Wednesday, 22 April 2015

ASICS Manchester Marathon

22/04/2015 - 2015 is the year I turned 50 and to celebrate my wife and I decided to start the year by buggering off on a cruise around the Caribbean in February. So we flew over to Miami and after a night in a hotel board the Carnival Cruise ship Freedom. Setting off we watched the sun set over the ocean while downing a few cocktails.

I had planned to start the year training for the ASICS Greater Manchester marathon which was scheduled in mid-April but I had cracked a tooth at Christmas and it had caused an infected jaw. Several weeks of antibiotics and an extraction two days before traveling to the USA had meant I'd not run pretty much at all in January. Once on board the ship I made use of the gym and the running track to do at least a few 5k's and one 10k while I was at sea. It helped that I got to swim a bit at some of the island visits. St Kitts was my favourite and we've decided to try and see if we can holiday there next year.

On the Beach - St Kitts

St Kitts - lovely.

We had a lovely time though all the food and drink was not helping with my training or weight. It was my birthday while on board and the chap who looked after our room decorated it and I got a lovely birthday cake. I've had worse birthdays.

So back home an I decide I really need to up the mileage and start doing some much bigger runs at the weekends. First one a 16 miler, then a 19.5 miler, slow but they felt good. I never managed more than a 20 mile run but I was please enough considering the fact the the jaw infection had stopped me running at all in January. I had time for a bit more fun before the marathon so my wife and I went to see Paloma Faith at the O2 in London. An amazing show. Not content with that a few days later we met with some great friends and we went back to London for a cracking meal Babylon, rooftop garden restaurant in Kensington.


After a couple of glasses of bubbly and a lovely dinner we headed over to Brixton to see Sam Smith in concert at the Brixton Academy. Another amazing night of music to cap an amazing day.

Sam Smith - best seats :)
So all the fun aside it was time to have a crack at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, which was to be a bit of a warm up for the Spitfire Scramble Ultra I'll be running in August. I traveled up to Manchester the night before to stay with my brother and his lovely family. I was very well fed and watered and even got a lift to the race and back after - thanks bruv and thanks to Andrea his understanding wife who's going to be doing a half marathon herself this year.

I got into Manchester and the race village nice and early and was very pleased to have met a few of my friends from my favourite Internet group (you know who you are). We had a chat then moved to the start line. I was going to be the slowest of the lot so hands shaken I waved them off as they headed towards the sharp end of the race.

It was not long before the race started and 10 minutes later I crossed the start line and the race started for real. Just over a mile in and I see a familiar face. Another of my Internet buds was just ahead running her first ever marathon. We had a chat and wished each other the best and as we had different pace strategies we head apart.

After a few miles I got chatting to a chap called John who was running at my pace and good company. Turns out he'll be doing his 100th marathon this year, wow. We kept each other company until I think about mile 14 ish which meant the time flew by and I was feeling great and felt I could up my pace a bit.

Me and John.
I was actually hopeful that I'd do a much better time than I'd hoped as my only objective other than finishing was to get under 5 hours, 4 hours 35 was perhaps possible? Well no, not today. By mile 20 I started to feel it, having not run greater than 20 miles in training was biting me on the arse. I pushed on but I could feel my earlier energy dropping. By mile 23 the 4:45 pacer had caught me. I stayed on his should for a mile but eventually, on a small hill, dropped back. Last mile and I made the mistake of walking a bit, which lead to walking a bit more. Kicking myself up the arse I got running again and turning the corner and into the home straight I pushed through the pain and sprinted home. Crossing the line was bloody amazing.

I'd try to duck under the 5 hours on the clock but I missed it by 3 seconds though my chip time was 4 hours and 50 minutes, a PB by 25 minutes so very happy despite the last couple of miles. My new friend John finished just behind me in 4 hours 57 minutes. I was met by my brother who laughed as I staggered back to his car and he drove me back to his house where my car waited. A four hour drive home and I was knackered but happy.

Loved the Manchester Marathon and I am very tempted to do it again, though I also fancy another crack at London. Next race though is the Blenheim Triathlon in June then the Spitfire Scramble in August.

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