So, it was a fun old day of being soaking wet and cold to the core for everybody. I'm sure that contributed to it being my personal worst result (for official races) of 3:13:16, but there were other factors too. My legs did not feel good right from the earliest stages. I probably started too fast for my fitness, being just off 3-hour pace. I knew it was risky, but I wanted to give myself a chance. There are two ways you can miss your target in a marathon: one is to go out too fast and fall into a heap, the other is to go too slow and never be able to make up the lost time. Running at between 4:20 and 4:15/km, I felt, was a reasonable compromise even though I wasn't as confident of my fitness as Ewen was. But by 10 km I knew it wasn't going to happen as feelings of fatigue started creeping through my legs despite sitting on a not-overly-aggressive 4:21/km pace (4:15/km is needed for a 3-hr marathon).
My pace had fallen to 4:31/km by halfway, by which time I knew it was going to be a game of survival. The rain wouldn't stop, I really felt cold and tiring, yet not from a lack of fuel. Ultimately, though, I think the main reason was a lack of fitness due to the inadequate training in February. The wet and cold played a role, but I just wasn't in shape to run that fast. Simple as that.
The crowds were great through the middle of the race from Nihonbashi to Asakusa and back. Saw lots of Nambanners through here and got plenty of "Ganbatte Namban" from strangers reading my singlet. (I was wearing a singlet over a T-shirt). The crowds were understandably much quieter than other years. They too were suffering in the conditions, and I wondered sometimes whether it was worse for them or us.
I had to have a plop-stop at about 33 km and lost about a minute with that. But then I was moving along pretty well. I sped up for a while but then had to settle for a strongish 4:45/km. I was still passing plenty of runners even at that pace and was going along painfully but happily at 38 km, thinking that all I had to do was hold pace to break 3:10. That would have been satisfying, all things considered. Then, right at about 39.8 km, a sharp pain shot through my left hamstring. It was the injury I'd been nursing since the start of February. It had been there in the background through the whole race, but never threatening to worsen or seriously affect my pace. But this brought me to a sudden, limping hobble. I stopped for a little to stretch and try to get it feeling better, and then took off again. I could run, but it seriously shortened my stride and had me just limping along. I had not long before passed and once and for all shaken off a runner from our club who I'd been "dueling" with for a while. But he soon came on by and that was the last I saw of him. Good luck to him. Soon after that I saw Bob cheering at the side of the road. I think he was telling me to hurry up. I yelled back, "MY LEG'S F#%&ED!" Anyway, I was resigned to my fate and realised that as long as I could run, I should do so and finish. I was still moving at an acceptable pace of 5:15 or 5:20/km, or something like that, but 3:10 was definitely shot. The final finishing straight to the goal took longer than any other marathon I've ever run. Jeez, just get here will you. And then, finally, it was over. 3:13:16.
As if to mock us, the weather came out bright and sunny in the afternoon. Still cold, though.
One good decision I'd made before the race was to turn off the auto-lap feature of my Garmin. I took splits manually whenever I noted a km marker. They were consistently long, and the overall length of the race was recorded as over 43 km. Naturally that also meant any pace readings were also over-estimated. People, don't rely on your Garmins too heavily!
Well, this post is quite long enough. I have no idea what I will be doing next, but the first priority is get my leg healthy again, so hard training certainly won't be featuring on this blog again any time soon.