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

Well that was to be the title (but with an exclamation mark) of my previous blog but with hindsight I am glad I changed that blog & it’s contents because it has allowed me to indeed clear my head & believe it was a self induced blip.

This more positive reflection was helped by a half decent performance in last weekend’s Goldrush in my own backyard. O.K. so my time for the Goldrush of 1:14:07 was a little outside my pb’s of 2016 & 17 (yes that was when I ran the same time two years running) but it was faster than 2018 by over a minute & made it the most competitive performance of the last month which had included a Half Marathon, 14 Miler, Marathon & ‘type 2 fun’ birthday run of 32 miles. So thanks to Matt Ward & his fabulous team in the CyB for giving me the chance to pick myself up, dust myself off & prove that there is still some running in the old dog.

So what did happen in Manchester & why?

The What:-

The race itself started well & remained that way until Halfway, indeed my first & 2nd splits for 10K & 20K were only 6 seconds adrift (at 3:12 pace), very consistent, feeling good, a false dawn. Soon after halfway two guys who’d I’d been tracking with ease started to speed up, wrong, ‘Paul you are slowing down!’

With 16K (10 miles) to go I ran into the Wall & into what felt like at the time a complete nightmare. Feeling ready to collapse, tight chest, absolutely no energy I somehow was still on 3:15 pace at 30K (my pre-race best guess target) but I knew even 3:20 was going to be a struggle.

By now the 3:15 banner guy & his merry band had come past me & were running into the distance soon to be followed by wave after wave of other stronger runners, this was a new experience that I’d recommend to absolutely no one.

The bloody mindedness needed to keep running those last 10 miles felt simply off the scale, at least I had that to cling onto at the finish where I crossed the line in a shell shocked 3:26:33 some 16 minutes down on my pb set, yes you guessed it, in Manchester only 3 years ago.

A long, long walk back to the car, a long, long drive home having to stop twice due to exhaustion saw me clawing at why’s & wherefores’, a new dawn would see me with a more viable reasonings but it was only the Goldrush that would confirm my optimistic conclusions.

This is going on a bit so I’m stopping it there & will answer the ‘Why’ in my next blog thereby allowing you to take a breath or of course in the words of a childhood TV programme you could simply ‘switch off & go & do something more interesting instead!

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