JP’s Reflections on Manchester and Milton Keynes

JP - Milton Keynes

Manchester & Milton Keynes Marathons

I’ve read some very comprehensive marathon write-ups by fellow club runners recently and was asked to pen my own words for Manchester & Milton Keynes which I ran on 6th April and 5th May. Having PB’d in one and PW’d in the other I think I’ve learnt one or two things, mostly about how not to run a marathon.

Manchester should have been a dream. A flat route, wide roads and smallish field with good crowd support. Training had gone well and I was hungry for it. The trouble started with sleeping badly for 2 nights on the trot. I didn’t allow for the accumulated fatigue I’d built up, kept to a target 3:30 pace and began to fade before the halfway point. The sun came out, I started to melt and my calves began to wobble. It all began to feel very familiar and I was dreading another ‘Disaster in Dublin’ (that’s another story…). When one guy keeled over in front of me I stopped to help and was almost ready to bow out myself as a result when someone else intervened and I had to restart my race, excuse gone. Knowing the route helped and I managed to grind out the final few miles and get a small PB (3:46).

At the end of Manchester and a well deserved rest

At the end of Manchester and a well deserved rest

Now my girls always tell me I should be pleased with my time and how few people ever run a marathon. They are wise and lovely but it niggles that I don’t seem to be able to perform as well on race day as in training. Comments from chairman Rogers that I’ve not yet achieved my potential (could do better in teacher speak!) also seemed to fit the bill and foolishly I figured that maybe I’d just had a bad day and still had it in my legs to have another crack at a PB.

Hence why 4 weeks after Manchester I ran another marathon just on the off-chance that I had something left. Well it turns out I didn’t. I can also now categorically say that I am not a warm weather runner! I probably aggravated a bad situation by maxing out on the H2O in view of the heat. I may not have got to the extreme of hyponatremia but I certainly felt bloated, my legs cramped from mid-way and I have never felt so physically exhausted before at the finish. Clearly a month’s interval was not enough for me and whilst others may revel in the sunshine I’m always going to burn out. I’m told by my support crew that they enjoyed the stadium finish with comfy seats and watching the runners (half marathon and corporate relay also) come in on TV screens. The route was partly undulating and more so towards the end; I suspect it could have been pancake flat and not made any difference. I finished in 4:11.

So there’s my account. My marathon season is closed. I have a small PB, a bigger PW and a greater appreciation of my limitations. I’m going to run some other distances for the rest of the year but will be looking into winter marathons for 2015. That 3:30 itch hasn’t gone away, it’s just on hold.

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One Comment

  1. A great read JP, thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to the celebratory beers when you get that ‘illusive time’, keeping my 2015 diary free.

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