Sunday, 23 May 2010

Miles 31; Units 25

Well, the big day has arrived - the Edinburgh Marathon is upon me. And what a day it was! Stepping back a bit, I flew up to Edinburgh on the Friday with Andy, and we had a great weekend - we played it really steady, with a short walk, then a long coffee stop and the papers, then a short walk, then lunch, then a film, then a light dinner and early to bed. Darned hot though! I woke up on Sunday after a rubbish night's sleep, and the weather was just as per forecast. Grey sky, foggy, raining - perfect weather! At the start, it was still grey, so we merrily dropped off our shades and cap in the bag drop and didn't think sunscreen was needed! I started off well, crossed the line in 25secs. I was probably a bit too fast for the first 4 miles, though the course was downhill so it is always difficult to know (and at the start Liz Yelling, no less, said not to worry if you went off a bit fast!). I started to pull back at about 5 miles and returned to 7:15 pace (=3hrs10m). The weather changed suddenly at about 6 miles, and by 12 miles it was already hot and humid. I didn't really think about it and pressed on. I did think that I was feeling it more than I would want to at this stage. I dropped the pace back to a 7:30 pace at about 15 miles, knowing I had plenty of time in hand. By 18 I was really feeling it - tough, starting to lock up in the muscles. At 19 I pulled over for a bit of a pee, and in a way I think that sapped my will. I dropped two miles at 9:00 pace, then stumble-walked for 21 and 22 - not the wall at all, I had lots of energy. My calves especially were totally cramping up - so painful, I even wondered if I would be able to walk to the end, things were so bad. So, I started to wonder 'what might be going wrong' and I thought that I might have a shortage of salt, with the hot day and lots of water. So, I stopped at a spectator;s house, handed her my water bottle and asked if she would put some salt in it! After a few strange looks she went off, and came back a minute later (during which time the St. John's ambulance were checking me out to make sure I wasn't going to keel over! I had to work pretty hard to reassure them that I knew what I was doing!). I took the salt water and in less than 5 minutes I could run again, and I maintained an 8min pace for the last 5k, dropping even to 7:30 for the finish line! The cramps had totally gone - unbelievable - in less than 5 minutes after taking the salt. I have never taken salt tablets on a long run - I shall certainly look at that from now on. So, I managed 3.46, on a day which reached 25 centigrade, I am pink as a lobster on my shoulders, arms and neck, and I am thankful that I am not one of the 200 people who got take to hospital or the man who died. Crikey - now that is a sobering thought - it's only supposed to be running. The race was a reminder that the marathon is a huge challenge, and you can't take anything for granted

I am naturally disappointed not to have hit my time goal, but I am also absolutely proud of my performance in what turned out to be very difficult circumstances. So I think I have things in the right perspective.

Wine of the week was a lovely Sancerre 2008 from Raffault, drunk at The Witchery as a post-race treat.

Now to the week ahead - and REST REST REST!!

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