Sunday, Mrs R got up at 7.30am and had some brekkie, and went off for her run. She was very nervous and quiet all day Saturday - Sunday was to be her longest ever run, and pretty hilly taking in Hernia Hill too. She went off about 8am to get her train, and I hung with the kids, spoke to my parents on Skype and drank coffee - no food though.
After the baby sitter arrived, I jogged a bit of the way to the start, and met up with some of the troops sporting Dom's beauty salon's t shirts, and before too long we were off, heading straight into the tunnel that cuts through the Rocher and into Fontvielle, to circumnavigate the Stade.
I was due to pace Dom and Stu for a sub 50 minute 10km, and omens were good - it was chilly but not raining. The course wasn't as flat as I had hoped for, but it wasn't too bad. We had muscled our way to the front of the pack, and then I held back with Dom and Stu behind me slightly. We covered the first 2km at a very comfortable conversational pace - 5min 30 per KM or so - it was difficult to use Garmin too much as we went through a few tunnels, but I used the timer and the marker boards, and we were about 10 mins 50 after 2km. Then I speeded up a touch, and already we started to overtake people - they had obviously gone off way too quick, which made me laugh. We went up the hill behind the port to the Voie Rapide that dissects Monaco, through a few more tunnels, and we were running at a steady clip - about 5mins / km. I felt ok if a little chilly, but Dom and Stu were starting to feel the pace I think.
We hit 5km and I speeded up a little more - to about 4 mins 50 / km, and after 6km Dom was dropping back. He was having a crisis - I thought he might recover, and obviously still had to pace Stu, so I stayed on strategy, using the drop down back to sea level to my advantage, making up some time. Stu and I then continued to tick off the km's, with the field really thinning out and people walking by the side of the road having miscalculated their pacing. I was flying along happily and kept shouting back to Stu who was dropping back but still keeping pace.
We went through the Grand Prix tunnel and I shouted Oggy Oggy Oggy but noone responded! It echoed nicely though. Out the tunnel, and I could see the 9km marker board - I was well on schedule and Stu was still about 50m behind me so I thought I would just open up for the last km. I rounded the last bend round the Rascasse, and flew across the line in 48 mins 40 seconds. Stu was about a minute behind me - well on target to beat 50mins, and unfortunately Dom was another minute behind that.
We wended our way to the recovery area picking up our medals - the race was sponsored by the Brasserie, so beers were on offer, but I just grabbed some water, hopped the fence, and went in search of Mrs R - I had spent about 2 minutes walking or stopped, so not a major break. I cheered all our team mates as I passed them - Rozz, Tim, Mark and then Pietro from the Cro as well.
Exiting Monaco, I found the steep hill to the Baisse Corniche pretty tough, but once on the flat was able to keep a decent pace with no danger of blowing up. About 1km out of Monaco, I saw the first runner on the Riviera Classic powering along - he was about 3.5km from the finish and had covered 20 odd km's in 59 minutes, and was practically sprinting! I cheered him and the motorcycle and car entourage (with timing device on the roof), and carried on - the marshalls were loving telling me I was going the wrong way! After a minute or 2, I saw the 2nd placed runner sprinting, and then nobody for about 5 mins! The pace of those front two was amazing. Number 6 or 7 was someone I knew, a great runner from Monaco, and I cheered everyone that came past me - pro or amateur alike, and the further I got the more grateful and smiling the response! I descended Hernia Hill (A different route down it to normal though) and at the beginning of the tunnel I saw Mrs R and cheered! Turning round, I then accompanied her back - cheering her on, grabbing water and orange slices for her, and generally being annoying!
I was scheduled for 24km so as long as I went out for 7km then I could accompany Mrs R back and I would be on track. I met her after about 8.5km so well on schedule!
Once we'd crested the hill, it started to become very windy and rainy, so I ran ahead of Mrs R at her pace, and sheltered her from the storm, although my hands were flipping freezing as I was carrying the water and it was sploshing over my hands! I know the route very well as it is my daily running route, but it was nice to do it with no traffic, despite the rain! We carried on into Monaco, the weather obviously having put a lot of runners off, as there was virtually no pack, although I was playing the fishing game - getting Mrs R to fixate on another runner, and then gradually reeling them in. It was keeping her moving nicely, although a slightly slower pace than I am used to.
We descended the hill into MC, and then just had to run along the sea front - Mrs R was feeling it, but I was chivvying her along every step, and it was nice for me to run with someone for a change! Through the Grand Prix tunnel, and past the last marker board - 23km, round the port, and the boys and girl that had done the 10km came out the Brasserie to cheer Mrs R along - her stride lengthened and she speeded up. Round the Rascasse corner and a slight incline, and then the final 100m sprint. I was cheering her as I ducked off the track, and Mrs R was racing 2 other women like a 100m sprinter! She crossed the line in 2hrs 28. I had covered an extra 19km in 1hr 51, and was certainly feeling it!
I grabbed some apple juice and a banana, and then home on the bus - I did 4x chairless chair on the bus, with the kids! The baby sitter had delivered the kids to the finish and they had cheered Mrs R too. I had a cold bath, and then we went to the local to meet every one else and their families, and have a nice roast beef lunch and a couple of beers - Mrs R did not take off her medal all day, and I suspect is probably wearing it round the house today as well!
I have started carb depletion as it is now taper week for the Marseille Marathon on Sunday 24th March. I am looking forward to that - only my 3rd race of the year so far!