The MK Marathon finally arrived, along with the heat wave!
Sunday: MK Rocket 5K
On Sunday, the MK organisers host a 5k from the city centre out to the stadium. Its a particularly fast course, not that I would know as I spent most of the time focusing on running slower, trying to conserve energy for the marathon the next day! Rox took part and went for it, setting a new PB.
It was great being able to do an event together, something that rarely happens now the kids are around. Afterwards it was time for some breakfast and then some shopping before returning home for some carb-loading and rest before the marathon.
A lovely morning, but the most worrying thing was the sweat levels, and this was with a gentle jog at 9am in the morning. The marathon wouldn’t start until 10am, and it was predicted to be hotter!
Monday: MK Marathon
Arriving at the marathon I was lucky enough to have ‘VIP Access’ (get me!) and as such was able to sit in a lovely air conditioned room and catch-up with the other ambassadors. It was then onto the pitch for a group photo before making final preparations for the run.
The Opening Miles
The 1st 6 or so miles are around the city centre and involve a few gentle climbs to get things going. The support is great in these parts, and I focused on holding my heart rate down at about the 160 rate, and this was going particularly well. The mile splits were about where I needed them to be for a 4 hour marathon.
Into the Countryside
After the opening miles, you turn off through a housing estate and onto many of the countryside footpaths / cycle paths that MK has. There was the welcome relief of shade being provided by the trees, and once again I struggled on Mile 7 for no apparent reason (exactly the same thing happened last year!). It was about this time that the HR went up and the mile splits also rose. I decided at this point today was not the day for a sub 4 hour attempt, but something in the region of 4:10-4:20 might be on the cards. Going through half way in 2:05 seemed to suggest things were going fairly well.
The Second Half
Everyone who has run a marathon knows that half way is really around the 20 mile mark. For me, it turned out to be about 15 miles. At the water stop at 15 miles I took on some water and starting feeling sick. I tried drinking some more and starting retching. That mile turned into a walk affair. I somehow then pulled it together again for Miles 16 and 17. However these miles have been the only marathon miles I’ve ever run when I would have happily dropped out if there had been an easy option to get me back to the end. From Mile 18 I adopted a walk-run strategy. Even at Mile 25, I was considering walk breaks!
The stadium finish was fantastic as always, and whilst the steps weren’t as welcome I did like the change that the organisers had made to have everything contained in the stadium. Returning back to the VIP room a slice of this cake from GBBO contestant, Ian Cummings, was a welcome way to start the recovery!
MK Marathon always take pride in their medals, and this year is no different. For taking part in both the Rocket 5k and the Marathon a bonus medal is awarded. 3 medals for 2 runs – fantastic stuff.
Thanks to the organisers, volunteers and the outstanding supporters, with everything from hosepipes and supersoakers through to oranges and jelly babies – they really do make this event special. This year has been extra special for me being an ambassador for the marathon which has somehow made me feel a bit more part of this fantastic event.
After initially being disappointed in missing my time goal, upon reflection I’m delighted with what I accomplished yesterday. At some points yesterday I was giving up marathon running, but today I’m back with some renewed enthusiasm. I’ve also just checked my position rankings through the race and turns out I moved up through the field despite the difficulties!
Onwards to Snowdonia Marathon… with a small swim between now and then! I’ll also be back at MK Marathon next year for yet another sub 4hr attempt!