So… Post race day. 55miles under my feet later with a time of… Well, I finished in a time I hadn’t hoped would reach. The Main thing, I finished.
The whole thinking of doing a double marathon (and a bit) was to give me a better head space when I reach day 4 on the MdS as it’s also a double.
Of course there will be many more things to cope with at that time but the mind should know the body is capable to cover the distance. So, that’s one thing ticked off the list.
Arrived with David at 08:10 and registered. BTW: Many thanks to Kevin who drove us through to Glasgow. I had a few hellos to say to some new found running friends. I also had to greet a friend who was running with us, that I hadn’t seen in 8yrs. How time passes.
There was a good level of excitement and anticipation at the race briefing and then we, 155 of us, set off.
As stated in previous post David and I had discussed speed and we tried to keep to that. This proved too quick for Ben’s plans and he dropped back after a few miles. Tun was holding his own with us until a ‘break’ was required. David & I kept to the dictated pace (08:30 per mile). CP1 came and went and we headed towards CP2 (Falkirk Wheel) which was some 22.5 miles in. At mile 19/20 my old problem reoccurred. Yup, my knee was telling me it wasn’t happy again. Maybe three weeks wasn’t enough recovery time. However, we made the CP with a few seconds between us.
I need a toilet break and headed up the hill towards the Falkirk Wheel. I found David wandering around outside looking for me but I needed to fill my water bottles. In doing so, Ben appeared and not too long after, Tun rocked up. They both weren’t too far behind. Tun was saying he was a bit broken as he hadn’t run this kind of distance for over a year.
David & I decided to keep on going but not before I put on a knee brace. I thought it might be a problem so had packed it into my running vest. We set off up the hill and though the tunnel. I knew that my knee was now having problems… Poop!
I tried to run as much as I could to marathon distance as I knew, the faster I got there the better my chances if I had to walk, ie. Average splits across the double. And, so it came to pass. I reached marathon distance in a shade over 4Hrs and commenced walking. My walking isn’t’ your typical walking. I was doing the army tab marching and kept a good pace. So much so two army guys noticed what I was doing and remarked that I was keeping good pace. We would go on and exchange place over the next 18miles or so.
Although I knew my estimated time of 9Hr finish was now blown, I was trying hard not to drop too much time. When CP3 came around I was also interested in knowing where David had come. He went through 30mins before me, in 21st place! An awesome pace and result thus far.I knew I couldn’t make up the trim and did a quick mental call and I knew I’d be approx over an hour later than him by the time we finished. Ah well… On I pushed.
The route was very pretty in places, especially coming out of Glasgow and it was good to see places on a new trail. This is what I love about this new running thing. It literally takes you places. Mentally, yes. Physically, of course but you get to explore new places and take in the sights.
Between CP3 and CP4 I got passed by another three people which did surprise me. I actually thought it would be more. However, people passing me weren’t going too quickly and it did take a mile or so for them to disappear. As I said, my walking pace was at times, as quick as others running pace. I would’ve given anything to pick up my pace and put in 11min miles but alas, no.
CP4 cam on the horizon (42miles in) and I knew then that I had this in the bag. Only another 5 miles to go the next check point. I was always, at my new found walking pace, concerned about the cut off time (19:30) but in reality I was well inside that. I made it to CP5 with a two hour window. I was pleased. I even managed to pass the two army guys twice along the last few miles but ultimately, they were still able to run and I didn’t see them again after mile 48/49.
I did manage to pick up a new friend, who like me, had a physical problem. His IT band was giving him trouble sometime ago and he had to resolve himself to walking. Also, he was very happy of a bit of camaraderie as he said his spirit had left him a bit. No matter. We walked for the next 6.5 miles together. Thank you Danny for the company, it was welcomed. I had pretty much been on my own for 4.5 Hrs or more at that point. Another problems one folks can’t dealt with in Ultra running/distances. The loneliness of it.
The next 6 miles seemed to take forever and I even questioned the route but a quick check of the map, we were still on the right route. Only another 3miles to go! Still keeping the pace we charged on but sadly, as we were both getting tired, the chat had left us. I apologised to Danny but he was feeling the same.
We got passed by three guys at approx 2k to go but 100yrds up the road they were walking again. Our fast walking pace saw us retake our places and the we could see the lights towards the end. 1k to go! Three new chaps passed u, sadly they were still running. Something both of us would’ve longed to have been able to do.
Then, we heard the cheers at a 500m to go marker. We were given a crescendo of applause and cheering which was nice to get. It lifted the spirits.
The the 100m mark appeared. I picked up my sore knees and ran the last 100m. I couldn’t bring myself to walk across the line. I arrived just in front of Danny. I was elated. Danny crossed the line. We hugged and thanked each other for the combined spirit to get across the line. That was the hardest 6 miles I’ve EVER done so far.
So, a double marathon has been ticked off the list. A new Tshirt to add to the wardrobe with that all important 2016 Ultramarathon finisher on it. And of course, a medal. This one I will cherish.
At times, I felt emotional along the way. Doubted my self but ultimately, I was never going to let myself not finish it. I can understand why folks pull out of a race like this if they’ve succumbed to walking. They feel they’ve not done it justice. I’m of the other opinion. Pushing on and finishing it, in my opinion is better for the soul.
Running = a test of the self. This certainly came true during the race.
My time? I came in approx 10.5Hrs. Some 1.5Hrs after my scheduled finish. David did great. With no injury, he pushed on through his own pain and came in 17th place! An AWESOME result. I didn’t ask about my finishing place when I crossed the line. I will find out when the official results come out later today. No matter, double marathon = DONE!!