The photos are finally out. I wore a bandanna as a sweat band but took it off after 2 miles. I put it on again at mile 16 as the sun came out - I probably should have left it off as it may have contributed to overheating towards the end. I was not kidding when I said that I stopped dead in front of the finish line, that is why there is so many finishing shots of me. It looks like I was reluctant to cross the line. What you can't see is the total body trauma going on underneath.
My final thought on my total breakdown at the end is that it may have been partly be due to lack of fuel (carbs) as opposed to dehydration because after crossing the finish line I had a huge craving for sugary and salty foods, sending Adrian to the shop for snickers, mars bars and potato chips - I had no real thirst. I certainly would have taken on more carbs during the run had Adrian not lost me between miles 8 and 21. By the time he gave me my second drink it was probably too late in terms of fueling for the race as I was 45 minutes from the finish and already beginning to suffer.
While I had a positive split of about 8 minutes I was not the only one to fade in the second half. A guy dressed as superman, who passed me at the start line, was reduced to walking when I passed him just after the 20 mile mark. Being beaten by superman would have been the final insult. My fellow club runner, Laurence Courtney, who was 4 seconds behind me at the half way mark came in in 3:37:12 (clock time) - 15 minutes after me. However there also were those that improved their time over the second half. One guy in particular, who crossed the halfway mark 17 seconds after me finished in a time of 3:09:02 (beating me by 13 minutes) - I want to be that guy. Certainly if I had headed out at a more conservative pace I would have felt better in the last few miles and would have had a better chance of coming in under 3:20.
Finally I would like to thank all those of you out there who offered me words of encouragement and advice throughout my training and who's running blogs offered an insight into your training/running lives giving me food for thought as to how things should (and should not) be done when it comes to training for a marathon or indeed any other distance. I certainly have been encouraged by the warmth and generosity I have seen out there in the running blogsphere since I began posting in July and despite the misgivings some may have as to the perils of the Internet I believe that ,on balance, it is a very powerful communication tool that promotes peace, harmony and tolerance among the various communities and cultures that share this planet.
My aches and pains have given way to general aches and pains as a cold has taken hold of me over the last few days. I felt something coming on Sunday night with a sandpaper feeling in the back of my throat - glad it didn't affect me on Monday. With the cold it is difficult to gauge how well my recovery is going. However my resting heart rate was 146 on Wednesday morning and 144 yesterday morning - so at least it is coming down towards normal levels (low 140's/high 130's). My first recovery run will be delayed as I battle with this cold - i'm not complaining. There is a 4 mile race on Sunday that I may run in recovery mode.