328.67 – 349.80KM: To Full, or not to Full… (Rotary Shakespeare Half Marathon)

April 28, 2013

Fresh off the back of the highs of last weekend’s London Marathon my 1000km challenge continued in a more reserved manner with the Rotary Shakespeare Half and Full Marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon. Earlier in the week I had contacted the race organisers to see whether it was possible to carry on and run the full Marathon if I felt able to. After they confirmed I was able to it left me with a decision to make as to whether I would run my second Marathon in a week, or run the Half Marathon as originally planned; a decision which would only be made whilst running round the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon.

During the week my body was feeling remarkably fresh despite running the London Marathon on the Sunday, so much so that as the week went on I began to contemplate the potential of running the full Marathon on Sunday. Throughout the week I tried to carb load as much as I could and tried to get my body in as best shape as I could for the weekend to make running another 26.2 miles possible. I went out for a couple of short runs to stretch my legs in the week and to further break in my new trainers. As the morning of the race approached I will still in two minds as to whether to push on and run the full, or stick to the plan and run the Half. I decided that I would only be able to make the decision once I had started running, so I loaded up with enough gels and joined the start of the race.

The first mile of the course featured a loop around the town centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, running across the start line twice, before then leaving the town to run through nearby villages. I had worked out before the start of the race that if I was to run the full Marathon I would need to settle in to a 9 minute mile pace for the first half and then see what was left in my body for when the split came at 12 miles. I soon however found myself settled in to running 8:10 minute miles for the first couple as I got carried away with the crowd of runners.

After the first couple of miles my legs began to feel quite heavy as my body finally decided to remind me of the marathon I had ran the previous week. Initially however I felt that I would be able to run this stiffness off, as I had the week before when I started with a tight hamstring in London but after the 6th mile it had gone. This week I was not to be so lucky and by the time I reached the top of the hill at the 8th mile my body made the decision as to whether to run the full or half easier for me.

It was still a tough decision to make, after last week I had been struck with Marathon fever, the temptation to run another Marathon was very strong and it would allow me to get ahead of my target. At the same time, it was very risky, even if I felt well enough to continue at the split, my body massively slowed down in the last 6 miles last week and I could hit ‘The Wall’ on the 14th mile and struggle round the remaining 12 miles and put the rest of the challenge in jeopardy. Ultimately my body, the course and common sense made the decision for me and I stopped at half way as originally planned. I have another marathon in the third weekend of May, so I’ll save my second marathon for then.

This didn’t stop the feeling of regret and jealously as I crossed the line for the Half and then later saw other’s walking through the town with their Full Marathon medal. This soon faded though as my legs, hips, knees and feet all started to ache as the day went on and I realised stopping at halfway was for the best.

Now for a rest before the first of 5 races in three weeks and another attack at a sub 40 10k in the Grand East Anglian Run.

Please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can.


Distance: 21.13 km | 13.13 miles
Time: 01:47:13
Official Time: 01:47:03
Average Pace: 05:04 min/km | 08:10 min/mi
Playlist: Dark Tranquility
Goody Bag: Water Bottle and Banana.


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