We had headed in to pick up all our info from the expo tents as soon as we arrived in Palma - having had lunch next to the finish line. Things began to feel a bit more real for us all. At this point Ian, Jane, Brian and I were all expecting to run. The next day Ian got up and his spine resembled the leaning tower of Pisa more than a normal upright posture. With spending the day getting advice from Osteopaths in the UK, Jane/Brian and I all trying to pop the pelvis back into place and trying to find an open osteopath/chiropractor in Palma Ian resigned himself to chief support rather than running. He managed to be very supportive and not to show his gutted-ness - I'm not sure I'd have managed to do so well with this if it had been me.
The run itself started at 9am, and already it was warm with the sun shining and threatening to get hotter. We'd worked out our ideal km paces to get the times we were hoping for, and my aim was somewhere between 6.10 and 6.20 per km. The first 10km round the harbour area was too fast but not hugely so at 1.00 rather than 1.02. Then I mentally began to doubt myself as we headed into the town 10km. There had been a few sharp turns and running back on yourself in the first 10km, and through the town it felt a bit up and down hills trying to make up the distance. Jane loved this bit, I didn't. I was drinking tonnes, really thirsty and struggling with the heat and the thought of having to run for another 3 hours was not going down well with myself.
After the town 10km the half marathoners split to the finish, with the marathoners then splitting off for a half marathon loop. I really wanted to stop. I mean really. Without Ian shouting at me to keep going, and the thoughts that I couldn't pull out (a DNF is apparently much worse than a DNS) and really there was nothing wrong with me except my brain. I passed David and Jane B and told them I wanted to stop but kept going. I'd made a deal with myself - once I ran a km in over 7 mins I could pull out and walk back. I didn't ever run one this slow, although a couple of times when walking I broke the 7 min barrier. (Yes I know, walking. Tut tut, but worked out that in the whole this totalled less than 4 mins) I put my ipod shuffle on at the halfway point, and to be honest I think the music got me round. I knew that each km was less than 2 songs, so the kms just kept passing on by. It was a brill investment, and great idea for anyone who battles those internal demons when running a marathon.
My favourite section was the last 12km along the sea front. Great support helped with people shouting your name and words of encouragement (mostly in Spanish, German or English!). There was a short section here along some boardwalk planking that was a wee bit rotten, so interesting with tired legs. The views and nice pathway really helped me on the final section, and knowing that every step you took was getting you back closer to the finish. On the last km Jane B, David, Ian, Jane and Brian were all shouting me on - this was fantastic and a real boost to the end. The benefit of being last in the group to finish = more people you know to cheer you on!!!
So I didn't quite make the goal time, but to be honest by halfway I think finishing was the only goal I had and 5 hours sounded alright to me! I did 4.38 which is nearly 6 mins faster than the last marathon so have to be pleased with that. Legs were in agony afterwards, and I decided I wasn't an endurance athlete..... although I was a day quicker than Jane is saying maybe I'd do another....one day
So a bit of a mixed one for me - all about the fact that I wasn't mentally ready at the time I think and needed to get my head in a positive zone more. Although know now that I can do it even if brain is saying I can't so think that's positive....
The race itself had some great touches - your name was printed on your race number so everyone could cheer you on which was brill. As soon as you handed your race chip in they printed a certificate out with your time, and your 10km, halfway, 0-30km and second half times on it. We had paid for medal engraving so immediately got our names and times printed on our medals also. And I loved having the distances in kms. Mentally easier ticking these off, and once you got to 30km you knew you would make it but this is actually only 18 miles which is normally the hard part in a marathon when marked in miles.
A good one to do if you like running in the sun! now onto the diet after all our post race recovery eating and drinking.....