26.2 Mile Run – Temperature 1oC
03:13:49 total time 11th overall
The Rutland Water marathon is 2 miles from my door but with race day was looming I was still trying to figure out why I was even doing the race. I had picked up a niggle in my ankle about 4 weeks before Kona so had backed off the running going into the event. It got very sore during the bike section but wasn’t sufficiently painful to impact my run. Since then I haven’t run at all bar two sixty minute dog runs. Last week it still hadn’t properly settled so I had back to back physio sessions to patch it up – the plan race day was to run until it hurt, cunning stuff. Its results that count not reasons.
I stood on the start line still wondering what pacing target would get me round, ultimately resolving to run and see what happened; never a strategy to achieve anything except disappointment. The horn hooted and we were off, racing across the dam at 6:40 pace, the ankle feeling solid enough. By this time a freezing fog had descended on the water and the temperature had dropped close to zero. Everyone was cheerful enough, skipping along with the sub 3hr pace feeling pretty manageable. We hit 9 miles in 61 minutes; all good except it had started to drizzle. By mile 12 the drizzle had turned into proper rain and by mile 15 it was chucking it down, and it was freezing cold. Half way had come and gone, sub 90mins but by the time I hit 15 miles my legs were starting to give me reasons to pull up. Surely they couldn’t be sore already?
We had started the second lap of the peninsular by this stage and were lapping people. Someone helpfully told me i was in 10th, I had given up on sub 3 but this gave an incentive to get the job done and finish in the top 10. Mile 18 and I was slowing, mile 21 I was slow! I had slipped into an Ironman shuffle and was furtively checking over my shoulder to see if I could blag my way to the end and a top 10. It was still pouring with freezing rain and I was starting to shake, no glory here, just finish and get home; any desire for top 10, sub 3, first Vet etc all out the window. I was passed by a couple of runners, I passed a couple of runners, I crossed the finish line, done.
On a positive note its Monday morning and my ankle feels fine, seems a good thrashing has made everything else ache to mask any soreness there.
This wasn’t the end to the season I had hoped for but it does mark the end of a season with some fantastic highs. This is the first year I have been self coached and i have learnt a great deal, perhaps the most important one is knowing when enough is enough. Ok, I concede this is more than enough, time to rest. Interestingly, reflecting on how I feel right now, I can say I feel more motivated than I ever have at the end of a hard season. Normally I feel physically battered and mentally exhausted but this year I didn’t put pressure on myself to qualify and compete at a high level in Kona and this seems to have made all the difference. Racing to qualify is stressful, more than many would credit. It’s the mental side of Ironman racing that is tough, physical conditioning is well understood and within most athletes grasp given sufficient time.
The 2013 race schedule is shaping up to be great fun, racing with friends and bagging a few races that have been on my bucket list for a year or two. Love it!