The London Experience 2015 –Just Believe !
With some unfinished business after not having the best run in 2014 and an automatic entry for London 2015 (Barry) and Paul about to do his first marathon at the young age of 49 the St. Peters’s pair were geared up for London 2015 the best marathon in the world! Know for the amazing atmosphere any runner can experienced in a marathon.
After meeting up with Owen and Rioghan I Set off for the GFA (good for age) pen which was a bit busier than last year or maybe I was just later getting to it. Could hear some of the big names being called out and watched people jostle for positions. I had my plan and that’s all that mattered to me.
Off we went with a big cheer lots of people racing past me. I felt the urge to go with them but that was going against my plan so I held back didn’t even dodge in and out around people trying to keep in a straight line. First mile was 6:55 so 3 seconds slower than my race pace for sub3 but I was happy with it, relaxed. Next couple of miles seen a slight increase of pace but I put this down to the downhill section before getting back on track.
Kept fairly steady pace during the marathon and there were a few mile markers that stick out. Mile 9 was done in 1:01:03 and a quick calculation (x3) wasn’t good enough (I know a marathon is only 26.2 but last years VLM was 26.7 by my watch). Still wanted to keep it steady as there was still another 17 odd miles to make up the time.
A couple of faster miles (12+13) in and around Tower Bridge seen me cross the half way point in 1:29:09 which was maybe a wee bit quicker than I’d have liked but felt comfortable. During mile 15 I needed to get a gel and had to negotiate the other sub3 runners to get to the side of the road for a water bottle, made sure I didn’t put anyone else off their stride while trying to keep mine. Mile 16 seen the first of the tunnels which resulted in the GPS being lost but it actually worked out better apart from making me to do some extra calculations which is difficult at that stage of a marathon.
By mile 18 I started to focus on counting down the miles but also realised that it was going to be tight to get the remaining 8.2 miles in the time I had left. I guess that’s why miles 19 and 20 were a bit quick. Only 10k to go and I should be able to do it as long as I can hold my pace, took a bit of pressure off.
Getting to mile 22 I knew there was a bit of support up ahead ‘Fetchpoint’ got a great cheer from them and with only 4 miles to go I was feeling better. Should be able to do this inside 30 minutes, might even be able to afford to slow a bit but didn’t want to do that.
The difference 2 miles makes because just as I was hitting the 24 mile marker my legs became heavier, my head dropped and I thought about walking, I just couldn’t run anymore. BUT then I remembered that Brenda and the kids were to be just around the corner near the 25 mile mark, surely I could keep the effort going till I got past them at least. Miles 25 and 26 were my two slowest (not counting the tunnels). Seen the family and got a pick me up, there’s only about 1 or 1.2 miles to go and I had about 9 minutes to get there. 800 to go and surly I could do 8minute mile pace but maybe I could get a new PB, 400 to go and it was going to be close, 200 to go and I seen the clock change to 2:59 and allowing for the delay in me getting over the start line I knew it was achievable. Twice in the last 200 yards I burst into a ‘sprint’ didn’t even have time for my usual airplane arms waving about. Dipped for the line and stopped the watch, as the race is chip timed I would have to wait on the official time before I knew if I had got my PB or not. Just in case I saved the time recorded on the watch and hoped for the best. Before too much longer it was confirmed that the time on my watch matched that of VLM so I was the owner of a brand new PB, by 2 seconds, of 2:59:18.5 years after previous PB and thinking that I wouldn’t be getting any more I set a PB for the half marathon and the marathon. I put this down to training hard at the club and on my own, setting a realistic goal, training to a particular pace and most importantly of all I BELIEVED.An amazing experience and well worth putting the effort in. Thank you to everyone at St Peter’s AC.
What am I going to do now? – it’s over! After months of training and fundraising the London Marathon is over; the memories however will live long though.
WOW! what an experience for my first marathon – it does live up to all its hype, believe me! Memories of the crowd lining the whole 26 miles cheering everyone on; the sheer cauldron of noise; the unbelieveable participants of all ages, gender, shapes and race, who are running for special reason; the incredible organisation of the whole event; the feeling that you are in the middle of something quite special. It all comes together to leave you with memories you’ll never forget. Etched forever in my mind is the moment I saw the finish line ahead and thought of all the hard miles during the winter months of training that had brought me to that moment and I punched the air in celebration!! If you can, definitely do the London Marathon!
Roadrunner Ríoghán so glad to see Buck House!
After what i felt was a tough run in Dublin 14 Dublin where i had to walk the last 10k because of a knee problem and i was determined to make up for it..i knew i could do better, then my name was pulled out of the hat and along with Owen, Ciara and Barry I was on my way to London..Training started in January, Tempo runs on Saturday in the snow and ice with the fellow young St Peters rising stars, Jamie, Gerard and Sean and on the long runs we were joined by the Senior guys, Paul Frankie and Collie.. Getting up in the cold and dark at 7am to have breakfast to run in the hail and driving rain, i had to keep thinking of spring time in London..
Training progressed well, helped with running in the group at the weekends provided motivation and encouragement to kick on and do extra miles, and by the end of Jan I was running 7 mile tempos on sat and on 16 miles steady on Sunday mornings ..By mid feb after stepping on a log in the dark while out on a short run, i had tweaked my ankle, i was out for 2 weeks.. it was frustrating not being able to get out and train.. but i kept fitness up by using the turbo trainer at home and returned at the last weekend of feb to do a a tough 18 miler, pulled round and paced Frankie and Paul.March came and went with club training by week and park runs and long runs at the weekend.., i was starting to run the park runs under 20mins, and completed 4 18 milers at under 8min mile pace, my confidence was building and was looking forward to tapering..
During april i was now having problems with my good leg, but kept up with the long runs, doing the last one alone at 7am on easter Sunday..finishing comfortably i knew i was in good shape and ready for London.. and i celebrated with a box for 24 coors light, replenishing the carbs i told myself..
The rest of the month was plagued with little niggles and i didn’t train as much as id like too.. my legs were starting to feel the strain of the 40 miles a week training..I finished my training with the run Armagh 10k on the Sunday before The Marathon, worried about niggles through april i wanted to perform well, but keeping in mind to hold back, that lasted about 10 seconds and decided to go all out, finishing in just over 41mins with more in the tank, a huge boost in confidence.. Bring on next week i thought..
That takes me to Race Day… meeting Barry, Owen and Grainne before the start for a bit of banter and the obligatory team Photo was great to get rid of pre race nerves, then it was off on my own to the start line…The first few miles flew in starting slow, trying to get myself settled into pace, after 4 miles i had passed the 3:30 pacer, determined not to let him pass me again… by 10k and around the Cutty Sark i was feeling fresh.. i can push on i thought, but aware to told back and not get carried away…
The miles went in, and tower bridge came into view just before half way, the first real land mark of the course..it was awe inspiring..crowds were making so much noise i never noticed the short climb to the bridge, a look at my watch and i was running at 6min miles…Put the anchors on i thought…At 20 miles after a few attempts of head maths started to calculate finish times.. I set the target for sub 3:25 and put the head down along the embankment to knock the miles out and keep pace… I thought of what Jamie and Gerard had said to leave it all out on the course.. I done a quick check, legs good, guts good..and before i knew it i was running faster with every mile. Later analysis sent from the London Marathon results page said i passed 550 people in the last 7k while only 16 had passed me.. the extra training had really paid off..Passing Big ben I heard my name and seen Caoimhe cheering me on giving me a boost for the final mile… pulling into the mall i was exhausted after giving it all over the last 6 miles.. i was never glad to see a street covered in Union Jacks…Crossing the line in 3:23, knocking 10mins off my PB… i couldn’t have been more pleased! Finishing off a Special day I headed for the Ritz Yip The ritz!, Yip I know it’s not the ashburn but sure what the… for a slap up 5 course meal…well deserved…
I will never forget arriving home that October day to find my pack from London marathon telling me I had secured a place, fear panic and excitement all set in. I remember saying ‘what have I done?’The long runs and training began and before I knew it April the 26th arrived and we were all London bound. The expo was something else, so many nervous runners buying everything they could get their hands on. With numbers and chips at the ready we were all set for the big day.
I was for the blue start and met Owen and Grainne Crilly before the off. Queues for the toilets as far as the eye could see, Vaseline and deep heat everywhere. Bags dropped off and it was time to hit start on the Garmin.Nuala and Jamie had said about the crowds but nothing could prepare you for the volume and mass of people everywhere it was like being a celebrity for the day. They called your name, gave you Jelly Babies and I was even offered a few pints of beer along the route. The English pronunciation of Ciara was interesting to say the least.!
I loved every minute of it and saw some amazing costumes from a woman running it in heels, to dinosaurs and men in speedos. Canary Wharf was where I first saw family and friends and that was special but going over Tower Bridge was unbelievable.Before I knew it I was running up The Mall and the finish line was in sight. Across the line I went and I remember the MC/commentator saying that 12 runners a second were crossing at that time. It was great to finally get the medal around my neck and the walking like a duck began!!It really was one of my most memorable experiences and it was great to have such an enjoyable marathon after my first marathon was plagued by injury. I have entered the ballot again for next year so fingers crossed.