SHORT REPORT: 3:18:05 and pleased !
There were no nerves for this race. I was so relaxed because this really was just a see where I am race. I didn’t taper for it other than my running was reduced a little. I did a 7 hour hilly ride the day before and felt that this race would not let me hide from where my running was at. I feared that it was no where near where I felt it was. That I was seriously kidding myself that I can run a 3:30 marathon at Lanzarote. I wondered whether I would even manage that in a straight marathon.
I stuck to my plan perfectly. That was to go easy and comfortable on the first lap and negative split the second lap. My hope was that running comfortable would be 8 min miles at worst. The first two miles didn’t feel great but 7:48 and 7:49 were OK. I was running relaxed and the splits got quicker and my running easier over the next few miles. It was nice and comfortable but as I relaxed I sped up and after seeing my splits would ease off. Mile 11 has a big hill in it and I was determined to keep the split under 8 min/ mile so I pushed hard. After that I didn’t see much point in holding back and just kept running comfortably. I got through halfway in 1:40 and felt very strong.
I immediately picked up the effort levels on starting the second lap. Now all the half marathon runners had gone and I could see people ahead to pick off. no one passed me the whole second lap and I must have passed 30+ runners. What a great feeling to start the second half not worrying about surviving put focussing on pushing harder. At one point it dawned on me that at my age 3:15 was good for age start at London. I was going to be reasonably close but realised this late in the run it was not possible to make up that much time. I felt strong and comfortable right through to end of mile 23. After is was harder but I didn’t fade. Looking at the splits above I’m so pleased that I was faster on every mile in the second lap other than mile 12. The reason for this was it has a very steep downhill – on the first lap I just let gravity do it’s job but on the second my legs weren’t up it so I had to take it real easy down the hill.
Second half in 1:38 to give me 3:18 marathon. I hadn’t overdone it which was proved by the way I’m walking now (the day after). I was over the moon with that. Well away from my best BUT the most enjoyable marathon I’ve ever run. First time I’ve ever negative splitted a marathon and it made for a really pleasurable experience. Taunton is far from a fast course and I feel with tapering, loss of a few pounds and 6 more weeks training there’s no reason that 3:30 is not achievable.