The day arrived after 18 weeks of "sort of" committed training since Christmas week I was race ready, I could have been in better shape but its been a long 18 weeks, and by the end of the race I could tell I could have done that little bit more.
We (me and my wife) arrived in Brighton on the Saturday, collected our race packs, did a little bit of shopping in the expo and ended getting my name printed on my shirt, if I ever needed support it was going to be at mile 16+... so I got this done..
I didn't want to hang around to long on my feet on Saturday so did the social "hellos and hows sales going" with my mates at Runbreeze & 2XU and then off to check in at the Premier Inn in Crawley. (which was about 25 minutes away) I decided to get out of the hussle and bussle of 16000 athletes and not have to worry about parking fees and queueing all night for a restaurant table. It also was far cheaper than staying in Brighton too.
I slept great for a strange bed and I woke about 3 hours before the race start to get fuelled for the run, I have choice to 2 breakfast when I was doing long runs, 6 Weetabix or porridge, both with banana. They have enough time to digest and I can get the bowel business done and dusted pre race. A tried and test approach for me on race morning fuelling.
I setup all my race kit and post race bags the night before so it was a simple get breakfast down me, get my kit on and out the door to the park and ride. We arrived at the P&R which wasn't the best organisation from Brighton Marathon as by the time we got parked it didn't leave my wife (a 10km runner) much time to get to the start after a 20 minute bus ride. perhaps they could look into making it a bit slicker as we spent the best part of 60 minutes at the P&R.
My wife left me at the baggage drop off, kissed me and wished me good luck and that was it, I was all alone and running the race was all that was left in my head...
I made my way to the start line, well my coloured corral and I started to need a nervous wee, I saw a porter loo by the start line so I made my way to it no queues straight in, some of the poor runners had been queuing in the main park for a good 30 minutes, I was well lucky even though I probably could have just jumped in a hedge or run a few miles into the race an used a porter loo on route. I decided to stay by the start line and not go back to my coloured corral as I would have to waded through the masses of marathon runners for what... I waited for about 5 minutes next to strangers, I looked around to see any familiar faces, but nothing "2 minutes"for the start was heard over the PA system.. I was ready.. I could have trained a little bit harder but I was there in Brighton ready for the marathon. I have a thoughts of sub 4 hours but part of me just wanted to finish,
HHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNKKK! and were off..
The first couple of miles breeze through and the spectator support is great, in fact it was great the whole course, one of the factors of doing a popular race, people didn't know me from Adam but all I heard was "C'mon Martyn" or "looking Strong Martyn" it was great to hear that all the way around the 26.2 miles.
As the morning went on and the miles grew the temperature got hotter, and my pace starter to get slower. I saw my wife at mile 14, I heard her shout "Go on Martyn" I saw her and gave her a thumbs down, I was starting to slow and over heat, I took the foot off the gas, my half marathon time was 2hrs and I knew a sub 4hr marathon had gone out the window...
Was I disappointed... No not really.. my 2nd objective was to finish and that's what I was going to do. At every aid station I walked to make sure I took on enough water and tipped 2 cups of water over my head to cool down, this was working a treat.
The support at the "tough" miles was amazing, people giving you sweets, water and most important encouragement which I really needed. At mile 20 you entered a quiet part of the course, you had passed all the supporters in town and now you heard race commentators saying "its only a out and back to go, 6 miles if your on your way out, 3 if your on the way back" I found it hard to get my rhythm back and ended up run walking some of the remaining miles which made my time out in the sun even longer.
The turn for the finish line, 2 miles to go... The sea front was packed with people, it was a long straight finish, but I couldn't see the finish line, so I kept my legs pumping and clocked in 2 x 10 minute mile efforts, this was a whole 3 minutes quicker that mile 23.
There it was in all its glory.. The finish line and above it was my time, 04:43 my PB for Brighton Marathon... I crossed the finish line not as gracefully as crossed the start line, but I had do it.. I had finished. The emotion of finishing was amazing if only you could can that emotion and sell it you'd make a fortune!
I stopped and sipped a bottle of water, my ankles hurt and i put this down to the angle of the roads as the roads aren't flat, they have slight angle on them to help with drainage.. well that's what I think anyway.
Lessons Learnt / Observations
- Although I got my food intake before the race, was it enough to keep my energy level high? I had gels which I took ever 40 minutes but was a slow because I was zapped of energy?
- Did I skip to many session - I only completed 70% of the training plan, this definitely told I thought from mile 17 onwards.
- Do we need to be closure to the race start so we don't turn up late/close to start times?
- Stick to my pace from the start and then kick on if you feel good..
I really enjoyed the race, i really enjoyed the experience, I enjoyed the whole thing that much I've enter 2016.. See you again Brighton I've got a time to beat!