Tuesday 3 May 2016

Milton Keynes

#134 Milton Keynes  3:54:20

In retrospect I shouldn't have done this one as it was just too much travel for a run. I started the bank holiday weekend in Galway at the Theater festival. I managed to get to no less than 5 shows on Saturday for about the price of one show in Dublin. There was some very innovative stuff on offer. The weather was great and it also involved many trips to coffee shops and pubs.

On Sunday afternoon it was back to Dublin to pack and catch an 20:00 flight to Southampton. I didn't get to Basingstoke to close to 23:00 and it was soon off to bed. I was up at 6:00 to get ready and breakfasted and it was on the road to Milton Keynes. 1.5 hrs and little traffic and I was there by 8:30. I was lucky enough to have won a free entry into the race with the 100 marathon club UK and splashed out £7 on VIP parking at the MK Dons stadium which was the start and finish of the race. This allowed me to park within 200m of the stadium. The stadium was open for late registration but I already had got my number posted out. Queues for the toilets were very long so a trip to McD's across the road sorted that.

The weather was to be very windy (30mph) and getting quite warm (18 degrees). When the wind was behind you it got very warm and when in your face it was in your face so a tough enough day. I knew relatively few people at the race as my normal crowd were down in Kent.

It was a big race with 3000-4000 odd running in a marathon half marathon and a relay. It was busy but a lot more comfortable than London. About 10 minutes late we were off together with the half marathon and relay. The half would peel off at around 7 miles and return to the stadium. The relay wasn't an issue and was well marshaled.

The first few miles twisted in and around industrial estates and roundabouts and main roads around Milton Keynes. It was fast and the first 5K was 25 minutes exactly and the 10K was 51 minutes. This was ahead of London but I knew I was putting in way too much effort to sustain this. Soon after we went off the main road and most of the rest of the race was in a multitude of parks on their main trails. It was quiet and picturesque through reasonably narrow. There were lots of bridges and lakes to pass the time. The route was marked every mile and there were lots of regular aid stations.

Every now and then you would see a sign "look left for windmill" or "look right for concrete cows" which was interesting and thankfully we stayed away from roundabouts and the town center. However I found the route very samey and am sure we passed by the same spot several times when I know we didn't.

It was very blustery and I came through half way in 1:48 , a minute down than London but should easily make 4 hrs from here. My pace slowed quite dramatically in the second half as it became a little hillier and the temperature had started to rise and the last couple of months caught up with me. Thankfully there were lots of well stocked aid stations and I took on a lot of water and Gatorade as well as supplied high 5 gels. There was also lots of sweets en-route. I wasn't the only one suffering as around me you could see a lot fading and walking from early. I only had brief walks at the aid stations and ran the rest.

I came through 20 miles in 2:49 which normally means an hour left (or better) but I couldn't manage that. At mile 25 the stadium came into view and once we had circumvented it we entered and did 3/4 of a lap until the finish. It was a good finish. I crossed the line 3:54:20. This event has been voted in the UK's top 10 but I am not really sure why. It wasn't that picturesque but was functionally OK.

Then the real marathon started as I had 4 hrs to get to the car, exit the stadium (took 30 mins), drive to Basingstoke (luckily traffic was moving all the way took 1hr 40), shower, pack and hump to the train station to get to Southampton airport. I made it with 20 mins to spare and straight back to Dublin for work on Tuesday. It was just too tight to be comfortable.

It was a super medal and a great T-Shirt of a cow in Sun Glasses.

Strava stats for today

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