Borders League and London Marathon

I’ve been tracking a number of people on the London Marathon app. My good friend Salena is looking pretty consistent for the first two 5K markers. There are a whole bunch of Pensby Runners in the field too, with a range of times and expected times between 2:36 to around 6 hours, and this is what it’s all about. This is why big marathons, like London, with a longer cut off time, can allow runners of all abilities to participate. Even if those participants walk all the way.

Some people might think – well what’s the point in that then? If you can’t run all or at least most of it, why enter? There are a few:

  • You may not be physically able to run but you can walk, but it still is not easy. I walked almost a marathon distance on one of the days of my Coast to Coast trek, a month after my first marathon. It felt so much harder towards the end and we had lots of breaks; my legs were about to fall off.
  • You may be a ‘Jeffer’. Jeff Galloway’s famous strategy of creating walk/run ratio times enables a huge amount of people to get out and get active. It is more forgiving on the body as you use your muscles in a different way when you walk to when you run. And therefore your recovery will be better too.
  • You may use this huge endeavour to raise money for a charity. London, as marathon’s go, gives huge exposure to charities as virtually everyone has heard of it. For October 2022 the total amount raised was nearly 60 million pounds, and if a marathon for you is a massive mountain to climb then all the more reason to sponsor you.

I’ve come back to finish this blog and noticed the last couple of people I know who are still reeling in those miles. John, with whom I ran Manchester last week, finishing his amazing three marathons in a month with a virtual London, and Terrie, keeping a really consistent time, which is perhaps how I should have played it last week!

I had a teeny tiny run out myself this morning, with another Borders League race. I had planned to take it easy, especially as I had pushed a little hard at Parkrun yesterday. They say you get slower in your shorter distances after training for a marathon. Well yesterday, I was just 25 seconds off my course PB, and today, I did 6.1 miles in 57 minutes so I would have knocked off a full minute from my recent 10K PB. I was absolutely made up with myself, especially as the second three miles were collectively faster than the first three. Was bush-tuckered by the end but the route, around the lake at Delamere Forest was lovely, even when I was being lapped by a large swathe of front runners.

We had driven there with the wipers on full at times and I was kicking myself for not having put dry clothes in the bag. But it had reduced to a drizzle when we jogged to the start, and had completely turned off by the time we started. A three lap course, which, of course, meant two points of temptation where I could just stop and jack it in.

I wasn’t even sure if I should start, to be honest, as I had that ring of pain around my left thigh on every left foot stomp, but then it had been doing that at the beginning of Parkrun yesterday, and Gary said I should just give it a go. So I did. Quite a huge crowd, in the hundreds, which is huge for these local events, and most of them zoomed past me at the beginning. The geese were going mad with their honking on the water and it actually sounded like a dawn chorus from all the other birds too. I thought I was taking it easy on the first lap, what with my gammy leg and with not knowing the route. It was still getting close to threshold though. I tried to chat with some other runners around me to get my breathing level again and by the second lap it started to become smoother. The leg didn’t fully ease until about three miles in, when a voice shouted ‘Keep to your left’. A cyclist sped along to carve a path for the lead red vested runner. I do love watching the fast people whizzing past. You get to see a lot of good running form that, in your mind’s eye, you can try and emulate. You also get to see some bad form, and one guy wheezed past me and sounded like he had emphysema. Was still devouring those miles though!

The last mile felt really tough, but the split time showed later that I was really pushing the pace so I didn’t mind that.

As I finish this blog, virtually everybody is home aside from the virtual London runner, John, and he’s not far off. There were some good results in the elites too with four British men in the top ten. Granted two of them are getting on a bit, but Emile Cairess is a rising star and definitely one to watch out for. It was a real shame that Eilish McColgan didn’t make it to the start line this time, but hopefully, she will have her time soon.

My running plans are to have no running plans for a couple of weeks, and then I will start formulating some goals. I actually need to get back on the bike very, very soon, as I’m part of a PROBs group trip down to Shrewsbury in just over two weeks’ time and I need to get my backside into shape if not my legs!

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