Edinburgh Marathon

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Not my finest moment, it has to be said, but on reflection it could have been a lot worse……nearly a personal worst Marathon, at 3:30, but saved by a couple of minutes.

The day didn’t start well. An incident at Willowbrae (which we later learned was a murder) caused some road blockages so I jumped out of Theresa’s car and walked a couple of miles to the start. A minor inconvenience, in the grand scheme of things, given that some people’s lives had just been changed forever.

Caught up with James Addie in the ‘red’ start, James has improved remarkably in the last year or two. He has age, determination and natural ability on his side. I think that this was his second marathon, and the grin on his face as he waited for beer at the end justified his 3:09 time!

Me, I had a not so good race. I won’t pretend I didn’t have a time in mind. After my painful Amsterdam Marathon last year, I was hoping to beat that time of 3:18. My Edinburgh legs felt in better shape than Amsterdam’s, and Amsterdam was grim for the last 6 miles…..so I figured I was in the running for a good one.

Pacing at Edinburgh was textbook up to the half-way mark, my anticipated time of 1:35 at that point was bang on to the second. Support up to then was fantastic, guy from work at Portobello roaring at me, Theresa, Ian and Jane and other DRCs were out in force, at Musselburgh then cycling along to Longniddry for the return. Great.

Slowly, and almost imperceptibly at first, the pace started to slide. Only a second or two per mile, but slowly and surely. Like sand falling through your fingers. By 18 miles, my deterioration was becoming evident. Main issue was hot spots on the soles of my feet, and very tight shoes. I had elected to run in my Brooks racing flats, and these had acquitted themselves well on long training runs – but on race day – what a mistake! The pain was getting difficult to deal with as I ran through Gosford House grounds, and this is where the first walk of shame commenced. From then to the finish, it was a run/walk combo. I nearly pulled out as I met the support crew again at the Longniddry road-end. I recall just calmly pulling in and saying I was stopping, only to be met with howls of protest and to get going as a PB was possible. They were unaware I had already walked a bit earlier.

I decided that a further 6 miles of pain were probably on balance just about possible if I carried on the walk/run….the alternative of a DNF was only slightly less appealing. Stomach issues from about half way point compounded my miserableness, and combined with the normal fatigue, it all conspired to make the last few miles a pretty horrible experience. My shoes came off for readjustment at mile 22, and a kindly young marshall came over I asked if I needed a stretcher, I then realised he said stretch. I said the former would be lovely, thank you.

Pouring water over my feet seemed to give some mild relief for a few yards, and I think I managed to run from Mrs Foreman’s pub to the finish without walking.

Putting this one down to experience. That my time was not slower still, was my biggest surprise, given the walking intervals. The racing flats will be left to their 10Ks for the future.

I’m off to South Uist to try and catch some trout for the week. This trip will be concluded with the Skye Half Marathon on the return journey, and then roll on the Laraig Ghru in a few weeks. Nice to get off-road again.

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