Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blown Away!

Well almost!! Whilst nowhere near as bad as the conditions suffered by the people of Missouri, we have had some incredible weather this week! It has been reasonably sunny and in places warm, but we have had gale force winds certainly across Scotland, since last Wednesday. We took our Canadian friend up to Aberdeenshire on Thursday and found the house that his Grandmother had been born/lived in until she emigrated, and we also found in Fyvie churchyard, a number of graves of his ancestors. It was a beautiful day weatherwise, just windy! It kept us off our feet for most of the day though which was good marathon prep, although it was nearly 400miles of driving but he saw a lot of Scotland on the way.
Friday I had a taping appt at the physio and left duly taped up in pink tape and set for the marathon, most of the day was chores and baking a banana bread which has to be the most delicious banana bread I've ever had. The chef has run 15 consecutive Boston Marathons so I reckoned if it worked for her it was worth a try! Risotto for dinner started the carb-fest.
Saturday morning dawned bright and fair if a little windy - though not too bad and we set off to Edinburgh to watch a friend complete her first ever race, she was running the 10K as part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. We picked up our friend's race pack for the Sunday, watched the 10K - cheering her in to a fabulous finish with a huge banner ;-) then met other friends also up for the marathon for a pasta lunch. By the time we got home on Saturday afternoon it was starting to rain and it was forecast to be like that for the next day too - wasn't really looking forward to running in it I can tell you. More pasta for dinner to enhance the glycogen levels and after pinning on the bibs and laying out the kit, it was off to bed at 10.
Sunday 22 May 5.30am - not a cloud in the sky and the wind seemed to have dropped, felt more hopeful... porridge, banana and honey, coffee and a slice of home made wholemeal toast, dressed, numerous visits to the loo and we were ready for the off by 0725. As we left it was raining gently but looked promising towards the East with bluer skies and whiter clouds - ever the optimist me :-)
Parked easily in George St., made our instant porridge and ate it as we walked along towards the start area for the marathon. This is the time when the real collywobbles start, when you are heading towards the start and you see the first other runners heading the same way - this is the OMG moment for me - you realise then the enormity of what you're about to undertake and why you have spent the last 3-4 months training and clocking 500+ training miles - it's quite overwhelming and sometimes tear inducing!
The start area was very well organised, plenty of porta-loos (that flush and had paper) well marked corrals, easy bag drops and MC on the radio bus doing a great job.
We met up with friends, took some photos, sheltered from a passing shower then went off for "one last visit" and to our separate start corrals.
I won't go into detail on the race, it's 26.2miles so rather a lot to write, it was rainy, the sun shone, it blew gale force winds, fabulous people braved the elements to come out of their warm homes to cheer us on and hand out jelly babies, there were spectacular views across the Forth, got blinded by sand some times, plenty of banter amongst fellow participants.

Highlights for me include:
1. passing my super fast husband going the opposite direction as Seton Sands, having the energy to shout to him that I love him and to high 5 him in passing - it brought a smile to more than me I can tell you.
2. being stung to bits by giant hailstones at mile 16!
3. free range chickens wandering across the course at mile 17-18 :-)
4. battling into a 25-30moh headwind for the last 6 miles of the course - it was unbelievably strong, there were a couple of gusts - apparently up to 50mph - I believe that!! When I could barely stand.
5. passing lots and lots of people who either couldn't keep up their pace or had simply given up trying in the wind.
6. being able to finish strongly and then meeting up with John again afterwards - that's the best bit :-)

We met up with everyone in the pub for a welcome beer/coke then another friend who had come to support us and he kindly drove us back to Edinburgh to our car.
I got a new PB, I managed to finally break the 5.30 barrier - not by much clocking a 5.29 finish, but given the conditions on Sunday I am absolutely delighted with my performance and time! This was my 10th marathon so I guess that's something of a landmark :-)

Yesterday we visited Glasgow and had an eventful journey home as all the trains were cancelled due to the horrendous weather which blew in from the Atlantic. This morning we took our friend back to the airport - he as made it down to Heathrow and is en route back to Ottawa.
We are enjoying the last day of our holiday just chilling and recovering, legs almost feel up to a wee jog - though not in the gales which are still blowing! Think I am nearly hydrated again and am almost back to normal - whatever normal is!
To everyone who has inspired me to run, to keep on going when injured or feeling down, and who make me keep on wanting to put myself through this torture again and again - Thanks! :-)

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