Help me, I'm sick. I've got post-marathon fever. And I think it's terminal...
Anyone who has run a marathon will know that the week after a marathon is the mother of all anti-climaxes. You've had the crescendo of months of build-up, planning and training, culminating in the excitement of race week, and the euphoria of race day. And then nothing!
You wake up Monday with a feeling of emptiness, a little bit sad that it's all over. You really want to go for a run, but of course your legs are in total bits. And I really was in a terrible state! All in all, I was basically like this all week...
Being unable to sit down/stand up, let alone run, I've had time to reflect on the marathon. I think you can learn a lot from every race you do and it's important to build that into your post-race recovery process.
I finished in 3:14, which was 40 minutes slower than my PB of 2:34 from 2015, although clearly I wasn't ever going for a PB. With hindsight, the big mistake I made was running to my overall fitness rather than to the volume/intensity of my run training.
The problem was 6-9 months without any speed training or really long runs (over 18 miles) meant muscularly I just wasn't strong enough to sustain the pace required to run sub 3 hours. It was too quick for my legs, I started producing lactic acid WAY too early in the race to the point my legs became so cramped up I literally ground to a halt.
But despite that, I'm definitely looking at it as a positive experience. I now know I can run in a cap, I nailed my nutrition both during the carb load and on race day, and my hydration was spot-on, especially given how hot the weather was and how many people DNFd due to the heat.
Mentally, coming through those last 10 miles of sheer pain and hell and not giving up will definitely help with the Ironman and future marathons. Knowing I can keep pushing myself when everything is telling me to stop can only make me more resilient.
And finally, it was just so amazing to be back running in major city marathons! I have all my medals and my race numbers from the 17 I've done so far, so that's the wallpaper for my future house sorted.
Moving onto this week. Clearly being unable to get out of bed on Monday, and walking like John Wayne for most of the week meant training was relatively low-key.
I really did almost go for a swim this week. But... I decided it was too cold and damp for open water, so I literally took a rain check.
However the lake opens in two weeks time, and there are still 7 weeks until the Lakesman...
On Wednesday I felt up to taking on the cycle commute, which involves carrying my bike out of the flat, down some stairs. This issue I hadn't considered until I closed the front door behind me, and I kind of got stuck halfway down with my bike on my shoulder!
Having eventually escaped the staircase still alive (barely), but with my quads on fire, the four mile journey to Twickenham in the easiest possible gear felt like cycling the Tour de France. On a unicycle. With the brakes on. This trend continued for the rest of the week!
The things people do for a free t-shirt! My legs were so dead all week, but parkrun cannot be missed, especially when you're on a 10-week streak. I'm trying to do my 50th parkrun the day before the Ironman, so I need to get my barcode scanned every week between now and then to hit the milestone.
Coralie and I cycled up the road to Osterley parkrun where I trundled round in the rain, got lapped, but bagged parkrun number 43. My legs felt truly horrific, but I was back running which meant I'd got through the marathon unscathed. Bonus!
Coralie headed out with the cycling club for an epic 70-mile ride this morning, but my poor little legs would never have forgiven me if I'd put them through that ordeal. Even the thought of it now makes me cry a little bit.
With the whole of London my oyster for the day, I did what all sensible people would do - got up early and cycled to junior parkrun to volunteer. Obviously! If you've never been to junior parkrun or ever heard of it, it's literally the best thing ever! A 2k walk, jog or run for children aged 4-14 every Sunday morning, and parents can take part too.
Our local event is Moormead junior parkrun where we've been volunteering ever since moving to west London. We've made so many amazing, like-minded friends that the post-parkrun coffee is one of the highlights of my week. The Ironman/marathon training has got in the way the last few weeks, so it was really fun to be back barcode scanning!
After coffee I decided to go for another jog as the horrific parkrun on Saturday actually seemed to help my legs. It meant I got the opportunity to wear my new trainers.
As part of my injury troubles over the past 18 months, I'm no longer allowed to wear my beloved Nike Pegasus as I have to wear something wider and more supportive to help my foot/ankle, and so I can fit my expensive orthotic insoles inside.
Up until now the two pairs of the New Balance 1080s I've had have been black, which are fine in winter, but in summer they make you look like you're running in your school shoes, so I went for a different colour (obviously whatever colour was in the sale) and I ended up with these...
Now if I'm being totally honest, I'm really not sure about them. What do you think? The colour is a bit dodgy. I can't decide if they are pretty cool, or absolutely horrendous. It kinda feels like they are too trendy for me, but I guess I'll see how they go...
With my legs now just about working again, and with the London medal safely hanging on the coat hook with the others, I can now look ahead. Long-term, clearly I need to more speedwork to improve my running economy and sharpen up. And I actually do need to start swimming or I might get dragged out of the lake before I even get to the bike and run legs!
But in the short-term, in three weeks time I'm running the Richmond Park trail marathon. I just want to jog round and enjoy the beautiful park, so to ensure I do just treat it as an easy long run and don't get carried away, I've decided to run it dressed as a panda. Yep that's right, a panda.
This is in tribute to legendary Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi's victory at the Boston Marathon a couple of weeks ago where he was ridiculed by the commentators during the race, only to go on and actually win. Yuki famously ran a half marathon dressed as a panda, so it seemed like a nice way to make the run interesting and honour the great man!
Anyway, that's it from me. Thanks for reading - see you next week. Tom.