On the 25th of January I participated in my 7th Khon Kaen Marathon, and did my 4th full marathon there. I was well prepared for this race. It had been my only focus for 12 weeks and I had done my homework. I was ready to give sub 2.30 a go.
Gun goes. I follow the leading group of some 20 African runners. All tactics, no one wants to go up front and do the work. First kilometer in 3.55(!), 25 seconds slower than my game plan. I have to take the lead myself and push up the pace a bit. They let me go and I run by myself until the 4th km. The group catches me up, they are running much faster now and I let them pass me. Average pace is 3.37/km over the first 5k.
Running by myself for the most part. Catch another runner up after around 8k. Pace is around 3.25 min/km. Reach 10k in just over 35 minutes.
I’m shadowing the guy I caught up. As soon as the speed tends to go down, I go up next to him to signal it’s too slow. After a while he’s struggling and soon he is behind me. Averaging 3.31/km. Perfect pace, but I’m working harder than I’d prefer this early into the race.
Alone again. Speed drops a bit. Kilometer 18 and 19 are a few seconds over target pace (3.35-40/km), not a good sign with more than halfway to go. I’m concerned. Average pace is 3.35/km. First 20k in 1.10.25.
Catching a big group of runners. It’s the leading pack! They had slowed down significantly. My pace is relatively steady and I’m getting into it. Running effortless at this point. After around 23k I’m still in the group. Like on a given signal, they make the move. Speed is up. I let them go. I know all can’t handle that speed anyway, I will catch many of them later. A 1.14 half marathon split and an average pace of 3.29/km over the last 5k.
Passing runners one by one. It gives me a boost. I’m feeling stronger for each kilometer. Mustn’t get carried away though, I have felt great 30k into marathons before… Kilometer splits are perfect, all within 3.30-3.33/k. 30k in 1.45.27.
Keep on passing runners. Still no sign of hitting the wall. Feel more confident for each kilometer I pass and for each runner I outrun. Controlled running. The race course has merged with the half marathon route. Average pace: 3.28/km.
When the 36th kilometer is behind me, I know the rest of the course is flat or declining. Have to keep the disciplined running, but feel I’m capable of pushing the pace up a bit. My legs are really moving now! 3.37, 3.30, 3.27, 3.20, 3.16/km – average pace of 3.26/k. A sub 2.30 finish time is secured!
Enjoying the last part of the marathon like I’ve never done before. 3.18 and 3.09 kilometer splits! Mission completed. Finish in 2.27.18 (net time), a 4 minute PB. All results.
|My Khon Kaen Marathon 2015 in Numbers|
|Finish Time (Gun Time)||2.27.26|
|Place Overall (Category)||7 (3)|
|Distance (GPS)||42.195 km (42.35 km)|
|Average Pace||3.29 min/km|
|Fastest Kilometer||3.09 min/km (km 42)|
|Slowest Kilometer||3.55 min/km (km 1)|
|Half Marathon Split (21.1km)||1.14.06|