So marathon number 12 finally arrived, at the end of a year that has flown by. Sunday was the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon, a race that has mystified me in the past. Having now run it, it continues to be a mystery. How can a run so flat, feel so so difficult.
On Sunday that was definitely down to the underfoot conditions. It is a real mixture, but some areas were very muddy or immersed in water, and very slippery. We saw a few people go down in the mud.
I had agonised over shoe selection, and was left wishing I had a bit more grip. I ran this one with my step brother Rob. He is more used to triathlons these days, but this was his second full marathon.
Preparation was not good. Training had been restricted due to a sore neck over the last month or so and the night before was a sleepless one, waiting for the 4:30am alarm. We set a steady pace, and all was going ok until we reached 21 miles. Then the energy sapping effect of the mud hit home, and we struggled for the last 5 miles.
We got home in 4:36. Second slowest this year, but the job was done.
Reflecting on the 12 marathons, I have genuinely loved the experience. Yes it has thrown up some really challenging moments, but that was the point of doing this. It wasn’t supposed to be easy.
Would I recommend it to other runners, definitely! As long as you have a few marathons under your belt. It is a year where you always have a challenge waiting just around the corner.
Highlights for the year would have to feature the London marathon. Doing that for NSPCC was special, and it is the best marathon I have run in so many ways. The 2 minute silence in the midst of the Remembrance marathon was also amazing.
From a performance point of view, I’m really chuffed to have got under 4 hours 4 times, and having shaved some time off my PB. (3:52 at Bedford running Grand Prix). Now onto the next challenge!