Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Race | Copenhagen Marathon

Sometimes all the hard work doesn't pay off. That seems like a brutal way to start this blog post but I think it's really important as runners that we are real with one another. I was aimlessly scrolling instagram last night and seeing so many pictures of peoples successes made the tough marathon time I had on Sunday all the harder. So here is a real post: from me to you.

I had trained really hard for the Copenhagen Marathon. You know the people who say 'Oh I only fitted in a couple of long runs' well that certainly wasn't me. In January and February I'd run two ultramarathons and had then consistently ticked off all my long runs - mostly with my wonderful friend Libby at my side. I'd had some blows as well - some repeated niggles caused by the mountains and weak quads post Transgrancanaria, and then an incredibly busy time at work meant I was knocked for 6 about 4 weeks a go when I got shingles. But still: I thought I was stronger and I thought I was bound to PB as my PB from the Berlin marathon had been set after finding out I was racing with just 4 weeks to go.

Photo: Emme from AR Copenhagen
Race day itself was hot - highs of 24 degrees. I'd decided I was going to go out with the Speedster who was pacing Libby for GFA (good for age - this gives you qualification in to certain marathons like London and is currently sub-3:45) because I thought on a really good day I had a shot of holding on. The first half marathon was great. The atmosphere was incredible - Copenhagen seemed to be willing us marathoners on at every bend. The Adidas Runners cheer station at 5km/8km was on fire and I was beaming as we clicked up the mileage. By 10km my ankles were giving me a bit of grief and I was struggling when the Speedster was ramping up the occasional km - I could hold on at 5:15/km but found it really tough at 5:05/km.

Photo: Jacques Holst
About 20km I knew I wasn't going to be able to sustain the pace so said my goodbyes and let them fly off in to the distance. I flew through the half marathon point in 1:52. I still felt strong about 25km although by now my left knee was really sore but I kept thinking 'It's a marathon: it's supposed to hurt!' About 30km it all started unravelling. I'd been cheering on the sidelines at the London marathon this year and had seen the monumental impact the heat can have on runners and got to experience it first hand. I was swaying pretty badly, which compounded with my precarious left knee meant I kept buckling to one side. About 33km I was feeling really sorry for myself as I'd be passed by quite a few people, was in a lot of pain, knew I was badly dehydrated and knew that the seemingly easy pace of 55minutes for 9km just wasn't going to happen and I was going to miss my PB.

Photo: Jacques Holst
I got pretty upset at this point. I seemed to be unable to comprehend how my legs wouldn't move in the way I wanted them to. As I rounded back to the final Adidas Runners cheer point at 35km I was almost ready to let my body just fall over in to a crumpled heap. And then the stars came. And the cheers and the joyful screaming. Honestly crew love is just the most remarkable thing. I love the Adidas Runners crew because it knows no international borders - it doesn't matter what country you are from if you're in their colours they'll be there for you no matter what. Tears rolling down my face, I grinned as I ran past them, got looked after by them and as the star that is Mike Law basically picked me up off the tarmac and said 'I'm coming with you.'


Photo: Jacques Holst
And he did - every last painful km left Mike never left my side. At the point where I almost fell over he grabbed me and kept me on my feet. When I had nothing left and needed to walk for a minute he stayed with me. And as we approached the finish line and he coaxed me to sprint finish. Mike had my back.

It's weird to have such mixed emotions about a race: I both loved it and am pretty disappointed. I couldn't have had better love, community support, or crowds out there but I really did think that I was going to PB and for my body to suffer so much in the heat is disappointing. 4 weeks in to having shingles I have to remember to be kind on myself for what I achieved: my fastest 30km time, 2nd fastest marathon time and 3rd fastest half marathon time. Today wasn't my day to come away with a PB but I did come away crying my eyes out because I truly gave it everything and grinning from ear to ear for the support I got out on the course.

Tearful 
Copenhagen you were glorious. Marathon PB: Watch out - I'm coming for you.

Adidas Runners London crew
Total time: 4:06:30🏃‍♀️


Finishing position:  634th female (out of 1902)
Finishing position for my age-group: 105th
Runners; 7883
% of runners who finished: 94%

First half time: 1:52:39
Second half time: 2:14:09

To find out more about how to register for 2019's race go to: https://copenhagenmarathon.dk/en/

3 comments:

  1. Very well done to both of you, a brilliant example of team spirit.

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