So close and yet so far...Johnny' valiant quest for the sub-3hr marathon...
Unfortunately, I strained my hamstring on Wednesday during my last serious training run. I was just finishing up with 3 x 1 minute at 10k pace and I got a twinge in my right ham (I damaged the other one on NYD) at 50 seconds in on the last pickup! The annoying thing was that I felt great previous to that, everything was effortless.
I left it 2 days, it seemed ok and then on Saturday, I went for a 3 mile run to see how it was and it went again. I knew instantly that I was screwed - there's no way to run a marathon on a strained hamstring that won't end badly.
Still, I tipped up to the start line and thought I'd give it a go, see how far I could get and if the hamstring went again, I'd get the tube back to the finish and watch the end.
Half a mile in, it started to hurt, by mile 3, the 2:59 pacer went past and I made no attempt to stay with him (I was running sub 3 pace anyway) because I didn't think I was finishing. It got worse and at mile 5 I felt it roll down the back of my leg. Horrible. At that point, I'm thinking that as soon as I see a tube or a train station, I'm done.
But, it didn't get any worse, so I thought, I'll just run to the next mile. And I kept doing that, mile after mile. I went through halfway in 1:30:17 but I wasn't feeling great. It's hard to focus on running well when you keep expecting your hamstring to rupture or spasm.
Eventually, the strain of compensating for a bad muscle spread to the rest of my legs - my quads turned to wood and my calves started seizing. The funny thing was, I wasn't bothered now - I knew my goose was cooked on the start line, so the fact that I was still running was amazing to me.
I started slowing significantly from mile 17. It was hot but that was the least of my troubles, everything hurt now. I was still running about 7:30-40 pace but it felt like I was going backwards. Nell Mcandrew came past but I couldn't stay with her (I tried, she looked good from behind).
At mile 24, I started feeling sick. At mile 25 my hamstring finally started to get worse and started to spasm. I crossed the line in 3:09.21.
On the one hand, it was a nightmare. On the other hand, I did something pretty crazy and survived. I suffered for 26 miles and learned a bit more about myself.
Today, I woke up with the back of my leg so sore, I can't touch it. That, along with seized quads, means I'm in a bit of a state.
I believe I fit enough to run sub 3 4 weeks ago when I cruised round Alloa in 1:23.11. I've just suffered because I've devoted all my time to running on the road - it has made me fitter but weaker. No serious hill running and no cycling has left me with a succession of niggles. And the timing of the last one killed my race. Still, no-one to blame but myself. No point being fit and injured.