Clarendon Marathon 6 October 2013 – Race Report

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Wow, that was hilly!

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Phil (@BigPhil137) and I ran our first trail marathon (and only our second official marathon) together today, the Clarendon Marathon from Salisbury to Winchester. Ultimately, we managed a sprint finish and placed 262 and 263 out of  322 finishers.

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I didn’t manage to achieve any of my race goals:

A goal – 4h45m
B goal – 4h55m
C goal – sub-5h (4h59m59s)

In the end, the hills in the second half of the race – and from mile 19 – 26 in particular – finished me off and I could only manage 5h4m38s.

My dream of a sub-5 hour marathon was not to be. Maybe I could have pushed through fatigue and kept running at a quicker pace at stages in the second half. Until around half way we were consistently on target for a 4h45m finish. Ultimately, I think caning (aka enjoying) the downhill sections in the first half took too much out of my legs.

I’m thankful that I ran so many hilly routes in training but really didn’t expect such a tough last few miles. 2245 feet of elevation gain is demanding but I still enjoyed it. What’s not to like about this?

* A new marathon PB by 11 minutes 52 seconds

I did the London Marathon in 5 hours 16 minutes 30 seconds. That was a flat, fast road course and this one was off road, undulating, technical and without thousands of spectators cheering us on. It seems that my training on the trails and hills for the North Downs Way 50 (NDW50) and beyond has helped.

* A trail marathon PB

* Maintaining a fairly steady pace (at least until mile 19)

I felt controlled running by feel in the first part of the race and definitely feel my Maffetone Method training has helped build my aerobic capacity. Given that my long training runs have been at a much slower pace (averaging around 13 minute miles excluding the warm up and cool down phases) as I ran to heart rate whilst following this method and I’ve yet to do any speed work as I try to build my aerobic base I’m pleased with the average pace today. If only it could have been a bit faster…I have more work to do though if I’m to go sub-11 hours in NDW50 in May 2014.

* I ran trails and hills today!

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What’s not to like?

I have even more running to do to get even better 🙂

After suffering severe stomach problems during and after a meal our with friends 2 days before race day I would have taken a 5h4m finish. I was hoping I’d be fit enough to run and, thankfully, I recovered sufficiently to do so and had no issues today. Thanks to Dan (@UltraRunnerDan) for tipping me off on the magic stomach-settling properties of Ginger Beer!

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Thanks again to Phil for his company, encouragement and smiles on our first trail marathon. Onwards and upwards. Now focus shifts to the NDW50 in May 2014 and Endure 24 in June 2014.

I have a lot to ponder after my operation at the end of this month as I face a break from running of at least 2 weeks and a slow return to long distance running. I think my first attempt at writing my own marathon training plan worked okay but the fact that I failed to do the cross training sessions (on my mountain bike) for the latter half of the 16 week plan definitely had an impact upon my fitness and endurance. Missing these sessions meant I was only running 4 days a week (as per the plan) but missing out on additional time training and building fitness on the bike. My nutrition strategy needs a rethink too.

My running journey continues….

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