A race normally warrants a race report but in this instance it doesn’t. When we started training properly for the Boston Marathon I thought that a low 3 hour finish was possible. Especially after my half marathon on New Years eve where I was quite a bit fitter than expected at that stage. In fact Ais commented afterwards that she had no idea where I had pulled that run out of given our lack of training in the preceding month and if Ais was impressed then I was happy that I was starting out in reasonably good shape.

Anyway the training went well for the next couple of months and for the first time in a long time I felt like it was working well, the body was handling and absorbing the increasing load. I was seeing constant steady improvements as the year progressed. At some point along the journey my aim became to go sub 3 which I haven’t done in a number of years. The numbers I was seeing in training indicated that I was close and we reckoned that with a good day I had a really good chance of a finish time starting with a 2. 

I started out on the day at sub 3 pace which was difficult to maintain due to the crowds at the start but I still hoped to pull back any deficit later as they thinned out and I warmed up.

By the time the crowds started to clear around the 5k mark I knew I was in trouble and if you’re in trouble 20 minutes into a 3 hour run you know things are going to be bad. I was re-adjusting my aim after 5k, my legs were already sore at that point so that I knew a fast time wasn’t going to be on the cards.

My pace slipped constantly and I was revising my target, 3:15, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50. I was sick and nauseous by the halfway point and was struggling to hold sub 6 minute k’s. In the end the last 2k took me over 25 minutes to cover. I finished with a 4:10, over 70 minutes slower than I’d aimed for.

I’m not too sure what actually went wrong that caused such a bad day. My legs felt “empty” right from the start. It was like the muscles hadn’t absorbed or stored any of the glycogen from the carb loading in the days running up to the marathon. I was feeling sick very early in the run and even water was making me nauseous. As a result I became really dehydrated and I think this added to the feelings of sickness.

I’m certain that it wasn’t a mistake in pacing as I’ve held that pace and faster for 16-18k tempo runs in training several times, on Monday I couldn’t hold it for 4k. It was definitely something to do with food in the last few days. In a way I’m happier that it was a complete disaster than if I’d blown up and come in with a 3:20. At least this way I feel that it was somewhat out of my control.

I think at this stage the best thing is move on and pick the next target. It wasn’t a great day but it is another marathon done and one of the iconic ones at that.

Ais had a good but tough day. She’d been carrying a bit of an injury into this one and was aiming just to get around as a tourist and enjoy the Boston experience.

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From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

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