So, the alarm went off at 6am; I got up, had my usual pre race brekkie of porridge, tea and coffee, and Christine gave me a lift to the race (she is my local taxi). I was chatting to her, in French, and I realised that I need a lot more practise - for some reason I am very rusty. It served to pass the time though.
I got there in time for a quick run, dropped my gear off, took a few photos, and queued for the loo. As I was queuing, there was an audible gasp as millions and millions of birds passed overhead - the sound was deafening as they flapped overhead - presumably doing the yearly commute to warmer climes. Unfortunately I did not get to the loo before the gun, which was a shame, and my Heart Rate monitor ran out of puff in the starting pens!!! Ah well....my buddy Stu managed to persuade the organisers to let him run despite not picking up his number in advance, which was a relief for him!
So....we started....overcast, chilly, fine - an ideal climate for running.
I let people go, and tried to control my pace with my breathing. A lot of people overtook, and this was fine. Then I saw the chap in the red morph suit, crocs, and a trilby. I wanted to take a picture but had to sprint to keep up! Then I got the picture, and he stopped. Unbelievable.
At 10k I caught up with Stu - it had taken me a while to catch up - he was going too quick but at least he was in the race!
We had a chat, and I took his photo, and then it was a ravi stop. As always, per Mad Dog's advice, I took liquids only.
I continued the race, passing the walkers and people that had already blown up, and at half way was 1hr49, which was bang on track and I felt fine. I was able to speed up a bit, and hold the pace.
The second half of the race has all the hills - Garoupe, Antibes and the railway bridge. I ran slow up the first 2, and quick down, and was on track for a quick second half - I was fishing, reeling people in, focussing on a particular purple top, and it was going ok, but at 36km, my left leg seized up. I stopped to stretch, and walked a little up the hill, but it was so painful to walk let alone run. I had a Nurofen from my pocket, and tried to run, but it was unbelievably sore. Every running step hurt in my left thigh - the top of it, hip, left arse cheek, all sore.
So....giving up was not an option. I tried to run as best as I could, and spent a lot of time hobbling like John Wayne. I was so frustrated because I felt good otherwise - cardio vascular was all good, but my leg was letting me down. Gutting.
At 40km the 3hr45 chap passed me and suddenly I was able to speed up a bit - maybe the Nurofen kicked in, maybe it was mental, I don't know, but for some reason I wasn't in much pain any more. I hadn't really walked, but had just slowed down - til now. I then dug deep, and followed the flag dude, and at 41k I suddenly felt ok - and sprinted for the line - overtaking heaps. I still managed to finish at bang on 3hr45, maybe a few seconds under, and in 2117/11000 starters. I grabbed some food, met up with the troops, and went to cheer on Stu as he finished almost an hour later, but chuffed to bits as he finished his first marathon.
We had lunch, then came home and I had a dip in the pool in the rain (cold!!) And then cooked roast chicken with all the trimmings.
I crossed the line with mixed feelings - happy to have at least finished - it wasn't easy, and I was not sure I was going to finish at one point. It was annoying though - my worst time ever at this marathon, but its experience, and I have gained experience! Snazzy medal too.
I am seeing the specialists this evening to see what the damage is, and whether I can participate in the No Finish Line in a couple of weeks time. I am pretty adamant I will be there, but in what sort of fitness capacity I do not know.