Ending the year with a marathon PB I can think of no better way to play and enjoy life.
The Liverbirds Liverpool Marathon is a double marathon event that is staged on the Liverpool docks. You have the option of running a marathon on 31st December or the 1st January or both. The route follows Liverpool Riverside Promenade along the river Mersey. The course is a 3. 27 mile out and back lap of which there are 4. There is a red hat placed on the ground marking the start line and turn around point and a wall to touch at the opposite end of the lap. The surface is road/brick and cobble. Importantly, it's a tad windy as it's exposed to the Mersey, however running next to the water is nothing but a bonus.
In terms of my race, the first stretch to the 1st turn around point was perfect. I felt comfortable and found my stride quite quickly. It is more usual, in the past, for my body/legs to take at least an hour to warm up and to feel like I was performing relatively quickly was a new experience. Albeit cold, the sun was shining and I used this first lap to settle psychologically from race start nerves. I had placed myself at the front on the start line, certainly not a tactic I've done often and feel incredibly out of sorts doing. Yet, more recently I've been getting frustrated with slow starts because of traffic (people) dodging on the start line an the first few miles until folk settle into their paces. I braved it out and was pleased that I did.
The return run of the first 6.54 lap was full of wind, no, not from me, from the Mersey, it was tough going and I found that I had to fight hard to keep pace. I realised at that stage any PB or sub 3 was unlikely as my pace dropped considerably and I was pulling out all the stops whilst trying to be conservative so that I could finish strong.
The rest of the race was spent in the same vein, the outward section of the lap was faster and the windy section was considerably slower. I tried to stay focused on my pace and yet dropped the notion of targets. I started to enjoy the running. I lifted my head and drank in the river, yes choppy, yet I was humbled to be running along a beautiful body of water on New Years Eve, the sun was shining and the breeze made me feel alive.
I've tended to be intimidated by the marathon distance, as my limited previous experience when I first attempted it a few years ago, ended in bonking, and I walked the last 6 miles, (twice that mistake was made). I believed that It simply was not my kind of race, too short to go slow and too long to go too quick, yet as time goes on, I've learnt pacing and fueling (for me) is everything in this running business. 2nd lady had slightly dropped off the pace after the first lap. She remained consistent and was always a threat because for the last few miles I wasn't confident that i'd not tire too quickly. Yet, she gained no ground and when I spotted her on the return of the last lap my confidence increased knowing that I had enough in me to put an effort in. The final lap of the race was one that I pushed on the most. I did not want to finish another race feeling that I hadn't give what I had left. I was nervous as didn't want to mess it up in the last 6 ish miles. I gave a mindful body check, I felt ok, legs felt strong, not too much tiredness, a little sore in calves but not enough to stop me turning up the burners.
The support en-route is amazing with this race. Not from spectators so much, but from other runners doing their own race thing. With it being an out and back course, you're passing each other throughout the race. Faces become familiar and the custom is to high five as you pass. Additionally, there is a mahoosive (red) foam hand being passed between runners randomly with the expectation that you run a lap with it before passing it to someone else. I was relived no one offered it to me as all I could think about is how, with the drag, it would affect my efforts to pace against the wind. Nonetheless, again I appreciate the spirit of the support of like minded individuals who offered motivation and encouragement to each other, human nature at it's best.
I fueled this race with Tropical Fruit Mountain Fuel. The team at Mountain Fuel provide a marathon nutrition guide and is worth a peruse HERE. The product takes care of my carbohydrate, protein, electrolyte and vitamin needs in order to delay the onset of fatigue.
I wore Raidlight laser pants, a base layer, and Mountain Fuel vest over the top. It can be tricky deciding on what to wear for races when the weather is temperamental and unpredictable. I don't want to have to take off tops or carry jackets or feel to cold to function etc on a marathon. I think the choice worked out great and the only discomfort I felt was with hands. I had on gloves but I always have cold hands I've yet to find a running glove that keeps them warm. (can anyone recommend a pair). I wore a merino wrag on my head to keep my ears from freezing and dropping off Picasso style.
I finished first lady in 2.58.44. I was elated for the sub 3 hours. Until I realised some time later that the course was shy of the 26.2 and having done the maths this would have been a 3.01 marathon. Yes of course I'm disappointed as I buy in to that whole sub 3 being a milestone thing. Yet, no matter what, it's a PB and for that I'm proud of my effort.
Thanks to LCF, for the provision of these super toasty socks to keep me warm post race. Thanks Raidlight for your support with kit I love these Laser tights and to Mountain Fuel for fueling me to the finish line. Forever grateful to you all. A super end to the year and now to let my hair down for a New Years Eve. Happy New Year to you all, I hope it's all you want it to be and likewise for 2018.
|Ladies' podium |
🥇Tracy Dean 2:58:44
🥈Catherine Howard 3:05:33
🥉Melanie Edwards 3:11:44