well esp in those conditions. We watched & cheered them come home - all completely soaked but all wore big, big smiles. Luckily enough the hotel was nearby so showers & cups of tea were readily available. We decided not to go the `Half Marathon After Party` as we could all go the next night.
The next day & the skies were clear & the sun was out (yeah). Normal pre-race stuff completed - I had brought my own breakfast so I was ready early on. Put on i-pod and relaxed for 20 mins or so. I nipped out for a bit of a warm up - just over 1.3M at easy pace. Met up with the gang for photos etc at 8.00am and wander down to the start (nearly forgot to start the Garmin). Fairly small field of runners (just over 300 or so). Time wise - despite wearing a 3:50 pace band (8.46m/m) I wanted a free run, which I guess why I wasn`t too bother about the fast 1st mile. With the uphill 2nd mile the pace slowed but even this faster pace felt right so I thought I go with it.
After a few miles the pace steadied off and it was nice to see constant splits. I worked out that sub 8.00/m pace for a marathon - OMG that`s 03:30:00 pace - flipping heck :-O I know I need to become a more economic runner for these longer runs I want to do and I understand the by-product of that would be faster times but still a 03:30:00 marathon runner ????? I thought the course itself was a good one - plenty of areas where the lead runners would be coming at you. I did notice that I was a lot closer than normal which was encouraging. I saw my Club mates a couple of times which was great. At the 16M stage I saw them and I thought I was quite `fresh`, however shortly after that the wheels starting to come off...
The wind had increased (plus my tiredness increase) - I tried to keep the same pace into the head wind. At about the 19M mark I took my 1st walk break - without really thinking about I just stopped to walk & take a gel. I could not believe it as a couple who I had stalked for ages & overtook about 14M went merrily past me :-( but it did make me start again. At about mile 20 I saw my club mates - they were only by a Guinness Bar - where was my beer??? For some reason that sea front section was much, much longer this time 2nd time around.
At the turn (22M) I walked again - I limited my breaks to 20 seconds. At about 23M I saw a Hogweed Trotters - he was walking too. We dragged each other along - we had planned to run to the water station & then take a walk break there. Soon enough we were on the home straight (25.5M) - again seemed to get longer. We walked / ran together. I remember that advice - no talking when walking which worked out. We `whipped` up the crowd at the turn which was amazing easy :-) Turned the corner & saw Covies - great stuff. Applauded the crowds & did a bit of show-boating for the finishing cameras.
Through the line and forgot to stop the garmin. After collecting all the `goodie bag` * stuff (* no bag provided) I made my way to my club mates & watched runners coming through.
1) - 1m - 7:52(7:52/m) - 140cal
2) - 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) - 141cal
3) - 1m - 8:07(8:07/m) - 139cal
4) - 1m - 7:58(7:58/m) - 138cal
5) - 1m - 7:45(7:45/m) - 142cal
6) - 1m - 7:49(7:49/m) - 141cal
7) - 1m - 7:50(7:50/m) - 141cal
8) - 1m - 7:47(7:47/m) - 140cal
9) - 1m - 7:41(7:41/m) - 140cal
10) - 1m - 7:47(7:47/m) - 139cal
11) - 1m - 7:48(7:48/m) - 141cal
12) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 140cal
13) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 139cal
14) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 138cal
15) - 1m - 7:51(7:51/m) - 140cal
16) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 140cal
17) - 1m - 8:23(8:23/m) - 138cal
18) - 1m - 8:34(8:34/m) - 139cal
19) - 1m - 8:34(8:34/m) - 137cal
20) - 1m - 9:31(9:31/m) - 133cal - Boom
21) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 136cal
22) - 1m - 9:39(9:39/m) - 132cal
23) - 1m - 10:39(10:39/m) - 132cal
24) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 138cal
25) - 1m - 10:29(10:29/m) - 127cal
26) - 1m - 10:23(10:23/m) - 133cal
27) - 0.54m - 9:22(17:14/m) - 77cal - *
Race provided data
4.5 Km - 00:24:26
12.9 Km - 01:04:58
13.1 M - 01:45:58
29.5 Km - 02:28:36
(20.0 M - 02:42.12)
37.5 Km - 03:17:48
42.0 Km - 03:45:18
Back at the hotel we had a couple of beers by the pool and then freshened up for the `After Party` which I have to say was a hoot – one of those classic nights that starts slowly then boom. Loads of dancing (of sorts), fun, laughs and many of those `beer` things.
Edit - Running Crazy Video Clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaYxb6TkJLE
The next day (Monday) was really trying to recover from a hangover. Tuesday was much better – even went on a recovery run. We were staying till Wednesday, so come that morning we had got the hotel to open up for breakfast early – just finishing off breakfast when Malcolm came over & informed us of Gatwick being closed. Ohhh !!!!
He had already secured, if we wanted them rooms at the hotel. After a while we had worked out we couldn`t really do a lot until Gatwick had re-opened, as flights to other UK airports were full. We were all in a bit of a dazed for that day. No better news the next day. Malcolm had suggested a trip to the cross which overlooks Benidorm which was nice. A plan had emerged – two of us managed to get on a flight to Gatwick on Friday & the rest of us were booked unto Sunday`s (+4 days) to Manchester.
Another lesson learnt is to pay for `Speedy Booking` this will ensure you get on an aircraft that over sales seats – 2 extra now needed for the Manchester flight !!! Nice day out in Alicante.
Next day we had to change hotels – again all arranged by Malcolm and we spent the morning on the beach, then off for a 6M run in the afternoon. A quiet night followed as we knew we had long day ahead.
Met up with the other two who were meant to be on the Friday flight and swopped stories. Eventually the gate was called and allowed on the plane – at last. As we were landing we did have a medical emergency which for some reason felt typical for those last few days. No major problems just one of those things.
We cleared customs and found the car hire place. Now we (my brother) pre-booked a 7 seater. After a while we realised that 7 people & 7 bags would not fit !!! Alan had said that he could work in the Manchester office and his Mum lived nearby....so we cut him loose. Packed in the remaining 6 bags & Gatwick bound we went. To be fair the drive was not bad at all, the worse bit was seeing the M3 junction on the M25 – big thanks Brian for driving.
Eventually we reached Gatwick North......unfortunately the car depot was closed so we had to drive to the other terminal & wait....and wait for someone to check the car over. We met up with the group and made our way home.
For a short break it turned out to be quite long.
Star Awards – a real tight call...........
1st prize has to go to the marathon Wheelchair athlete - who shown absolutely incredible strength. First he had to push himself around the course and then to finish, he had to go up the finishing ramp. He tried to go up normally, then he tried going up the ramp backwards, then he tried zig zagging up - all to rapturous cheering. Finally he made - even from the distance we were it was a `lump in throat` moment it really was – goes to prove that you should never, never give up..
Well done him (sorry I don`t know his name).
Edit - later found out his name is Mike Marten - Interview No. 44 - http://www.juliaarmstrong.com/index.php?id=780
Then comes closely followed is Malcolm from Running Crazy who went well beyond what we paid for - massive, massive thanks to him (BTW that`s Running Crazy at ( http://www.runningcrazy.co.uk ). If you ever want to go on an overseas organised running trip then I highly recommend Malcolm and his team.
I do need to mention the rest of Cove Joggers gang - Karen, Julie, Wendy, Alan, Brian, Dave, Dennis, Peter, Steve - despite all the going ons which were out of our control thanks for a great week guys.
Now as it happens I had booked a week`s break to Egypt which meant I was back at Gatwick on Saturday – yeap 6 days – for a relaxing (non racing) Winter sun break. No real plans just chilling out time. Which on the whole that`s what happened............except when we got to the airport for the homeward flight, only to find the flight cancelled due to snow at Gatwick. Now I won`t bore with those details but all I`ll say is that I stayed at the Movenpick @ El Gouna for 3 extra days and it took two flights to get home.........but I did get a shout out on Marathon Talk rate your run (wk 50)
I will picking next year`s trips carefully........and there is already talk from certain corners of barring me from the next overseas Club event :-/
Next Up - Was the Cliveden Cross Country but was cancelled so it`s the Tadworth 10 on the 2nd January