#Missonmarathon the wrap up!

I've been a bit lax in keeping you all updated about my #missionmarathon experience having only written a couple of blog posts on the subject, you can read these blog posts, by clicking on the links below. So I thought it was about time I provide a summary of my experience and most importantly a report on my Brighton Marathon 2014 experience.

The #missonmarathon experience

This was an amazing prize/experience and goes to show that if you enter a competition on Facebook or Twitter you stand every chance of winning it, as long as you write a good entry. If RunLounge/Freestak choose to run the same competition next year then I'll be recommending anyone who asks me to enter. 

Missionmarathon has been an amazing experience, not only have I received some top class kit, training from some of the best coaches in the UK and an amazing experience training in the Algarve. I've also made some friends for life, especially littlerunnergal who is proving an inspiration, not just to myself but to the hundreds of runners on the #ukrunchat community. 

During the course of #missionmarathon I also discovered the #ukrunchat community. If you're a runner and haven't visited this community on Twitter you absolutely have to. Discussions take place on Sunday and Wednesday at 8pm and provide runners both new and experience to tap into a fantastic resource aka other runners!

The 2:09 training camp in the Algarve had to be the highlight of my missionmarathon experience, although meeting Phoebe Thomas at the January training day and Paula Radcliffe whilst staying at the Hilton in Brighton certainly rank very highly. In addition to fantastic scenery, including the best beach I've seen in a very long time, the training camp provided the opportunity to train and act like an actual athlete. Morning, afternoon, evening, the focus was solely on improving your performance as an athlete. I have to say having just rolled out a very large project in the days before going to the Algarve it was fantastic to be able to focus on my running again and not have to worry about answering the phone or emails. 

I put in some pretty good performances during the week and was especially happy with my speedwork on the track, my 5k time and my long run time/pace. I was confident that combined the training would help me run a sub 4 hour marathon in Brighton.

Brighton Marathon 2014

So the day of the big race was finally here and I was feeling semi-confident about my chances of running a sub 4 hour marathon. This had always been my aim when I started the missionmarathon training programme. Unfortunately in the two weeks prior to the marathon I'd suffered two minor setbacks. The first of these was an ankle injury, which I picked up on a recovery run (I'm still not entirely sure why, but I'm blaming wear and tear). The second was a throat infection, who needs a throat infection when running a marathon, thankfully I was given some strong antibiotics to help clear this up.

The night before the Marathon, 3 of the 4 marathon team met up for dinner and to discuss our plan for the race the following day. At that point in time the weather looked like it might be wet and windy and the night certainly was. Fortunately by the time morning came round the bad weather had passed through very quickly and it stayed relatively fair for the majority of the race. After what seemed like a very long walk to the start line from the Hilton hotel we arrived and immediately set about finding a place in the throng of people.

I was determined not to start too quickly and had tested all my kit including my sports belt, so that it didn't fall off, like last year. After a few minutes impatiently waiting we were off and I was soon into my stride. After about 3 miles I caught up with the 4 hour pacemaker and thought I would stick with them for the duration of the race, but they seemed to be running at a slow 4 hour pace so I made a decision (wrong decision) to not run with this pace maker. Further up the course I found ANOTHER 4 hour pace maker. Now if you're wondering why there were two, apparently there are always two for each pace. Now obviously I should have stuck with the first one I found as the second one was running 3:50 pace, which was out of my league.

This was proved right at 20 miles when I was passed by the first 4 hour pacemaker. From that point on it was a real struggle, both physically and mentally. So I was delighted when the 400 metres and 200 metres signs appeared at the side of the road. With only a few metres to go I spotted Simon Freeman from Freestak who shouted my name and I believe took a photo. It was great to see him here and it almost, okay definitely, bought a tear to my eye!

I've also forgotten to mention the support I received around the course, despite not seeing them myself several of my work colleagues and friends were on the course supporting my efforts. It's always good to know that people are supporting you and in fact after the race they said they were a bit worried about me because my pace had slowed down significantly, that will be following the wrong pacemaker and my legs blowing up at 20 miles!

When I did finish it was in a new PB of 4:14, 5 minutes faster than last year, I was very pleased with this although definitely feel like I can get closer to 4 hours. So having said this, will I be running another Marathon, yes most definitely. My experience in the last 6 months has been fantastic and crossing a Marathon finish line is definitely something I want to do again!