Monday, 23 April 2007

Your London experience

Here's a selection of your experiences to date:

From Ed

13 starters and 13 finishers is a pretty impressive statistic from Sunday - I don't think many clubs could match that especially with a 100% completion rate at Rotterdam and Paris as well.

I had a surprisingly trouble free day on Sunday with the most difficult bit being navigating the crowds at Westminster tube after the race to try to get back to my little band of supporters who were stuck on the other side of the embankment unable to get across with James in his pushchair. The long trek to Lambeth Bridge and then back to Waterloo on the other side of the river to try to catch a train added a few extra miles I could have done without !!!

It was a pleasant surprise to bump into Eddie & Shane at London Bridge before the start. I was able to play the 'old pro' having lost count of my marathons while talking to the two debutants but in reality I was just as nervous as they were - the prospect of 26 miles when you've not done the training tends to focus the mind.

The race itself went pretty much according to plan (if I'd had one). I'd no set target time or pace but had decided to just keep it as relaxed as possible and try to avoid aggravating all my niggles, aches and pains for as long as possible. I fully expected to end up walking at some point but wanted to stave that off for as long as possible. The first couple of miles were very slow predictably but then after about 3 miles I was able to move a bit more freely. At this point I overtook Albert who started talking about "bananas at 20 miles" - I didn't pursue the conversation but realised later he was probably referring to Roger et al who I later saw in the most desolate, windswept area of docklands.

10K splits to 30K of 44:54, 45:32 (with a loo stop) and 45:41 (another loo stop) told me things were going well despite the fact that I'd been overtaken by a fairy on London Bridge and by Elvis soon after.

30K to 40K is the bit I was dreading though and where I expected the lack of training to show but while a 10K split of 47:36 showed I was slowing, I actually found that I was coping with the conditions better than most. I passed a few members of my old Wimbledon club in this section pausing for a brief few words with each - when you meet up for someone for the first time in a couple of years you hope to be able to say more than a few grunts of acknowledgment but nobody was really in the mood for a chat. It's a lovely feeling overtaking people rather than having them all fly past you - I've experienced it both ways.

The last few miles were great. I knew I was going to finish, the crowd was spectacular, I'd managed to overtake Elvis and the fairy again and I was able to concentrate on pushing the pace just that bit harder for the first time in the race. I nearly missed Bonita but she saw through my disguise (a bandana I kept wet to keep my head cool) and gave me an almighty shout to get over the volume of the crowds. I got a bit over ambitious on Birdcage Walk trying to stride out from the 800m to go but deciding to ease off again with 780m to go. I can never resist the opportunity for a mad sprint though so set off again from about 300 to go and felt like I was flying down the Mall. I'm glad that I don't have any video of it though as I'm sure it was considerably less impressive than the memory I have of it my mind.

A great event again - if you've run it (or even watched it) then you'll understand. If you haven’t run it then get your entry in for next year !


From Mike Mackay

Well done to everyone who took part yesterday in some of the worst conditions I have experienced for a Marathon.

It was so bad for me that I missed the 3.15 qualifying yesterday by under 2 minutes and tried all I could to make up the time but was suffering too much. In the end I was quite relived when I was heading to Birdcage Walk (passing one poor chap with his legs and arms turned to jelly) and realised that I was going to miss it - I could then ease off a bit and simply struggle to the line. I also had the thoughts that these two minutes means I have to run another marathon to get the time but even this couldn't push me on any quicker! Took on water at every stop from 3 miles too and managed to loose a fair bit of weight.

Spent the rest of the day feeling ill, sat on the sofa with an ice pack on my head and fell asleep quite early and remained there until 6am! Feel like I have a hangover today but sure this will pass - especially so as I have left alcohol alone for 10 days before the race with the intention to have one at the charity hospitality I attended after but couldn't touch a drop. The massage by 3 lovely sports therapists made up for it though and can be thoroughly recommended (Children With Leukaemia).

Hope you have all got through this without too much drama, well done Ed for a great time and look forward to swapping some stories at the awards dinner!

Off to try and replace some of the weight I lost - I am in the 10 stone category now which is far too low! Bring on the creme brulee on Saturday!

From Martin

The Institute of Sport reported this morning that the average runner loses 2 cm in height after completing the London Marathon. Have you done every one then Albert?

If I see another Bakewell Tart, I'm gonna knock his cherry off!

From Sara Wrenn

Managed to just about survive the heat on Sunday but no amount of winter training prepared me for the heat we had to endure. I knew it was going to be sunny and warm so I had done my all pre race hydration so not to be caught out on the day.

I felt a little worried standing at the start line. The sun by now even hotter and I know I always wilt in the heat but the amount of liquid I had taken on board over the last couple of days reassured me I would be OK. I limited myself on water an hour before the start because of the large queues to the toilets but was prepared to start drinking water at the 3 mile point.

The race started and like last year we all came to a halt (twice) once we crossed the started line. When we did get started again I was clearly shocked when I reached the 3 mile water stop to be told they ran out and we would have to wait to the next one. I managed to spot a bottle with half inch water in it so I grabbed it. This carried me to the next stop. This wasn't the only water station where they had run out. I knew my family were waiting for me at 11.5 mark then at 11 miles I was hit by cramp. My family helped me by massaging my legs and gave me water. I carried on but dehydration quickly set in and the cramp was not going to go away. I saw a sign at the 16 mile mark and it read; Pain is only temporary but giving up is forever. I was determined I was going to finish. I saw Roger at 19 miles and he supplied me with food and sweets.

About mile 22 I was looking at the spectators to see if they had any water and one women handed over her water bottle. About 2 miles from the finish there was masses of water being given out. Maybe this was too late for some. Just before I crossed the finish line a man bent down and bared all by doing a moonie at the camera's. I'm glad someone saw some humour.

I had also learned that there were a few elite's who had bailed out. Then I felt I didn't do too bad after all.

Happy marathon running.

Sara at the finish

Eddie gets all emotional at the start

Graffiti spotted at the Expo

From Eddie

I'll be brief!

Utterly fantastic experience - really quite humbling at times.

Pleased with my sub-4 hour time and I know that we could all have gone faster had the weather be kinder.

Very proud to have taken part in the biggest, hottest FLM to-date!

Well done to all who participated and thanks to the friends and family who supported us.

Finally, I was going to use the BLOG to formally announce my retirement as a Marathon Runner but, well, um.........


From Albert

The Waddies are a proud bunch and so they should be with fine performances in such torrid conditions. Each member has their own tale to tell. Here is mine:

I felt my training had a little extra oomph this year. Garmin's are so accurate and they are good and bad. The bad later. I kept to the training distances to the exact mile (OK I could not always train to the right tempo) and felt good most of the training period. Before the start I kept out of the sun - hidden by the famous skip until 15 minutes before the start. Rushed to claim my Pen 3 start place and was quite hydrated except I had forgotten to retrieve my usual drink concoction before handing in the baggage. Was it a mistake? Probably got away with it because of the amount of Lucozade Sport available.

I had my best start in 8 London's and was running well up to the 1/2 marathon time when I realised that I had to do it all over again. At this stage I had 5 minutes in hand for the second half. I dropped the pace slightly as planned but at 19 to 20 I realised I was in danger of losing too much time but I developed a blister on my left toe (with modern shoes this does not normally happen to me) but more worryingly I realised my quads were beginning to cramp. I was also conscious of my left and right calves which had pulled over night in bed (I had problems previously, during the Worthing 20 and a final 2 mile gentle cycling exercise on Friday), so I was nursing my legs. At 20 miles I had to refuse my energy gels that Roger so kindly tried to give me but I felt too sick from the quantity of previous energy and water drinks supplied en route.

I was still on target at 24.5 miles but here I realised the negative of having a high tech Garmin watch. As it is impossible in the middle order to keep to the magical blue line I would need to run more than 26.2 miles. In fact I ran 26.45 miles all told. Even small deviations such as idiot runners, spectators and even marshals cutting across me or my own futile attempt to over take runners; it all adds to the distance. The tremendous heat meant hugging the occasional shade; which added yet more distance.

The heat had got to me at this stage. For the first time ever I questioned why was I pushing myself and why bother with marathons! At 24.5 miles I had 10 1/2 minutes to run to match my dream time of 3.30, which I had worked on for 16 sodding weeks. My quads were now screaming and my calves kept niggling. It took me 16 1/2 minutes to finish. The last 400 metres dragged endlessly as I knew I had already run a marathon. I gave my all and could not have run any faster. Tired and deflated at missing my dream time but happier once Martin told me I was 41st Vet 5.

Will I do it again and repeat this torture...........OF COURSE I WILL (but not next week).

Do please continue to send in your London experience - spectators or participants - and we'll post them here.


Eddie Wattenbach said...

I'll be brief!

Utterly fantastic experience - really quite humbling at times.

Pleased with my sub-hour time and I know that we could all have gone faster had the weather be kinder.

Very proud to have taken part in the biggest, hottest FLM to-date!

Well done to all who participated and thanks to the friends and family who supported us.

Finally, I was going to use the BLOG to formally announce my retirement as a Marathon Runner but, well, um.........


Eddie Wattenbach said...

Obviously my blog has an error in it! - please read 'sub 4 hour time'.


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