Sunday, 7 March 2010

Amsterdam, Barcelona - Different Cities, Same Story

The weather was perfect for running in Barcelona cool and mostly overcast with a light breeze. The course was perfect too, inclines and descents were very manageable. Thew first 5 km felt a bit tough as I tried to get on pace - my mouth was dry which is a sign of under hydration I sorted this out by taking on plenty of water at the first water station. First 5km in 21:20 - only 20 seconds behind target pace. From 5 to 10 km I felt great 10km in 42:25 - still 25 seconds behind pace but I wasn´t worried. The average Garmin pace was in the mid 6:40s right where I wanted it to be. There was a long incline at about 14 km where my pace dropped slightly but so did the pace of those around me. Just before the top of the incline an acute pain shot up my right calf and I knew immediately that the game was up - no chance of a sub -3 hour run today. I limped on and just before the 15 km mark I stopped and applied my 1 sachet of bio-freeze to my calf (I was saving this for the inevitable cramps after mile 20). The bio-freeze helped a bit and as I was now on a gradual descent the pain eased. I had initially thought of throwing in the towel and walking to the nearest metro station (i had €3 in my belt- premonition?) but i´m no quitter and decided to run on and see if thing would improve. While the pain was manageable it was only so at my revised (naturally selected) pace of around 7:30. I ran the rest of the race more or less at this pace - shuffling up the inclines and resuming normal service on the descents and flats. As there are a few out and backs on the course I could see Pat ahead. He was flying. He was about 4 minutes ahead of me at the half way mark and 7 minutes at mile 18.5 so he was well on pace for the sub 3 hour. My revised plan, to keep me some way motivated, was to come in ahead of the 3:15 baloons and for a few miles I thought of my Amsterdam finish where I wanted to beat my worst time - I wonder could I beat my best time (3:08:58). I was there or thereabouts and to cut a short story even shorter I finished in 3:10:26 - a respectable time for a bad day in the office I suppose. Pat had a cracking race but preliminary results put him 10 seconds (Fu#ki"g hell) over the elusive 2:59:59 - 3:00:09 Chip & 3:00:19 Clock (some prelim results were posted in the baggage reclaim hall). Although he´s convinced he passed under the clock in 3:00:02 which would give him the sub 3. So there might have to be a recount and he may still get elected. Either way it´s a fantastic time. And there´s always the fact that he beat me, which should remove a very large monkey from his back. Adrian, being a part-time runner, had a sub 4 hour target, which he beat by another tight margin of about 10 seconds ) He´s hovering around the computer waiting for the website to dish out the results so that he can light up the hamlet cigar he bought for the occassion. Time to sign off and visit some of the sights before catching a flight this evening. Adios Amigos.


  1. It hurts I know, but there is nothing for that sort of thing. Even though you didn't want to quit you should have. There is always another race and you are young enough to know not have to worry that you didn't get what you wanted today.

    Lucky you did pull the plug before you hurt yourself. Use this and kepp at it. When I went 3 hour and eight seconds I felt like shit but that helped me to train up and smash the sub 3 the next time.

    Take a breath and go again!!

    Well done today

  2. Grellan 3:10:00 is not too shabby under the circumstances I'd rather have that in your case then 3 hour s and 8 seconds!!!!

    It is worse to come so close and not get there. You are close enough that you don't have to worry that its possible so relax and go at it again.

  3. Good run under the circumstances. I figured something happened when I first saw the time. Congrats to aidrian and pat too. See you.

  4. Sorry to hear aboout the calf Grellan, u were on ure target pace rite upto then.

    Great result for Pat, can't believe there's only 10seconds between him and sub-3 in end, fingers crossed re:official results!

    Recover well, we need you to be setting the pace of those mile repeats at track again soon ;)

  5. Your no quitter for sure!
    3.10 with a busted calf an't bad!
    I hope you can work out why you keep getting calf problems in training, is it your running style?
    The 5 fingers?
    not doing post work out stretching or maybe not warming up slowly before your runs?
    Anyway that sub 3 is in you, as long as you get to the start line in one piece, lets hope thats next time!

  6. Great effort Grellan.

    Sounds as though you did the very best you could in the circumstances.


  7. That's a pretty impressive time for someone who got crocked before even the halfway mark!

    I've been there myself and it's not nice to miss out on your target like that, but it's part and parcel of marathon running. There will be other races in other cities, and if you have the sub-3 in you then you will get it eventually.

    Say, when exactly did Pat get so fast? I still beat him comfortable three weeks ago in Bantry!

  8. Well done Grellan. That’s still a great time. Not what you wanted but there is always something new to learn from each marathon you do. Sit back and enjoy the recovery and think of what needs to be modified to your training for the next one. Sub 3 will come yet.


  9. As other's have said, not too shabby on one leg. Imagine if all cylinders were firing! Rest up and recharge for the next assault.

  10. Excellent effort and great time for a janky calf. You are definitely in sub three shape. Hopefully you will be able to apply the great shape you are in to give it antoher go in Connemara/Cork?

  11. I was expecting worse than that when you blew a tyre at 15k! 3:10 under those circumstances indicates you'll "do a Scott Brown" and smash 3 hours next time. Well done!

  12. 3.10 with an injury is a remarkable time..great fighting spirit shown
    in that race Grellan.
    when you finally break the 3 hrs it will be some celebration !
    that shooting pain up the calf is a dreadful feeling - i hope you did'nt rip it too much..

  13. I know it is no consolation (because it was said to me after Rotterdam and it was no consolation) but your time is amazing by the standards of 90% of people who run marathons. Recover physically and then build the mental strength again.

  14. Well, the marathon does have a habit of jumping up and biting you just when you thought it was your friend. Next time!

  15. Sorry to hear about the calf problem, Grellan. I missed my target by 15 seconds, but was very happy with my result. Did you get into the sub-3 pen? I ended up stuck on the outside, and managed to file in behind the 3:15 pacers.

    Think you'll be recovered for Connemata?

  16. Sorry to hear of your mishap Grellan, you seem to be taking it in your stride (no pun intended), which is good to see. Is conneamara still on the cards?