Paul’s Blog – Manchester Marathon, a race too far? Part 2

Before I go any further a quick reminder that this Saturday sees the Fron Four fell race taking place near Caernarfon so good luck to race organiser, Mike Blake, & all those taking part, carrying fluids might be prudent.

Now back to Manchester & that Why?

Well it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of breakfast as my pre-race stopover at Kean & Sandra’s for the night saw me being fed a breakfast fit for a King, or runner at least so why had I lost so much energy so quickly?

The main reason related to parking & no race support on the day the former totally my fault, the latter not. These were later added to by a lack of a banana & gels.

Parking – Having failed to read the pre-race e-mails until the day before I didn’t pick up on parking had to be paid for in advance & by the time I tried to pay on-line the Old Trafford parking near the start was sold out. In a nutshell I’d had to arrive early & park a long way away (20 minutes or so).

Support – With an un-expected two members of staff down at the café on top of one already being on holiday there was simply no way Dorina could support me this year.

Parking & Support combined – Wanting to avoid the ever busy bag drop & failing to pick up some old warm clothes (to be thrown away at the start line) my walk to the start was cold, I arrived early enough to use the portaloos but far too early to keep remotely warm in just my shortsleeve tops & gloves. I shivered my way from one portoloo to the next (bowel movements long past) simply to hide from the cold but for almost 2 hours simply shivered the clock down to start time.

It was only a day later that with clarity of grey matter I figured out just how much energy my pre-race shivering must have used, of course I was on for a hiding.

The banana & gel lack was definitely my fault, how could I forget to take a pre-race banana from the café, had my guardian Angel been by my side I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened but I should & do know better, idiot. I almost made up for this oversight by taking a spare gel to the start but of course didn’t as ‘I’d had a big breakfast, don’t need a Gel’ ruled my mind.

8 miles in I went for my plastic gel pouch (carried in a belt with hard to access seams), well that went O.K. but at mile 14 my second attempt to enter the seam failed. Mind not being straight I ran on despite knowing I was in trouble & it was only 3 miles later when I found a way to access it. This being far too late had no recovery effect whatsoever.

Initial post race thoughts were, too many training miles but at too slow a pace, too many races leading into it, that Birthday run, I’m getting older, I drink too much wine, those race day gels. The Goldrush has cemented the cause & whilst all of these are indeed factors in my failure to be the fastest O.50 on the planet or even in the Goldrush where some f….. O.50 ran sub an hour (now that’s taking the p…) the true cause was parking too far away making passing time away in a car with heated seats, no support & those pre-race shivers with lack of Banana’s & Gels adding to the mix.

Monday allowed this more positive thinking & was added to when I looked at the results. Of course in my hour & a half of distress I was at least not walking & was passing quite a few who were walking but to discover that I crossed the line only 51 places lower down the field than I’d been at the halfway point was a very pleasant & uplifting tonic after the seeming hoards who had been passing me.

Tuesday was the day to take these positives further, step 1 – visit Matt Ward’s shop, ‘Matt, good to see you at Manchester, I had a shocker, do Salomon do an easy to access belt to store gels…..?’ ‘Look at this one Paul, drinks bottle pocket for Electrolites, Gel pockets, room to store a windproof, all easy to access look I’ll demonstrate, comes in red or black’ ‘I’ll take it in red, I like to be seen’, unquestionably the best bit of kit I could buy for a road marathon, what a result, if only I’d had it on Sunday!

Step 2 – When Angel (aka Dorina) said to me later that day, ‘next year I’m coming with you & we’ll stay in a hotel’ simply say ‘yes my Angel’ so I did.

There endeth the lesson, note to self, must read this in 50 weeks time.

Manchester 2020, I’ll be back!

Whether you are taking part in the Fron Four, running another race or simply enjoying the great outdoors this Easter have a great weekend . I’ll be in the café clearing tables, cleaning pots & wearing a little red belt.

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