The first Hull marathon on easter Sunday was a bit of a mixed bag in that the organisation and route were a bit shoddy by big marathon standards. I guess its a learning process for the organisers, but some won't return and many won't be happy if it is proven that the course is short and they've lost out on a PB, Good For Age or Championship qualifying time. Also there was the very upsetting situation where the first lady over the line had quite without realising - poor or missing marshalling! - run less than the full distance (maybe by as much as 3 miles!). And without a garmin to suggest otherwise and only one mile marker at 13m (that I saw) she was suprised at the end and accepted the prize. Only for the actual female winner to arrive soon after and wonder how somebody had got in front of her.
But the course wasn't bad overall. The good was two long road stretches in and out of Hull and out and back crossing of the humber bridge to break up the event with a few hills and views. The bad was a few too many turns late on, a parkland section which was more like "good trail" and a narrow and quite horrible out and back where somebody could have potentially fallen in the river. But I know plenty of people who ran a good time, even incorporating the possibility of a slightly short course.
Unfortunately my pace, mostly into the facewind was too much in the first half - it seemed too easy for 6m, started to get hard work in more undulating 7-13m, by 14m (turnaround) I couldn't sustain it. This was accompanied by my body deciding 3 gels in a 6.5m stretch was too much and I felt bloated and nauseous, so I didn't have another gel till 20m and this didn't help my energy crisis.
Realising it wasn't going to be my day to hit my 3.15-3.20 target pace - I'd got greedy* - I just plodded around the rest from 14m, slowing a lot. Even this wasn't easy after awhile and I had to walk bits, more down to demotivation than anything I reckon as I probably could have maintained more pace but lost interest and starting to thinking of saving myself for events in weeks to come (Calderdale Hike 6 days later and Woldsman 50 less than 3 weeks away). I completed in 3.35. It is a PB, but nowhere near what I should be running I was behind several people from my club I can beat at most distances.
I should know better after having done 5 road marathons previously. But a few years of no road marathons and few long runs on concrete obviously made me a bit laxse. If I have a bad few miles in a long off-road trail event I can usually pick up again after running/walking easier for awhile. No such opportunity over 26.2m at faster pace.
* With it being a measurable distance I think this made me too competitive. It's much nicer to have the unknowns of a trail route where its 'you versus the course'. 33m may take me 6 hours (Osmotherley Phoenix) or 7hrs30 (on the hillier Long Tour of Bradwell course). I think this is what put me off flat road marathon courses in 2009 and has again.
Anyway, no indulging in self-defeat for me, too much to do. As I write this I'm also looking at the new Calderdale Hike route that I'll be following tomorrow. Wondering just how wet it will be up at Hoof Stone Heights - an area where during my last visit during the 2008 Hike I got stuck to my shorts in mud on a very muddy and cold day for my second ultra. Happy days.