29 April 2008

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

I think I can say that my tenth Marathon, the Shakespeare Marathon in and around Stratford on Avon, turned out to be the worst in nearly every respect.  I met some nice people, and in some cases went through hell with them; I got to the finish line and collected my medal and a banana; and I enjoyed the scenery.  But I was on the course for very nearly five hours, and for the second half of that period it was seriously hot and sunny.  I imagine that Marathons are run in far more adverse conditions, but not in England in April - I arrived at the end with, I suspect, a touch of heat- or sunstroke.  Perhaps an instance of the wise thing to do being to run, and get out of the sun sooner.
I was in better shape than Mark, a first-time Marathoner whom I met somewhere after Mile 22 - though we had spent the previous four hours or so in fairly close proximity.  He thought he had over-hydrated, potentially a big problem on a hot day (especially as the race was the best-supplied one I have ever been in, with water and energy drinks at frequent intervals), but it sounded as if he had taken about half as much fluid as I had.  That might be another reason why I still feel pretty ropey.  My legs have got back into action fairly quickly - I even cycled to the station this morning - but I do seem to be taking a while to get over other effects.  On my way home from Stratford, I even had to pull into a lay-by for a nap.
I ran a long way with Rupert, an ultra-Marathoner who seemed to have a pretty difficult day too - left him well behind when he had an attack of stomach cramps, then he passed me again after the wheels had come off at about 18 miles - who sported an Ethiopia running vest.  I suggested to him that perhaps something rubbed off on him when he wore it, rather like I hope that training runs with much more gifted and serious runners will do the same for me.  Well, my really serious and gifted training partner (although we have only run together once or twice) was at the time way ahead of us, probably just about to complete her half-Marathon - one lap of the course - and win the women's race.  I guess it takes more than just a couple of runs to make a difference.
I must also mention Jayne with whom I ran about 18 miles and who gave me a lot of support along the way - in return for which I told her all sorts of negative things that a first-time Marathoner (as she was too) shouldn't hear.  It is only just and fair that she should have finished half an hour ahead of me!

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