I’ve come back from York last week and already started thinking about marathons next year and which race to enter to give myself a chance of a PB. That perhaps is all your need to know about the Yorkshire marathon; a great race in a beautiful city. Running a PB always helps of course, a 13 minute PB no less compared with Taunton marathon way back in April. Not the 3.15 I was aiming for but I was quite happy with 3.26 and if I’m honest knew that anything close to 3.20 was going to be a good achievement.
York has a really nice balance between being a big city race with all the support and race organisation that goes with it but being small enough that getting to and from the start isn’t a big hassle. In fact we walk/jogged the 1.5 miles from our accommodation to the start which was the perfect warm up and then just trotted into our starting pen a few minutes before we needed to be there.
It was a pretty darn cold start to a race, always tricky knowing what to wear in those conditions isn’t it? You know you’re going to warm up when you start the race but how much is the question. I went with a t-shirt and singlet combo which resulted in slightly numb hands and arms for the first couple of miles. It was also misty for all but the final mile of the race which meant the temperature was actually very pleasant for long distance running. But alas we didn’t get to see any of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside as it was hidden under a blanket of white fluff.
The first few miles are around the city and then you head out into the countryside so you get some fairly long stretches on country roads with nothing but the sound of your breathing for company. Every so often the road wound through a village where the streets were lined with the locals cheering and offering pots of jelly babies to the runners. But there were 2 moments that will live in my memory; first the high fiving vicar in one village stood in his full robes cheering the runners past before he held his Sunday service and secondly the bag piper whose music came drifting through the mist at mile 7 and got louder and louder the nearer we got. Great moments that really give you a boost as the miles start to grind.
I was perfectly on track for my target time until around mile 17 and then just couldn’t quite hold the pace. I was losing 15-20 seconds a mile and just couldn’t pick it up again before hitting the real grind of miles 22 onwards. But I did it, I held on and didn’t give into the voices telling me to walk. That I’m proud of and know that I couldn’t have pushed any more, the final hill which is 500m from the finish almost broke me before of course giving it a bit of a sprint finish to end with.
Now I’m done for the season bar one local 10k in November, I’ve covered many many miles this year and completed 4 big races. It’s time now to take a break and focus on family time (baby no.3 didn’t interrupt my race and still hasn’t arrived!). I have started thinking about next year though; I definitely have the marathon bug and definitely want to do another autumn one, I think the cooler weather suits me.
I also have winter training plans, mainly in the form of strength and conditioning training. My dad took this lovely photo of me during the race at mile 2 but if you look at my leg collapsing in you’d have thought I’d covered the marathon distance already. Definitely need to work on that and get strong ready for another season of racing, one more thing to help push that PB down.