I had plans, I had a tough but hopefully attainable goal of 2:45 and I’d put together a decent block of 16 weeks of training but ultimately you can’t deal with illness out of the blue two days before your race.
My plans for Paris were the same as London in 2017 where I blew up somewhat trying for 2:45 so I essentially picked up the same rough plan of 50-70 miles a week, but making sure to incorporate more mileage at marathon pace and also do more relevant races in the build up (road 10k, road half and a 20 miler) rather than last time when I ran a gnarly 20 mile trail race and 50k ultra.
As the race drew closer, I had a niggling doubt that my fitness and speed just wasn’t quite where I’d hoped following a couple of disappointing results (35:03 at Dewsbury 10k and 1:20 at Blackpool half and a massively disappointing 17:24 at the flat Bakewell parkrun a couple of weeks before) so I readjusted my expectations a little and figured sub 2:50 should still be perfectly possible.
I can’t decide right now if it’s really worth writing a fuller report or just draw an unfortunate line under Paris for this year. I might come back to this post at some point.
Unfortunate in as much as my training block went reasonably well, I had a fantastic two week taper and felt strong – until the Friday we were due to travel when I came down with some sort of flu like illness in a matter of a couple of hours and spent the entire night shivering, sweating and struggling to breathe properly – there goes the race.
We traveled to Paris because it was all booked and I picked up my number just in case I felt well enough to trot around and see the sights after a day and half of rest.
Come Sunday morning I felt better but drained and so I went to the start and just about made it into the red 3 hour pace pen after finding the bag drop (allow plenty of time, it’s busy and you’re quite a way from it if you’re near the front!) and my plan was simply to tuck in behind the 3 hour pacer and run easy and keep the effort level down.
In the end I made it to around 18 miles at 3 hour pace before my breathing got heavy and my legs turned to lead so I called it a day there and dropped off the pace and took a couple of walking breaks before jogging it in to the finish for a surprising 3:17 – I was expecting a lot worse given my condition two days before so reasonably happy with that.
Paris was a lovely course and event – I actually preferred it to London and will do it again sometime for sure.
I’m gutted the training didn’t lead to the result on the day but you just can’t do anything about it so I’ve got another marathon lined up at the end of May where I hope to have another crack at my target. We’ll see how it goes there.