Wednesday, 15 April 2015

On Top Of The World....

Brighton Marathon.

I entered this one last April before I firmed up plans for Comrades as everyone was talking about it – all good, well except the `Power Station` part !!! As my plans for this year unfolded & took shape this weekend would be an important pin. I wanted to qualify early for Comrades (which I did at Portsmouth ~ 4:20 – 4:40) but wanted to push (without breaking myself) for a better Batch (Pen) placement.  I had a go & just missed an improvement at Dover Marathon (4:22) so this was the next attempt. I didn`t really want to push myself at London & North Dorset is hilly but I had those in my back pocket if I had to.

On race day & I had decided not to travel & stay down there.  I was kindly driven down my the Fudges who were there in support of #CoachFudge team, runners from Windle Valley, Frimley Lodge parkrun & I`m sure every other runner that ran past – thanks again for the lift down & thanks to Darren for the 5:50am pick up.  We got there in plenty of time – I didn`t see too many signs for the University car parks but there again I wasn’t driving. Jumped on bus & met the famous `parkrun tourist party bus` team from Reading which was nice as I got to chat to them. The bus dropped us off very close to the near the start & we said our farewell to the Phil who was in the elite start. I didn`t need the loo so I had loads of time to chat.

I was off in the Red pen and after a few adjustments in my kit after my little warm up run I made my way into the starting pen where I met up with fellow Frimley Lodge parkrunners – Alex & David.
The plan was 03:55:xx OR 04:15:xx and anything else would be just a good day in the Sun – I wore a 4:00 hr (9:09) pace band as I could see where I was all the time against that plan – very useful things those pace bands.

Anyway after a couple of minutes after the starting hooter we were off. The start was interesting esp the slight climb & decent where runners went off to fast & paid the price. I managed to see the `Pink` wave go off as I circled round the first lap. I did actually find the first 5 miles really enjoyable – the crowd support was amazing – folks everywhere (inc Gobi –
who seemed to be everywhere). On the slight climb through the town I found myself running with fellow Cove Jogger Luke we both commented that last time we ran a marathon together it was the `hot` one at Bournemouth - I took a gel every 55 mins – also a couple of sips of water (I do have to say I`m a fan of those paper cups). I do also like course where you can see the faster runners coming along on the other side and Brighton course is a great one for that – the leader came flashing past – no-one near him. We saw the lead Ladies. I saw David Ross (Comrades) followed by Phil (#CoachFudge & Frimley Lodge pr), Kate chasing a sub 3 and Big Pete both from Winchester, also spotted Lisa from Fleet . Also a fast Fetchie I chatted to at the start.

Now not one to study the course I was taken back by the out & back route at 8.5 / 9.5M but it was useful to see who was just behind. As I start the hill I saw Abby & Ben & just behind was Richard all in fine form. At this stage of the race I was slightly ahead of target time – through 10M in just over 1hr 25mins. I did think this section (8M – 14M) was a fast part of the course (best mile was 13M at 8:06 min/m).

Through half way in 01:52:42. Just after this we went down another out and back part – again enjoying this part. I got a massive shout out by the `Andover Crew` at 16M / 19M (through 30Km in 02:39:26) and out along the beach road again.

(Me at Mile 19 - photo thanks to Bob Fudge)

I did still feel strong here – I guess all those long runs in the hills are paying off. The pace did start to drop around the 21 mile mark - I had really expected this as yes done the long runs (530 miles this year so far) but no tempo runs and for a good marathon you cannot skip important parts of the training but I kept moving forward – I knew apart from a disaster I would bump up my batch (pen) position.

Just before the mile 24  marker I walked through the water station (good job the wasn`t an ice cream seller there).
So with 2 miles to go no sub 03:45 but maybe a sub 03:50. I have to say I did take my foot off the gas as it were – I don`t really want to do that again but I guess I was just `saving my legs` for London.  I saw Paul Sinton-Hewitt near the finish – what a good place to watch the race - and dropped down onto the beach front and through to the finish.

I finished in 03:50:36
so race plan A achieved – I am running Comrades from Batch (pen) C.  I am delighted in that.

One stat I did notice before Brighton Marathon was that according to Strava that I had managed to run 33,307 ft of elevation this year – now Mount Everest is `only` 29,029  ft high so in a way I am `on top of the world`.

Next up – and apart from a rather special parkrun at Frimley Lodge the Saturday (a double `250` celebration) it`s that London thing.