It seems like a long time since I blogged so I guess I'll start with the London Marathon.
On the start line of the race I really didn't feel all that great. I didn't have that ready to go feeling that you get when you have timed the training just right. I wasn't worried about this as I had 26 miles ahead of me and I know the ups and downs you can go through before and during the race. A lot of the guys in the race had talked to each other before the race to see who was running with what pace group so we all knew who would be around if the pace started to lag. That was a really good idea because as soon as the gun went, the 2.09 and 2.11 pacemakers had already made prior arrangements with one of the top runners to go and pace them at the front. The guys planning to run 2.11 all formed a group pretty quickly and we decided just to take turns at the front. I think there were 7 of us in the group so it made getting through the first half of the race easy. The pace did fluctuate a little as some guys were steady and some were getting antsy but Michael Shelley and I had the plan of trying not to waste any extra energy and stay steady. This worked out really well as we crossed Tower Bridge, which, again was an amazing feeling with all the spectators going crazy, there was only the 2 of us left and a Mexican runner latching on as we had just passed the group he had been running in. We talked a little and we decided to try and keep the same pace through to 20 miles and then run the last 6 miles hard. This was working great as we were passing a lot of guys who had gone with the early pace but then at around 20 miles I felt a stitch come on. I tried to do all the techniques to try and get rid of it but the only thing that eased it was slowing down. It must have been pretty funny seeing me run as I was trying to stretch my side by putting my arm over my head but it wasn't working very well. Finally, at around 22 miles it went away and I could get back to running a decent pace. I started to feel good and was still on sub 2.13 pace all along the embankment. The crowds were great and really helped me to work hard. At the 25 mile mark, there was drink station and I wouldn't normally grab a drink there but the heat had been picking up and I just wanted some fluid in my mouth. As soon as I grabbed it the stitch came back, only 10 times worse and I had to stop running to try and stretch it out. This may have not been the best idea as when I went to stand up straight, I couldn't! The only thing I could think of doing was run bent over and keep my legs moving. I stopped again to stretch but nothing happened so it was just a matter of finishing at that point. Lee Merrian passed me with about 1km to go and I shouted "good job Wicksy" as all I saw was the red vest that they were both wearing. I got to the finish and felt like curling up into a ball as it felt like 3 months of training had just gone down the drain. I didn't have that chance as the medics were throwing me about everywhere, trying to make sure I was ok. After 10 minutes of sitting down, the stitch finally disappeared and I could go get some clothes on. I can't describe the feeling I had in the finisher's tent. Disappointment, frustration and anger are the first ones that come to mind. Anyway, it was now a mission to find out what I can do to prevent the stitches. Was it the caffeine gels, my drinks, my pre race meal?...I knew I would have to figure it out but at that point it was all about trying to forget what had just happened and have a rest.