Over 1,200 runners arrived for the annual Portsmouth coastal waterside marathon today. Pompey was battered by high winds of 22 mph with heavy rain, overnight and this morning. So conditions underfoot will be very testing.
Today is a mix of clouds, rain and sunshine reaching 11C.
Just three weeks after my recent 100 miler, I feel well enough to run today, however I have not run over 10 miles since, and I feel I may fatigue very rapidly. I have no time in mind, just an enjoyable training day with running friends, to end the year off nicely...
This is my 2nd Portsmouth marathon.
I am fortunate to be driven to the start from Bosh runner Tina. Gary and Shawn have joined her to support myself and Steve running today.
The rain is heavy and we arrive wet. Numbers attached we look out for the others. I see ultra runner Paul Ali, and chat about 2014 plans, after his amazing achievements this year.
This morning I had a bulletproof coffee, which I am finishing now. Half an avocado with fried kale, few walnuts and some coconut water. I am really not hungry but finish the coffee anyhow.
I wonder if I left my coffee too late, as I have very slight indigestion going on.
Within seconds I can see Kev up ahead. 'Go Lukey boy', he shouts out as we pass. I thumbs up then see Ian, further along, who stops to snap some pictures. Steve and then Sheridan soon follow in his steps. It is a good few more miles down the route before I see Keith.
I look out for Sharon and other familiar faces, but there are too many groups coming towards me. After 16 miles I can already feel my body fatigue and my pace drop. I try to keep strong and maintain it, but I think the last 100 miler is still too fresh in my system.
Once the body gives up, when not fully recovered, it is impossible to keep up a race pace.
By 17 miles I am ready to walk, I am done, I want to stop.
Back along the ledge with the wind fierce on my face. Another runner is on the ledge, then jumps off, but slips, he falls landing awkwardly. He shouts out in pain, causing the other runners to look back. Number 3 is on his bib. I stop to ask what I can do, another runner stands bewildered, just looking. He yelps out, it is his left calf. I lift his foot and raise his leg, then pull his ankle straight, like he tells me to. Soon enough the cramp stops and his leg comes back to life. I help him up and onto his feet again.
He thanks me for stopping, and sorry it has delayed me. To be honest I was ready to have a walking break, but this wasn't what I had in mind. I run close by until number 3 is looking good again, he soon increases pace and is gone out of sight. It is Christmas and I couldn't just leave him there in pain...
Near-by shouts of 'Go Bosher' and 'good running Luke' from the spectators here and there. I do not recognise everyone but then at 21 miles just before the water sports centre I can see friendly supporters Alma and Lesley shouting and clapping. It is great to see so many come out and brave the harsh wind and wet.
The mud and puddles are even more slippery on this leg back. My legs really are finished for the day and more rest is required. I manage to keep going but the last few miles are a long, drawn out chore, I really am not enjoying this feeling and it is familiar to after running the Thames path 100, back in March.
It very rarely happens, but today I do not want to run, I am not enjoying the discomfort and low energy response.
Soon enough I reach the seaweed water edge from the start and tip toe around large puddles. Other runners are racing past me for the last stretch home. I couldn't race even if I wanted to. My pace is a slow 9:00min/mile average at the moment...
Thanks to Fit Pro Bob for another successful marathon in Portsmouth and to everyone who organises, volunteers and makes the event possible.