03h30 is very early to get up for anything, but I was getting up at that hour in order to put my body on the line, I was running my first marathon for 2010. In years gone by I have run many marathons, but this year I have been plagued with injury. With my injuries behind me and 4 weeks of proper training I stood on the start line. It doesn't matter what you want to run, all your plans come to nothings as you stand there waiting for the gun.
At 05h30 the gun set us off and down the road we went. The 1st km felt easy, but was too fast 3:33. I let the lead pack go and joined up with another 40+ runner. The 2 of us ran together through 5km in 18:20. We started the hill at 7km together as another 40+ guy was catching us, but I powered away up the hill, although not steep, goes on and on, climbing almost 100m to 10.5km I was now running on my own and was still on pace going though 10km in just over 38min. With lots of rolling hills in the 2nd half the next 5km of down hill had to be used to make up a bit of time without taking too much out of your body. I passed through 15km in 56:26 still feeling ok, it wasn't till we turned into the wind 200m later that my hope of a good time went out the window.
I'm not one for giving up so I kept trying to keep the pace up. Lucky for us we turned off that road and that took the wind out of the equation. Now the hills started again, and I was still losing time. I went though half way in about 81min, slower than my last 3 half's, and in all of those races I felt better than I was feeling today. I was still alone on the road with only my Wife supporting me.
We turned onto the R44 for the out and back section of the race. With the wind behind me I was no longer running for a time, but I looking for the 1st 40+ who was still over a minute ahead. As the km's ticked by I wasn't feeling any better, but Owen, who had lead the 40+ since the start, was having a worse day than me and up ahead I could see him walking.
Steve was on the side of the road with a camera, supporting his wife who was leading the ladies race (Jo-Jo would go on and win in 2h55).
We turned at 28.5km for the long road home, into the wind!!! Passing 30km in 1h58 I was still hoping to get home in under 2h50, but that would require a lot of hard work and running fast on sore legs... I was catching a couple of guys who had gone out too hard, but I was also being caught. I saw Dawn on the side of the road and asked her to look out for the next 40+. Word soon came back, and he was catching me fast. Catch me he did, I tried to go with him hiding out of the wind, but could only manage 1.5km before I was dropped. With only 3.5km left I climbed the last little hill and ended with a couple of 4:30's to bring me home in 2h52:29, finishing 12th and 2nd 40+.
This is me trying to recover after the race, it didn't really help as my legs are still sore.