Greetings from Amsterdam. The time above shows that while things didn't go to plan I finished and am happy to have done so. In summary my calf held out until just before mile 18 (although the first sign of trouble was at mile 5 - so glad that it let me get as far as I did because if it happened at mile 5 I surely would have had a big DNF. Bottom line is I was determined to finish and started walking. On the plus side the watering stations were like a treasure trove of goodies...I'll have another banana and sports drink, thank you very much". After a mile or so I got bored and decided, from the 20m mile mark, to set a sub 4 hour target which required a 12:30 mile pace. My best walk would only give me a 13:30 mile so I started a slow jog. A pervious attempt at this had failed, but this time it was manageable and my pace improved to 11:30 or so - great, I could still stop at the watering stations and do a bit of food shopping and make up the lost time when I resumed jogging. With about 4 miles to go I tagged on to the coattails of another runner who was slightly faster in the hope that I would be pulled along. And sure enough it appeared to work. I carried on like this for a while, being very careful with my right leg. Then the 03:45 pacer passed us by. I ditched my pacer and followed the guy with the red baloon, now with the intention of beating my slowest marathon time (03:47). I found the effort hard going despite the long walking break and any notion that my calf was ok was quickly dispelled when a sharp pain shot through it going over a ramp. It appeareed that the closer I landed to the front of my foot the more intense the pain and so I made a conscious effort to land far back on my heel as I could, which made for a funny stride. With 2k to go I left the baloon man behind, remenber he started behind me and would probably bring me in closer to 3:46/47. One benefit of having an easy race number (4,000) is that it attarcted the attention of the organisers and just before I entered the Oylmpic stadium the crowd were addressed over the public address with "here come number 4,000, a big cheer for Grellan McGrath from Ireland" what a buzz it gave me as I entered the stadium and sprinted for the line. Great finish despite my tale of woe. To be honest my early pace was going to get me nowhere near 3:00 or even 3:10. I was suffering before I stopped and walked (came through the half in something like 1:38). I think my peak came 4 weeks ago in the Blarney half and mostly stayed for the 15 mile Cork to Cobh. I've come to the conclusion that the Brain Training programme I was following has too much speedwork over a long period of time and is probably more suited to shorter distances. Time for some beers now!
Dutch letter box, Texel
10 hours ago