All roads lead to Lima (at least they did for me this week!)
Good morning Folks
I trust you had a splendid weekend.
Another week in Lima & a week that was mostly spent thinking about, trying not to get crocked before & sweating/gurning my round the Lima Maratón.
Other things have been going on, but this has been at the forefront of my mind.
Patching this blog together, with both feet in a washing-up-bowl full of ice, I think back to the target I set myself 6 weeks ago, after seeing an advert for the Marathon. I’ve not run a race in a long time (Lakeland 100 in 2011 & before that the Haworth Hobble in 2009), so it was a big ask, especially on the back of just 6 weeks training.
I’m not normally a road runner, I prefer the open spaces of the fells, moors & mountains, but these are lacking a bit in Lima.
But as a lad I always remember the likes of Rob de Castella, Steve Jones & Charlie Spedding sprinting round 26 miles, in a shade over 2 hours; Superhuman efforts. Inspiring stuff!
Since the wee one arrived, running has taken a back seat (in fact it’s probably more in the book, or on the roof rack). Apart from a few gentle bogtrots in December, exercise levels had been zero for a bit too long.
I’ve always thought, “I’ve not got time” or made an excuse. Then I thought, “Make time!”
Make the changes to shoehorn in some training, run home from work, get up earlier, go out later…
(5am & midnight runs were good, but didn’t prepare me for the sweaty furnace conditions on Sunday!)
So for 6 weeks, I ran every day, a total of 350 miles.
I got to know a lot of parts of Lima very well & I got to know which choked-up streets/snarling dogs/dodgy districts to avoid.
6 weeks flew by & suddenly it was race day.
The Lima maratón. Runners from 46 countries & a scruffy, bearded bloke from Leeds.
The Nipper has been on sleep-strike of late & it was gone midnight by the time she was in the land of nod & as I was up at 4am, I looked a bit like a red-eyed extra from Trainspotting as I headed to the start.
I’ve never really run a BIG race before. I ran the Manchester Marathon in 2001, but only about 200 punters turned up & were soon strung out around the inner ring road. So I was going in to it a bit clueless…
Mistake No.1 – Starting wayyyy too far back.
Despite being there mega-early, after the usual dashing around & queuing for everything, I found myself with about 5mins to go until the 7am start. No time for the toilet & at the very back of a huge wall of people. So after the first KM, I’d just caught the 4.5hr Pacemaker.
Mistake No. 2 – Drinking wayyyy too much fluid before the start.
El Nino has got the weather very confused down here. It should be well into autumn, but the day dawned hot & humid & got hotter & sweatier.
I’d glugged a load of water, but as the queues for the portaloos were so long, I had to wait until spotting the first public toilets en-route & the second & the third!
Mistake No. 3 – No plan!
No plan is often said to be a good plan. Originally I just wanted to get round, then a running mate (Mr. Ward) convinced me that 3.5hrs was do-able. Then the night before I thought that maybe 3:15 was a possibility. So, after my snail-start, I upped the pace & kept upping it, until I ran out of juice (which I did, dramatically).
Unsurprisingly I did the same in my last marathon.
Setting off hard & hanging-on. It doesn’t really work, not at this distance!
Mistake No. 4 – Trust the pacemaker!
A pacemaker is just a guide (with a huge helium balloon, which must be a real pain to run with), but after passing the balloons of 4:30, 4:00, 3:30 & 3:15, I started to think that 3hrs was maybe, maybe, maybe…
I could see the bloke in the distance & worked hard to catch him, and then about 50yds behind, I saw him collapse! He just seemed to turn to jelly & fall on the ground. His mate following on a pushbike got him sat on the saddle & reminiscent of the late Tommie Simpson, he pedalled off & the cyclist bloke took his place, setting off like Usain Bolt, for about half a mile, then he blew up too!
Mistake No. 5 – KM confusion!
A KM is 5/8 of a mile. I know that 10km is 6-&-a-bit miles & I knew that 42k-&-a-bit was the full trip, but when you’ve been running 2hrs & you’re trying to do long division in your head, it gets a bit puzzling, for a mile-man like me.
I had intended to write on my arm, but my Biro didn’t work.
Despite my incompetence/cluelessness, there were a lot of highlights ☺
Highlight No. 1 – For some reason the Samba band on the corner of Av. Brasil put a huge smile on my face. All dressed up & really going for it, bigtime!
Highlight No. 2 – Empty, car-free streets, in Lima, the home of traffic!
Running round the city felt a bit surreal. Like the London Bridge scene in 28 Days Later. Av. Javier Prado without cars!!!
(Although I did have 2 outbursts at drivers who had jumped the roadblocks & were blocking the road, sideways).
Highlight No. 3 – Finishing!
Delusory thoughts that I might just dip under 3hrs meant that I was going to suffer late on, & suffer I did. 6wks was just long enough to get the miles in, but it was mainly plodding.
My chances of winning a “Beautiful feet contest” have been knocked for six!
After cruising (although with my lumbering awkwardness, it probably looked different) through halfway in a shade over 90mins, I knew that I’d have to work harder & harder to keep it going. The sun was high, but I felt good & was passing people & not being passed (advantage of starting right at the back!) Around about 37km I just felt like I was treading water/treacle. I was pushing it, but my legs weren’t agreeing with the idea. Sub-3hrs wasn’t going to happen, but I wasn’t too bothered. I was just pleased to finish, which I did in 3hrs 5mins 51 seconds (my stopwatch).
The Kenyan superstars had probably had a shower & gone home with a huge cardboard cheque (how do you bank them?), but they didn’t have an inane grin like mine ☺
The organization was good, the entire Lima Police Department seemed to be out on the streets & it was nice to hear encouragement from them.
There is a strange relationship here between the Police & the public, but just for a morning, we were all friends!
Special thanks to my long suffering wife, Lina & to the Bairn for not complaining about me training every day & disappearing for hours at a time, returning shot to pieces & being a tired grumpy grouch for the last 6 weeks.
No more road marathons for me though, that’s it.
Strictly off-road from now on…
Sorry this has been a purely running-based blog this week.
Business as normal next week, with a mixture of happenings in the weekly report from the city of chaos, combis, ceviche, clunks & Cristal.
Have an awesome week.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper x