30 April 2012

The marathon

I started writing this blog around Mile 8, these exact words.

First, the stats: my chipped time was 3:36:20. You can check back to see what narrative this is, but it's a good one. The weather was really, really bad: rainy and strong wind throughout, and lots of muddy patches and puddles. I ran through some, around some, on woodchips, through soggy grass, on wet cement. It certainly wasn't ideal. The course was also had a lot of sharp, 90 degree turns that were harder in the rain. A couple of times, I thought, did it stop raining? But, no, it was just not raining as hard.

There is also a bit of controversy on the marathon Facebook page about whether the 7th mile was one mile or 1.25 miles. I'm looking at the official map and what we actually ran and it was re-routed at the flooded canal at one point and what we ran was clearly longer. Not that it really matters, but I would have liked to have known at the outset to change my pacing. 26.2 miles and 26.5 miles are noticeably different when you are trying to save a couple of minutes. Oh well.

That said, it was very enjoyable. Trusting the training plan was the right thing to do, obviously. I ran all my miles consistently, and I never hit the metaphorical wall. It was hardest around mile 15 for me, but I used my placebo of choice to get through it, a mantra: I run to find the void. I said this over and over until I felt better and it worked well for me. I run to find the void.

Running with others was better than I thought. One feeling that is incredible, something I have never experienced before, is running with a pack of people. You are all close together, no one is talking and you just have the sound of your breathing and feet hitting the ground.

Yoko and the kids saw me a couple of times and that was incredibly encouraging. I can't even say how much.

When I came into the stadium, I sprinted across the line, cursing myself a bit for still having something left and realising that I should have been less cautious at the beginning. Then again, I was concerned about my right foot still and didn't want to aggravate anything. Yoko taped me up well and I was fine, so that was very good news.

I came home and signed up for a half marathon in MK on 8 July. That will be a less cautious run.

But now? Now I have nothing between me and the PhD but myself and my supervision team. Three months left, I think. Maybe more. We'll see.