Race Road race (Manchester Marathon) 3:01:24  26.21 mi (6:55 / mi) +42m 6:53 / mi
3:01:32. With a first half of 1:28:38, a disappointing second half of 1:32:54 meant the sub 3 target slipped away in the last few miles. Still happy with the time and if you'd said I'd be running a comfortable GFA time when we started back in october I would have taken your hand off! but..... damn you cramp!
Legs felt good when I woke up, although they were a little tense before the start which I put down to nerves. it was quite congested for the 10 min walk from the bag drop to the start line so as well as walking did some jogging on the spot then a couple relaxed strides to warm them up when I had a bit of space. Not ideal, but best I could do. I knew the first few miles were a bit down hill so happy that I could get the legs up to pace while not having to work too hard.
Porridge at 6, half a banana at 8. Electrolyte drink about 1 litre drank from getting up to before the start of the race. I had a drink at every water station. I think I got the gels spot on, took a Clif caffeine gel 10 mins before the start, then Maurten gel at 5, 10, 18, with another clif caffeine gel at 14. The emergency 5th gel at 22 miles in an attempted energy boost to get my pace up.
Started off aiming for 6:50s but was hitting 6:45-6:50s but it felt good and whatever light breeze was helping us, noticed that my cadence was just below 180 so focused on getting my legs to turn over properly to increase it. Happy with how I felt through 10k in 42:04 and didn’t feel like I was working too hard. Through 8 miles I felt that the pace I was at was the correct pace so didn’t try and kick on. Toward the end of mile 12 was the turning point at Altrincham with a few hills to negotiate, I felt a twinge of cramp (right calf) working up one of them but it disappeared when I was relaxed running down the hill, checked my cadence and again it was a bit lower than 180 so focused again on cadence and shorted my stride.
Mile 14 the route took us in in a different roads to last year and it included another overpass climb so found it a bit tougher. Mile 17 was the first mile not to be below sub 3 6:52/mi pace but I knew that 17, 18 and 19 included a few twist and turns so I think I lost a bit of rythym. Tried to pick up the pace in mile 20 as I knew I was still up on sub 3 pace but needed to keep working, just couldn’t get the legs to move fast enough. My right calf cramped again in mile 21 and I had to slow for about 30 seconds while the cramp passed. From mile 22 onwards I focused on moving as fast as I could whilst making sure that I didn’t cramp, left calf, right calf and right hamstring all threatening, when they did cramp I just slowed, didn’t panic until it had stopped. Knew for certain with 5k to go that sub 3 wasn’t happening but focused on passing as many people as possible and getting to the finish line. Official timing says that I was in 986th @ 30k and finished in 875th, So my death march was faster that 111 other runners. According to Strava splits, I was still technically at sub 3 pace at 35k.
Mile splits: 6:45, 6:44, 6:51, 6:43, 6:44, 6:45, 6:43, 6:46, 6:47, 6:52, 6:42, 6:51, 6:41, 6:49, 6:52, 6:50, 6:55, 7:00, 7:02, 6:57, 7:06, 7:08, 7:18, 7:16, 7:23, 7:16, 1:25