|"Do one race calculator"|
The quest for a sub three hour London Marathon continues. Today I ran 20 miles through the country lanes of North West Leicestershire in a time of 02:15:13. Apply that time to the runner's world race predictor formula (T2 = T1 x (D2/D1)) and it mystically foresees that in five weeks time I'll run 03:00:01 through the smokey streets of London. I have five weeks to get two seconds fitter or faster.
In addition to faceless online calculators, I've been grateful to receive calculations from learned running friends. Those folk have given more favourable predictions between 2:56:50 and 2:58:00. I'll take either of those!
The Ashby 20 runs through rural lanes. The route is bottled shaped. After two miles up the neck of the bottle runners turn into the loop. The loop is run twice before participants head back down the neck of the bottle to the finish. This year the finish involved 200m of a very wet and muddy field making purchase on the soft ground near on impossible. The course undulates in parts including a nasty incline at about mile 19 i.e just when you don't need it. There was a good turn out of Grantham runners present many needing the miles to prepare for their own spring marathons. In addition to London there are athletes heading for the romance of Paris and Milton Keynes.
I planned to set off at a steady pace which I would try and hold throughout. I had raced hard during the Stamford 30k which perhaps was a bit counter productive as I didn't train as well afterwards. In addition I had developed a sore outer foot after a thrash on the treadmill the previous Thursday. The symptoms were worse on getting out of bed in the morning triggering plantar fascitis worry but the pain was mostly down the side of the foot as opposed to under the heel or arch. The biggest result of today is that the symptoms are no worse and I suspect I'm suffering nothing more than bruising.
I was able to build a steady pace through the first 10 miles. Plenty of people passed me but I knew I had to run my own race. I'll be more competitive in London. I was grateful to reach the top of the incline after mile 11 which signalled that I was well into the second lap, I would now focus on reaching mile 15 and see how much I had left. The water stations were plentiful and I was grateful to be offered jelly babies and gels in addition to liquid. I'm not a big fan of gels but I take what I'm offered, every little helps. The jelly babies were particularly welcome. I was able to take two and nestle each at either side of my mouth. They dissolved slowly over time, aided by a bit of chewing but it didn't interfere with my breathing, a good find that I'll remember for London.
|Glad its over...|
By mile 15 I was pretty tired. By 18 I was shot and it was time to hold on. I had done this event in 2011 coming home in 02:19:52. I remembered a sting in the tail of the course at 18 miles. Sadly, I remembered wrong and the stiff incline that appeared at 19ish miles was not welcome. I had a mad fight with the third female runner during the last two miles. Each time she came passed me her pace seemed to drop so I took advantage. It became embarrassing as we passed and re-passed each other four or five times in the last miles and I was concerned she would think I was anti feminist or something! In the event I lost the battle. I was overtaken for the final time on the muddy field not 150m from the finish and I didn't have the strength or the distance to challenge back.
|Bishop's Ring (is it really that bad or was it just the light?) and the one that got away....|
I was grateful to finish. I'd struggled a bit through the final parts. I tried to put the thoughts of an extra 6.2 miles out of my mind as I staggered into the marquee to collect my hoodie. This year's hoodie was St Patrick's green to celebrate the day of the King of the Emerald Isle. The good folk of Grantham came home steadily and we did a quick fashion shoot with our green hoodies sponsored by Aldi
The Ashby 20 is a good value race which offers good training miles for spring marathons. This year there was just shy of 1000 runners.
Full results here.