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A Slow Journey to Faster Times

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,606 RedRunner


    Brilliant performance. Well done!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ ThePiedPiper


    Re the stitch.. Same thing happened me in Chicago last year at around 14 miles. I got the stitch right after a gel and some water. In my experience, a stitch in a marathon is usually a fuelling issue. I solved it in Chicago by skipping all the drinks stations for about 4-5 miles and managed to sort of maintain pace. However, when I've gotten stitches at the tail end of marathons, I've never been able to battle my way through them.

    I've read an article somewhere that there is no one definitive cause of stitches and very difficult to actually prevent them completely. To only ship 3 minutes is managing a tricky situation very well. Well done again yaboya, great going. Look forward to catching up with you again sometime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,012 ✭✭✭ jake1970


    Congratulations, thats a fantastic performance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,370 ✭✭✭ ger664


    Well done yesterday. You will nail that Sub 3 just stick at it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1


    I am currently in the process of writing up my Seville race report/life story. Just about to board a plane back to Dublin, so it will probably be later tonight or early tomorrow by the time I post it. I´m going to apologise in advance for completely boring the a*se off anybody that reads it.

    However, it may help Ososlo with her sleeping problems?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 572 Calvin Johnson


    Looking forward to it - everyone loves a race report.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1


    History

    As mentioned at the beginning of the log, I've run three previous marathons. None of these involved following a structured training plan. For the first two I just ran as many miles as I possibly could, in the quickest time I was capable of (this included following 22 mile long runs with 35 minute 5 mile recovery? runs the following day). Obviously injury was a certainty (although I was too stupid to realise it at the time) and I duly did my hamstring 3 weeks before the DCM in 2010, when I played a full hour of 5-a-side football the night after I had run 2:38 in the Athlone 3/4 Marathon. I didn't run at all in the three weeks leading up to the race, even though I failed to mention this in my race report at the time: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=68712867. I suppose I was embarrassed about how silly I'd been. Got the physio to have a look at me the week before the race and when she told me I should be ok, I decided to give it a go. On the day I was hoping for sub 3:40, so I went with the 3:30 pacers. Back then the pace groups were in 15 minute intervals and I fancied my chances more of hanging on if I followed those lads, rather than having to quicken up if I went with the 3:45 guys. Stayed with the group for 17 miles, but had to drop the pace then when my hamstring started to play up again. The last nine miles were very difficult and I barely hung on to get home in 3:39:36.

    Managed to get to Berlin in 2011 injury free (pretty amazing considering how I was training). Really fancied a sub 3:30 there, but it got up to 25C which scuppered my chances. I actually made an intelligent running decision that day for once, easing off the pace very early as I knew I wouldn't maintain it for 26.2 miles in the conditions. Patrick Makau broke the World Record in the same race, but he was over the line at 11:03am, whereas I was out there until 12:40pm at the hottest time of the day! I remember looking at the BBC twitter feed afterwards where they had said that although the runners were below World Record pace, they were starting to slow down because of the rising temperature. It was still going up after they finished when jokers like me were only going past 15 miles. I was actually delighted with the 3:35:20 I recorded as my 5k splits were almost identical from start to finish.

    Anyway, after that I had entered the London Ballot for 2012. When I didn't get in there, I fell off the wagon a little bit and did virtually nothing for more than a year. I decided as a kind of New Year's resolution that I would take it back up in 2013. I started by running 5 miles on New Years Day. That was my first run for about 14 months. It was torture! After that, I ran 5 miles every other day that month right up until the 20th. I spent the 21st - 24th in Amsterdam and then ran 10 miles on Saturday 26th ahead of the Raheny 5 mile the next day (ideal preparation yet again I know!!), which would be my first race of the year. I was happy to do anything under 40 minutes there and came home in 38:46.

    I kept the training going with a little more variety through February and decided to target a few races to keep me focused and motivated. Ran the Enniscorthy 10k on the 10th (46:59), and then managed to secure a place in the Chicago Marathon after more than an hour on their crashing website. That became my long term target and I decided I would try to follow a structured training plan for once (yet still ignore recommended paces). Kept myself ticking over with runs during the weeks and months that followed, along with a couple more races, Curragh 10k (44:33) & Terenure 5 Mile (34:23). Had a pretty decent base built up when I was due to start the plan. I had 16 weeks to the race, but I was just back from my holidays and hadn't run for two weeks. So I panicked and jumped myself up to the P&D 55-70mpw 18 week plan, as I was concerned I may have lost whatever fitness I had gained before my time off. Launched straight into week 3 of that, 58 miles as fast as I could over the course of the week. Result: a torn calf muscle and 7 weeks of zero running. Could't walk for two of those! After some rehab with the physio, I got back to a bit of light running 2-3 times a week. I now only had 9 weeks to the race and hadn't run any miles since June. Focused on getting as many long runs in as I could, just to make sure I could complete the race. I had originally been targeting sub 3:30, but I conceded that was probably a lost cause at this stage. After a couple of long runs though, I became a bit more optimistic and decided to give it a go. Ran a PB of 3:34:53.
    Race Report is here: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=87110901

    A few days after the race I met belcarra & DukeofDromada in Chicago for a few beers. After some lengthy chats about running and training, they opened my eyes to the error of my ways and told me how I could (and would) dramatically improve. Signing up for a Spring Marathon, following a structured training plan (including the recommended paces!) and setting up a training log here were three things they advised me to do. They told me they were certain I'd go below 3:30 in my next marathon if I took their advice. DukeofDromada told me he had run a sub 3 marathon without doing more than 48 miles in any one week, yet there was me trying to run 55-70mpw going for sub 3:30. He convinced me that the "Up to 55mpw" plan would be more than adequate to ensure I hit my target. On the plane home I thought about it some more and realised I had run a PB in Chicago off an awful preparation with virtually no miles. How much faster could I go if my training went well? So I did exactly as they said and that´s how this log came about.


    Training

    Since I had managed to hold the pace for so long in Dublin (2010), only failed because of the heat in Berlin (2011) and missed out in Chicago (2013) because of the interrupted preparation, I decided that sub 3:30 would again be my target time. I settled on Seville as the venue for my next assault on the marathon. It was the race that was on the soonest (I was eager to improve my marathon PB asap), it had gotten plenty of good reviews, it was cheap and I felt I had unfinished business with it, as I had signed up in 2011 but was unable to run because of work circumstances. There was a little over 16 weeks until the race when I registered, so I decided that instead of jumping straight into week 3 of the 18 week plan, I would spend 4 weeks doing plenty of miles myself, before launching into the condensed 12 week version in early December.

    So I opened the P&D book and set about deciding on the paces I would run each session at. When I had done this (after some more advice here), I typed the plan onto an excel spreadsheet and worked the weeks back from race day. December 2nd would be the day it got under way. Everything I've done since that day (November 1st) is on this log. Three long runs (19m, 20m, 22m), a few recovery runs, the odd LT session and a half-marathon race seemed like a good base. After week 1 of the plan, I already felt my target was soft. I mentioned this to a a couple of boardsies at the Xmas beers and they seemed to agree. Most people who were commenting on the log agreed too, so I gradually started upping the paces for different sessions as the weeks went by.

    One thing this log has helped me with is the urge to do stupid things in training. For example, in the past I would go for a 15 mile run intending to run 8:30min/mile. If I got to 12 miles with around 1:40 on the watch, I would push myself hard for the last three to get in under two hours. Basically treating it like a race when that's not the point of the session. Having to report my runs on the log here stopped me doing that as I knew I would be slated (correctly) for doing such idiotic things. I used to think that if I wasn't finishing a workout completely knackered that the session was completely pointless. I know now from what I've read on here that is most definitely not the case and more often than not the opposite is true. Anyway as you can see if you read through the log, my training went very well. I managed not to miss a single session and I left for Seville in very confident mood.


    Pre-Race

    After everything going so smoothly with my training I started to get really paranoid that something would go wrong in the week of the race. It seemed like it was just too good to be true. Felt like I had symptoms of coughs, colds, blocked/runny noses and sore throats all week long. Walking home from work on Thursday night I felt my left achilles at me. On Friday morning it was the right achilles. I kept telling myself it was just taper madness and there was actually nothing wrong with me.


    Friday

    Got to the airport in plenty of time for my 9:50am flight to Madrid. No issues with that and I was in Spain by lunchtime. Had booked a high speed train to Seville from Madrid City Centre, but had allowed myself three hours after the flight landed, in case of any delays and to avoid putting myself under time pressure. On the bus journey into the city, I admired the beautiful architecture and fountains Madrid has to offer. I've been here twice now, but not for more than a day. I'll have to come back for a longer period of time at some stage. Seems like a great city. Had a small bite to eat at the train station before boarding my express train to Seville. Another 2.5 hours in transit before I arrived in Santa Justa station around 7pm.

    My hotel was right across the road, so I was settled in within 15 minutes of arriving in Andalucia. Had a quick shower and headed out for a small bit of dinner. Found a little place that did Paella and shoved some of that down me. Didn't quite fill me up though, so I stopped at another cafe on the way back for some Tapas. I had to find a restaurant with Wifi as English speakers are rare and most of them don't have an English version of their menu. I spent one hour in this particular spot. That can be broke down into: typing Spanish dishes from the menu into Google translate (30 minutes), trying to explain to the waiter what I wanted (10 minutes), waiting for the food to be prepared (10 minutes) and then eating & settling the bill (10 minutes). I was back in my hotel by 10pm. Didn't bother setting the alarm in the hope that I'd sleep as late as possible, knowing that Saturday night's sleep would most likely be a write off.


    Saturday

    I awoke early enough on Saturday, but still pleased with the seven hours quality sleep I had managed. Headed out to the local shop to grab some supplies for Sunday morning. Although it looked warm outside, it was actually quite chilly and I had to go back to the room for a jumper. Give me this tomorrow morning I thought to myself. When I came back outside I saw a few of the elites jogging on the footpath. I think they were all staying in my hotel as they were hanging around the lobby when I got back from the Expo later that afternoon. While I was walking to the shop, one of them shot by me at what seemed like 100mph on the bicycle path. Looked like he was doing some sort of elongated strides (maybe 200m?). These guys are unreal looking specimens. Lean machines with not a visible ounce of body fat. I felt like a bit of a whale walking by them in the lobby when I got back :O.

    Headed out for my final recovery run soon after. A nice leisurely four miles around the streets of Seville. Took it very easily, keeping my eyes on the ground in case I did something stupid like step in a hole and injure myself. I added another imaginary symptom/injury to the collection when I completed this run as my upper left calf was now feeling tight. Grabbed a quick shower when I got back to the room before heading to the Expo. Tried to change my starting pen and my singlet/short sizes when I got there as I've shrunk since last November and I was two pens back from where I thought I should be. Both requests were denied. When I saw the singlet/shorts afterwards I was pretty happy that they had declined my request. The 'Large' size I had been given made Borat's mankini look like a Hijab! I met ger664 after I had collected my race pack and we headed into the dining hall together for our free pre-race feed. After queuing for 50 minutes, we finally received our meals. So much for staying off our feet! We chatted for a while and Ger told me that this would be the final marathon he would race if he managed to hit his target time of sub 3:25 (BQ). It was pretty warm at this stage and we agreed that the first half of the race would be fine on Sunday, but the second half could get difficult if the temperature picked up similarly the next day. We went our separate ways and were due to meet up for the Ireland Rugby game in the pub later that day, where TbL would also be present.

    Ger went to the wrong pub (there's two O'Neills in Seville), so myself & TbL were alone for a while until both Ger & TbL's travelling companion, Moycullen1 arrived. It was while we were waiting on the lads that I revealed my race strategy to TbL. I had been going over my tactics in my head while I was travelling the previous day and had pretty much set in stone what I was going to do. I didn't want to post it here for fear of jinxing myself, but I wanted to tell somebody so I could be pulled up on it if I went out too quick. So I gave him a quick rundown:

    I would try to stick to 7min/mile pace from the start.

    Splits were not to be quicker than:

    5k - 22:xx
    10k - 44:xx
    15k - 1:06:xx
    20k - 1:28:xx
    Half - 1:32:xx

    Then I would hold the pace below 7min/mile until Mile 17/18. At that stage I would make a decision on whether to stay at that pace and secure 3:05, or if I was feeling really strong push on for 6:40min/mile until the finish for a sub 3. I would be fine with either as I should know by that stage of the race what was possible. Was planning to take 4 gels (5, 10, 15 & 20) and enough water to keep me hydrated, but probably no more than a mouthful or two at each station.

    Ger & Moycullen1 (aka 'The Camel' after downing 18 litres of water over the weekend) joined us soon after as we watched Ireland get beaten at Twickenham. We then headed to the No.1 Italian restaurant in Seville for some carbo-loading before calling it a night around 9-9:30pm. All the prep work was done now. It was almost time to go out and justify all the training.


    Sunday

    I had the most awful sleep on Saturday night. I don't think I put more than twenty minutes together at a time. This always happens me when I go to bed before I'm tired. I tried to go asleep around 11:30pm and just wasn't fatigued enough to do so. I'd have been better off staying out later and at least I might have got a few hours. The pre-race nerves/excitement didn't help either. The only reason I slept well in Chicago was because I was so knackered/jetlagged from the previous day that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Even though it wasn't ideal, I knew it wouldn't have any effect on my run as adrenaline would kick in and the lack of sleep would only catch up with me after the race.

    I arose at 5:30am and ate a banana and sipped on a bottle of Powerade I had picked up the night before. I then went down to the breakfast area in the hotel for 6am and ate some scrambled eggs/bacon and toast. Washed that down with a cup of coffee and went back to the room for a shower. All this by 6.20am. Did a few warm up stretches before I left the hotel giving myself another imaginary injury, this time in the left hip. There were free shuttle buses running from my hotel to the stadium, but I wasn't in the mood for waiting and just jumped in a taxi. Got there just before 8am leaving me loads of time to drop the bag off and get down to the start and a chance of possibly sneaking into the right pen (3h-3.15).

    Saw Ger on his way down to the start before I left my bag off and we wished each other good luck. Dropped off the bag and embarked on the half mile journey myself. This was when I really started to go crazy. I'm normally a little nervous/excited before any race, but I felt real pressure here. Everything had gone so well up to now that something was bound to go wrong. I started envisaging a DNF. All my imaginary injuries were niggling at me. I wondered what would happen if I wasn't comfortable in the first mile. The fact that I barely slept would definitely prevent me from showing my true form, wouldn't it? What time would I run? How much time would I lose in the early stages due to congestion? As ridiculous as this sounds, I knew that even if I ran 3:15/3:20 (which would be a 15-20min PB), I was going to be disappointed as I had allowed myself to believe that much better was possible. On Thursday morning I was convinced that nothing could stop me. Now I felt the complete opposite. That all changed pretty soon :).

    The start of a marathon is a wonderful place. It's like a gigantic box of uncoiled springs waiting to be let loose. Throngs of people packed tightly together eager to get going. The MC, along with some loud music helps to build the anticipation. Both here and in Berlin I couldn't understand a word the MC was saying, yet both times they managed to create an atmosphere that had the hairs standing on the back of your neck. This is when my nerves disappeared and changed to complete faith in myself and my training. I knew I had trained hard. I knew I was ready for this. I knew I was imagining all those niggles. And I knew that one bad night's sleep was not enough to stop me. Even better news was that I was easily able to move up under the tapes to the right pen, so congestion should now be a non-issue especially since the start was almost identical to Berlin on a massive dual carriageway with acres of space to move around anybody in your way. Now I couldn't wait to get started.


    The Race

    0-10K

    The gun went and we were off. Perfect conditions awaited us. 8 degrees with a light breeze blowing. I got up to my planned pace almost immediately and felt really comfortable. In the first mile, an English guy recognising my now famous tricolour running shirt decided to have a dig at me about the rugby. I told him Wales would beat them and we'd beat France so I wouldn't get too excited if I was him as we'd still be winning the 6 Nations. He laughed and after that I heard my watch beep. Already a mile down. Lovely. First 5k were almost in a straight line before we turned in towards the city. Moved along nicely always feeling like I could pick it up if I wanted. Nice way to be I thought but remember the plan. Over the 5k mat in 21:57. Failed on part 1 :p. Over a bridge, then we took a left down alongside the river passing a famous bullring on the right. My shirt again caught me some attention. This time it was a Belgian guy who wanted a chat. We exchanged a few words about what we were expecting. He had encountered trouble during his winter training so was aiming for a sub 3:15 despite the fact that he had a previous PB of 3:08. I told him I was hoping to BQ in sub 3:05. We wished each other well and I slowly started to move further ahead of him. Swallowed my first gel soon after and we were 10k in before I knew it. 44:xx on the watch going over that mat. Perfect!

    10-20k

    We took a right straight after the 10k mark then went into an underpass below a main road. This is the only hill of any description I remember on the course. Straight down under the road and straight back up. Nothing major. My Garmin lost signal for a few seconds, but I knew I had held the pace so I just ignored it until it got back to normal. Went through the 15k in 1:06:xx. Everything still going to plan. Took my second gel. It was at this point I had a really annoying Spaniard decide to sit on my shoulder. He obviously realised I was running 7min/mile pace and was looking for a pacer. He was literally upsides me for the next 5k. What made it worse was he would either cough or clear his throat every ten seconds. I moved from one side of the road to the other to get rid of him but he followed me. He sounded like he was struggling to hold the pace and I knew I could drop him if I wanted but I was sticking to my strategy no matter what, meaning I'd have to bear him for a little while longer at least. Coming up towards 20k, I recognised the street we were on as being the one where my hotel was situated. Through 20k in 1:28:xx. I was starting to get pretty proud of myself knocking out these splits. Nearing the halfway mark, I remembered there was a pretty steep climb over the railway tracks straight ahead of us so I braced myself for that. As we got to said bridge the course took a right turn, staying on the flat and leaving me pretty happy that the energy I was holding for the climb could now be used to speed away from the grunter behind me at halfway.

    20-30k

    Through the half in 1:32:xx. Now I could step on the gas a little bit to drop the grunter. This was my quickest mile of the race. He didn't/couldn't go with me and I never saw/heard him again. Now I was happy to drop back to 7 min/mile for a while. Got my third gel down the hatch and hung around that pace until Mile 17/18 as planned, although I did get a slight stitch around this time. It was at this point I met a guy in a Letterkenny AC singlet. He asked what I was targeting and I told him. He said he was going to hold 7min/mile pace until Mile 22, where he planned to kick on and try for a sub 3. Seemed a bit late in my eyes to be trying to make up that much time, but who was I to question him? He asked how many marathons I had run explaining that this was first. An impressive debut I thought to myself. I wasn't much in the mood for talking at that stage anyway and I told him so, trying to take the advice I've read on here about relaxing through the pain. I let my arms swing by my side and gave myself gentle massages in the affected area every few seconds. He helped me a lot at this point, as I just made sure to stick with him rather than having to keep an eye on my watch. The stitch went away and I was back running comfortably again. Put back to back miles of 6:58 together here despite the minor hiccup, so had got through this little episode without any damage. I told him then I'd run with him until mile 22, but I wasn't going to kick on then. I had now decided that I was happy with what I'd got. Speeding up could cost me and there was still no guarantee that I could make that sort of ground up anyway.

    30-40k

    I haven't put in much about the scenery on the course up to now, because the truth is I was so focused on my pace/strategy that I barely noticed anything. I know we passed both football stadiums, but I didn't see either of them along with anything else up to this point. Just after we passed the 20 mile mark, the Letterkenny guy started to accelerate away from me, but I wasn't slowing so I let him go. I took my last gel before the water station and grabbed the first cup when we came to it to help wash it down. Then took an extra cup to throw over myself and realised too late it was isotonic drink. Luckily another runner gave me his remaining water and there were sponges immediately afterwards which prevented any going in my eyes or having a sticky head for the last 10k. We took a turn into a park here somewhere and did a little loop of a fountain in the middle. I notice my split for Mile 21 is 7:08. I probably dropped those few seconds with all the twists and turns of that mile. I actually felt pretty good on this part of the course. There was a big crowd in this area which helped spur the runners on. When we came back out we took a sharp left then a right and we were starting to head in the direction of the finish.

    I went over the 35k mat still bang on target. I hadn't started to count my chickens yet, but I knew it wasn't too much further before I could start to be very optimistic. Another mile down and still moving comfortably. All of my worries had been unneccesary, had they? That question was answered with a resounding no in the next few hundred yards. I felt the stitch coming on again. Nothing to worry about I thought. I was wrong. I treated it the same as the one before, but this one was more resilient. Dropped from 6:59 to 7:16 in this mile. The more I ignored it, the more painful it got. The more I tried to breathe deeply and relax, the more difficult it became to breathe at all. The only thing that alleviated the pain at all was slowing down. So that's what I did. I felt like I should stop altogether but there was no way I could do that after getting so far so comfortably. One little pain wasn't going to ruin my race. But it wasn't a little pain. It was excruciating! I slowed to what felt like a walk as the other runners streamed by me. Finally it became less painful, but it didn't go away. I was so disappointed. What had promised to be a great race was now being ruined with a 9-10min/mile. But hang on! I looked at my watch and I was still moving below 8min/mile pace. Because of my position in the field at that stage, it feels a lot slower because the pace of those around you is so much quicker. I started to gain confidence. If I could hold this mile below 8mins, I could speed up again as soon as the stitch passed and still hit the target. 7:45 split for the mile. Far from disastrous. It was going away. I could start to speed up again. So that's what I did. Bang! Straight back and even worse than before. Slowed me down even more. 8:03 for that mile. I now accepted that I just had to go at the slower pace until the finish. If I pushed again it could stop me completely. I knew sub 3:05 was gone, but I also knew sub 3:10 was in the bag once I didn't start running 9/10 min miles. Although this was the worst part of my race, it was actually my favourite part of the course. You run right through the city on the tram lines. The crowd is three or four deep and there's only enough room for 4/5 runners across the course. It reminded me of a section of the London Olympic course in 2012 where they ran under a Church in a back street. Very intimate. The crowd were brilliant here. I only wish I could have acknowledged them more but I was in too much pain to do so. We exited that part of the city and crossed back over a bridge towards the stadium. What felt like the longest 4k of all time was ahead of me. I crossed the bridge and took the sharp right that brought the stadium into view on my left. Ran parallel with the stadium for about a mile before turning straight towards it. It now felt like I was heading straight for the tunnel. I wasn't! Through 40k now. Can't remember the split. It didn't matter. I knew I was going to be somewhere between 3:05 - 3:09.

    40k - Finish

    Sharp turn left comes up pretty quick and I'm looking behind me as I start to run away from the stadium. Now the stadium is on my right and getting further away. Where are we going? Another two sharp rights come up quickly and I'm back heading straight for it again. This time I can see the tunnel. Finally! I encounter a welcome downhill ramp as I head down under the stands. Back out into the open and onto the track. There's a tremendous atmosphere in here as the MC seems to be generating a lot of cheering. I can't understand what he's saying but he seems to pick out runners as they enter the stadium and commentate on them all the way to the line. Seems like brilliant stuff. I have no idea if he's done this with me but I don't care. I remember reading a comment by MarthaStew a few weeks back saying she always celebrates completing a race. I actually can't remember the finishes of my previous marathons very well, as I was so knackered that I got over the line asap and didn't get to enjoy the atmosphere. Well that wasn't going to happen here. I turned towards the straight with about 100m to go and went a bit crazy. I waved at the crowd and gestured at them to support me. I started screaming my head off in celebration. I could see the clock ahead. 3:08:xx. I was going to knock 26+ minutes off my PB. I should enjoy this. And I did. Immensely. I don't know if the crowd were cheering me and I don't care. I told myself they were and reacted as if that was the case. I held my arms aloft in joy and crossed the line in sheer elation. The end of a tough journey through the winter, all for that moment. I then had this magnificent medal draped around my neck: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=653282698066430&l=1f19ad4b68


    Garmin data is below.

    Seville Marathon: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/451033012


    Post race

    Compared to previous marathons, I actually felt pretty good after this. Did a few calf stretches and was able to walk pretty comfortably. The uphill ramp back out of the stadium to the baggage drop wasn't ideal though. I picked up some water, a couple of oranges and a bottle of Powerade on my way outside. I dried off and got changed before lying in the sun on the grass for about twenty minutes. Decided I'd head back to the hotel soon enough where I could try and contact the lads to arrange to meet up for a beer. I bumped into Ger at the bus stop/taxi rank outside and he told me of his great time. None of us knew how TbL or Moycullen1 had gone, so we hoped to catch up with them at the bar later on. We all met up in O'Neills later in the afternoon where TbL told us his bad news. Moycullen1 had been struggling with a hamstring injury and was sceptical about making it around before the six hour cut off limit, but in the end I think he finished in 4-4:30 which was quite an achievement in the circumstances, so well done him! The two lads then had to leave to catch a flight back to Madrid so we wished them farewell. Myself and Ger shocked the lounge girl by gorging on burgers and desserts along with a feed of pints. She seemed baffled that we could eat so much probably wondering where we put it. I wasn't able to stay out late though. One thing I've noticed since I took up the running is that I've become a bit of a lightweight. In saying that, along with the alcohol, the fact that I slept so badly and ran a marathon that day probably had something to do with me feeling so shattered. I wished Ger well and headed back to my hotel. Think I was in bed by 11-11:30pm. I made up for my lack of sleep on Saturday night with a proper night's rest on Sunday. Then it was back home covering the same route as Friday in reverse.


    Verdict

    The Seville Marathon is an absolutely fantastic race. I can't really fault it. The weather conditions were perfect. The course is flat & scenic. The stadium finish is a very good feature imo. The price (€30) is unbelievable for a marathon. For that price you wouldn't expect a lot, but you get so much. The medal is beautiful. I think it's the nicest medal I've ever received in my life. The crowd were super too. I wasn't expecting much of a crowd at all, but when I think back I can't think of many parts of the course that didn't have plenty of supporters cheering and clapping. As I mentioned to the lads, the only negatives for this race that I can see are not to do with the race itself, but with related factors. Number one is getting to Seville in February. It's not that easy. There are no direct flghts from the UK or Ireland. I got a train from Madrid that cost me more than the flight, while the lads had to also come through Madrid & Malaga. You basically need to allow almost a full day just to get there. On the plus side, because it's not that popular with tourists at this time of the year, hotels are very cheap and the city itself is well worth a visit for it's excellent sights, architecture and restaurants. The cost of everything in fact is pretty reasonable. Number two negative is the timing of the race. It's a perfect day in southern Spain for a marathon, but if you live in Ireland that means training throughout the depths of winter in the dark, cold, wet & windy conditions we get at that time of year, as well as over the Christmas period. It takes a lot of commitment. Definitely a race I would recommend though.


    Aftermath/Future

    Have met some more great people this week. What can you say about ger664? An inspiration to anybody, surely? This is a man approaching 50 years of age who cruised to a Boston Qualifier with almost four minutes to spare and ran a 19 minute PB in the process. A thoroughly nice man and great company in the boozer.

    I'm gutted for TbL. Just wasn't his weekend. He was forced to move hotel rooms in the early hours of Saturday morning due to an inconsiderate builder throwing stuff into a skip. He then had the DNF. I think his confidence going into the race was a bit low due to a few issues he had in his final week of training. Anyone who's been following his log will know how well he was going though and I expect him to run a very good time very soon. I think he plans to race in Limerick? Tremendous company and gave us all a great laugh in the time we spent together.

    Moycullen1 was our tour guide, organising the restaurants, transport and pubs. Plenty of banter between him & TbL, but it was all in good fun and ensured a very enjoyable few days.

    What can I say about the Marathon? I love it. I'm obsessed by it. For me it's the ultimate challenge, the ultimate race. The fact that I went so well for 23 miles and still got kicked in the stones by it makes me love it even more. It's just such a difficult race, so hard to master. We talked about this over the weekend in depth. It's not a race for bluffers. You will be found out unless you've put in the miles. Ger said while we were eating on Saturday night that it's one of the only races where you don't know at the start whether you will finish. Unfortunately this turned out to be the case for one of our group. I have no interest in going any further than the 26.2 miles though. TbL reckons this will change in the future as I get older (and slower!). And as much as I like to run good times and beat my PB's at other distances, the marathon is THE RACE. There is nothing like it. I was speaking to blockic at the Xmas beers and he seems to feel the same, despite the fact that he was within touching distance of a sub 3 in Rotterdam and ended with a DNF. How can you not love it? Something that difficult gives you such a sense of accomplishment when you get it right.

    I'm delighted with my result despite the fact that I missed out on a BQ. Boston and London aren't going anywhere and I'm getting faster. It will only be a matter of time and I'm not in any rush. All roads lead to a sub 3 attempt for me in Berlin. I'm in the New York ballot, so if I get in there I'll skip Dublin in October and run that too. If not, I'll run Dublin but I'm not sure whether I'll be racing it or not. It will probably depend on the Berlin result. I'll have to play it by ear. In the meantime I'm going to continue to work on my goals for 2014. I've hit two of my targets from six already and they were probably the toughest of the lot to be fair. My sub 70min 10 Mile and sub 1:30 HM are already looking extremely soft and I think I'll go out trying to go sub 65 and sub 1:25 when I run them. The shorter two distances are not far away from being right, but sub 18 for the 5k & sub 31 for the 5 mile are probably better targets for me than the current 19 & 33. I'm going to do a few parkruns in March/April, possibly a HM around then too and then the Terenure 5 Mile in May. I also need to find a 10 miler at some stage. I'll do Frank Duffy if I haven't got one in before then. I'll start my marathon specific stuff in the summer. I might give this HADD training a go. Seems to get good results for most people.


    p.s. Apologies again for the ridiculously long post/report, but I like to talk about this stuff and most people I know couldn't give a toss about running, so it's nice to share it with people who are interested/care/could be bothered.

    Thanks for reading!


  • Registered Users Posts: 742 ✭✭✭ Ferris B


    What an enthralling report. Great analysis and honesty on the early running years . A few lessons in there for all. Well done.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,080 ✭✭✭ Gavlor


    Out of curiosity, did you manage to break 3 hours for your report?

    Man that would be some achievement!

    Edit: Just finished reading.

    Great report!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,858 ✭✭✭ Duanington


    Great read, congratulations on bagging a great time for yourself despite the stiches!


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,008 barryoneill50


    Great report, really enjoyed your description of your finish, well done!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,583 ✭✭✭ overpronator


    Enjoyed your report, well done on smashing the PB, congratulations!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,420 Ososlo


    yaboya1 wrote: »

    However, it may help Ososlo with her sleeping problems?

    Far from it! As was said already - enthralling report and great to put this race in context for us with the background and lead up. Love your analysis of what the marathon means to you too.
    Best of luck with the recovery.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,934 career_move


    Super race and report. Congrats :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭ Beef


    Jesus that's a great report worthy of your marathon performance! The stadium finish sounds brilliant. Congratulations - enjoy the break before coming back stronger.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1


    Gavlor wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, did you manage to break 3 hours for your report?

    Man that would be some achievement!

    Edit: Just finished reading.

    Great report!

    No :D
    If I had written it all in Seville I wouldn't have made the cut off time!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,059 ✭✭✭ dublin runner


    Brilliant report. Congrats on the massive PB!


  • Registered Users Posts: 572 Calvin Johnson


    Enjoyed the report Yaboya.


  • Registered Users Posts: 992 dazza21ie


    Well done Yaboya, great race and report. Was reading through your log yesterday for the first time. Well deserved result after some great training.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,548 ✭✭✭ Marthastew


    Congratulations on such a wonderful PB and a fantastic report, I really, really enjoyed reading it. You really captured the excitement of the day.
    I'm delighted you made the most of the finish and celebrated, just think how much celebrating you'll be doing after you run under the Brandenburg gate in September!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,447 ✭✭✭ FBOT01


    Brilliant performance and excellent report. If I can keep up with you in Berlin I will be cutting and pasting your report....I will be revisiting this report if at any stage during the year I need to remind myself why I enter Marathons:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1


    Marthastew wrote: »
    Congratulations on such a wonderful PB and a fantastic report, I really, really enjoyed reading it. You really captured the excitement of the day.
    I'm delighted you made the most of the finish and celebrated, just think how much celebrating you'll be doing after you run under the Brandenburg gate in September!

    A couple of my favourite photos from Sunday!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,606 RedRunner


    Managed to finsih your report at the fourth attempt...in between doing some work....Well done on your achievement again , thoroughly enjoyed the report.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,759 ✭✭✭ belcarra


    With the dramatic improvement in PBs and the length of race report I think maybe we may have the male equivalent of Claralara here!
    Has coach to the stars TRR been onto you yet??:pac:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,915 menoscemo


    Great report.
    Took me ages to finish it!!
    Looks like you'll be needing a new Ireland Training top. That one is hanging off you!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,759 ✭✭✭ belcarra


    menoscemo wrote: »
    Great report.
    Took me ages to finish it!!
    Looks like you'll be needing a new Ireland Training top. That one is hanging off you!!

    I was going to suggest the same thing Meno! Lucky it wasn't a windy day or the drag would have cost him sub 3:10!!:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1


    menoscemo wrote: »
    Great report.
    Took me ages to finish it!!
    Looks like you'll be needing a new Ireland Training top. That one is hanging off you!!

    It's my trademark at this stage.
    A bit like statss hair or Killerz purple/pink t-shirt :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,526 ✭✭✭ Killerz


    yaboya1 wrote: »
    It's my trademark at this stage.
    A bit like statss hair or Killerz purple/pink t-shirt :D

    Cracking report there, P. Read most of it on way into work this morning and just finished it there now. Highly enjoyable.

    Man, I should have thought carefully about that pink/ purple (purple Wtf?) tee before i wore it....


  • Registered Users Posts: 213 ✭✭ Walkedit


    Awesome report and amazing PB
    Makes me want to race Seville


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ ThePiedPiper


    Great report yaboya, well done again


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