The short story of this race is that I went with 3.20 as goal and in classic marathon style was on track until 30km and then my legs went and I ended up with 3.27. I’ll be honest I was quite disappointed for a while, you put so much energy and commitment into attempting a fast marathon time that failing hurts. A lot. There are many bucket list races I want to run and target times but close to the top is a 3.05 marathon and to do that I need to keep progressing. Not sure running a minute slower than last year is progress?
But if I’m a little less hard on myself 3.27 is probably actually a good result when taken in context. I had 5 weeks of training to transition from triathlon to marathon which was always going to be a challenge even without the added complication of having small children who don’t sleep. One of my long runs in that period was a 28km slog after having 3 hours sleep the night before, not ideal. I did also run 3.27 despite having 3 short walking breaks and stopping at a water station to tip a bottle of water on my head. I have the pacing worked out, my 10km splits were within 40 seconds of each other for the first 30km and felt controlled. Put that all together and I guess I’m 75% of the way towards a decent marathon time?
Keeping that positivity in mind I need to make sure to build from here, have a solid winter and then have another crack at a marathon time in the spring. I do at least have a good number of races coming up to keep me focused and training, not least a trail marathon in 4 weeks time!
But what about the race itself? This was my second year in a row at the Yorkshire marathon, I had no hesitation signing up after enjoying the race so much last year. I think it’s the perfect balance between a big city race with closed roads and good crowds, but small enough not to need detailed logistical planning just to get to the start line. It’s also easy for spectators to find a spot without fighting their way through crowds or pitching up 3 hours early to secure a view point.
We made a weekend of it driving up on Saturday morning after leaving the 2 older children at their aunties. Almost a relaxing time if you ignore the 3.5 hour drive and the 11 month old baby in the back. We also had to leave immediately after the race to get back and put them to bed so I enjoyed a travelling picnic stuffing my face with food and drink all the way home once the post race nausea had worn off.
I’m a little torn with my views on the course though, it always feels a shame that the first few miles are so incredible running past the minster as the bells ring and the crowds cheer but the race of the race is fairly quiet as you run around country roads. There are pockets of amazing support in each village you run through (including the fab high fiving vicar again!) but a lot of the time it’s just you and the tarmac. There are 2 killer parts of the course; first the long hill from mile 18 up to mile 20, such a tough part of a marathon anyway but to be doing it uphill is horrendous. The second is the hill in the last km as you climb up to the finish, everything is burning and you just want to be done yet you have to climb this bloody hill before (in my case at least) careering down the other side like a rock gathering momentum towards the finish.
I almost took a couple of people out at the finish too, I was pounding away trying to sneak under 3.28 and these 2 girls doing the relay suddenly veered over to the side for some high fives. Side stepping at that point in a marathon is not what my legs wanted to do!
Despite York being a great city and having had 2 fun weekends there now I don’t think I’m going to be back. It was nice doing the race again and knowing what was coming up, but twice is enough I think. It’s not as though we’re limited on race choices is it? Next year I think will be a different Autumn marathon, now just to decide which one, answers on a postcard please.