This is the race report that no one will believe.
In fact, I have already been accused on social media to down-talk my fitness and form. But the fact is that I had already prepared my excuses for performing so badly today. How wrong I was.
I must say that I am both proud, happy and surprised of todays marathon at 2.41.01 and a 342 place of the 45.000 participants. Always good to be on the right side of that 1%.
Saying that is actually quite a lot for me – I am rarely completely satisfied with the race. But give me a day and I’m sure I have some things to complain about.
My long term goal with the marathon is sub 2.40 and I missed that with 61 (long!!) seconds today. It may not seem to be a lot, but when you have a few kilometres to go, that minute is like an eternity.
I have done 2.43 before, which awarded me a slot at the London Marathon Championship Entry – and as such I was running for the super friendly club Kettering Town Harriers. They have helped me register as an athlete in British athletics which enabled this. In addition to the actual possibility to start, being part of the championship entry also gave me access to a somewhat calmer starting area outside the crowd – great! But I was so embarrassed yesterday when the club vest I was going to run in (the KTH vest) was back in Sweden. I am truly sorry Matt, but I WILL be back next year with the vest. And finishing that 2.40 quest.
Anyway, my confidence for the race was very very low. My ambition WAS really just sight seeing. My excuses include poor general training due to a foot injury, no long runs, a broken rib and the foot that still hurts. And I weigh about 5 kilos too much. All in all, I didn’t know what was going to be the limiting factor today: a body (legs) that failed post 25 k, a foot that prevented me from going fast or the rib that made my breathing hard and painful.
Anyway the race started and I went off as I always do. With no tactic consideration at all. The kilometres passed by neatly at 3.40-3.45 (even faster), and I sometimes thought it was great, sometimes I was angry with myself for pushing way too hard. I have only ran 26 k twice this year, once in January when I won a night trail race, and one slow practice run a few weeks ago. No other long runs.
Eventually I decided to go for it as long as it lasted. I figured after the first 10 k that my (new) tactics would be
first 10: push it,
10-20 put away the brain and just run
20-30 preserve the pace
It was hard, that’s for sure, but somehow I managed to keep the pace. The rib was ok and it was only my left foot that hurt – so every other step was resonably OK.
The London Marathon is really a great city marathon. No marathon I have done has that crazy crowd, it was almost hurting my ears. Around Cutty Sark it was completely absurd. I think this support really carried me forward so I could manage to keep the pace. Fantastic.
I took gel after gel and eventually started to predict total times. I started to believe that I could do sub4 pace (2.48), which always is great. After that I convinced myself that 2.45 (qualifying time for next years London Marathon) would be possible. Eventually I started to consider my personal best 2.43. When I had about 5 k left I even believed I had a chance in a million to take my final goal, 2.40. This was fueled a bit by my Garmin Fenix3 that had logged a bit too long distance ( in the tunnels maybe) and thus too fast average pace. When I had 5 or 4 k to go I became stronger and stronger, I couldn’t believe it. With no endurance running I was doing 3.40 pace after 35-38 kilometers! I overtook so many runners during this stretch.
With 2 kilometers to go, I had to realize that it was no chance. I was 30 seconds or so behind and there wasn’t any possibility to run the last 2500 meters in 3.20 speed or whatever. But I pushed on and almost had to pay a lot for the final 5 k push. My left calf started cramping every now and then hard. Really hard so that my leg just folded. Final stretch of 1 k was ridiculous. But there it was – the goal.
I missed the 2.40 but I was both so surprised and happy. Could I have reached that goal? Theoretically it seems like it. Its 1.5 seconds faster /k. In practice – not a change. The goal still remains.
If you are interested in my split times, look below (quite even!) or check out my Garmin Connect account.
If I have learned anything with running (reasonably) fast it is that the more solid results you get the less respect you have for the pace. The only reason I could run as I did today was that I knew it was possible – or I managed to fool myself that it was possible. It sure wasn’t the massive training or fitness level.
Mind over body.
Thanks for all my supporters – Charlotta and the Kids, (sorry I missed your show Filippa), Garmin, Gococo, Nordic Wellness, Icebug to name a few.